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Title:Long-Term Retention of ETDs
Author(s):Kraemer, Beth; Teper, Thomas H.
Subject(s):Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Abstract:Universities have a new tool to promote their programs and display their technical muscle: ETDs. Although the goal of most ETD programs is the same, procedural variations between institutions will impact the long-term success of individual programs. Technical variations such as the electronic formats chosen for the submission and retention of these unique documents, combined with an institution's willingness to commit resources for proper long-term migration and storage, will have a significant impact on the long-term retention of ETDs. If these documents do not survive in the long term, or if significant funds and effort must be spent to recover them, these programs can hardly be called successful. It is our view that long-term retention issues have not been adequately considered by many Universities currently embarking on ETD projects. Responsibility for providing long-term access to unique materials must be borne by universities. But because standards for digital archiving have not been established, programs must make decisions with no specific guidelines. In our investigation it appears that, if long-term preservation is considered at all, decisions are often based on compromises in which the student's ease of production and the university's ease of immediate publication/desire for an immediate web presence become the primary considerations. Long-term access suffers. Even worse, many programs leave long-term preservation issues unspecified, adopting a "we'll deal with that when it comes up" approach. As demonstrated countless times, this approach could result in future information loss. Unlike the retention of paper documents, the long-term retention of electronic documents is an active, resource-intensive process. Universities MUST make long-term preservation plans. Another issue that heightens the need for intensive planning is that, unlike other documents that might be digitized to provide better access, ETDs are "born digital" and do not necessarily have eye-legible back-ups available. Consequently, if we neglect our obligation to plan for the retention of these documents, these unique documents could be lost. In this presentation, we will examine current practices that affect long-term retention of ETDs among Universities with ETD programs. We will also describe additional options for long-term preservation and access of digital material that exist outside the ETD world. Through a reasoned examination of the strengths and weaknesses of specific formats such as PDF, general format issues such as the use of proprietary or non proprietary formats, and format strategies including the use of mandatory file formats or permitting variations, we will attempt to make recommendations for the long-term retention of ETDs.
Issue Date:2002-10
Citation Info:2002 Oct. Kraemer, Beth and Thomas H. Teper “Long-term Retention of ETDs” at 2002 LITA National Forum, Houston,
Genre:Conference Paper / Presentation
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-09-19

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