OhioLINK’s groundbreaking ETD Center turns 20 with a 3.0 release

Aug 2, 2021

The OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) Center has been updated with a major release that improves speed, reliability, security, and digital accessibility, and adds advanced search functions to help visitors easily find Ohio’s student research and scholarship. OhioLINK, Ohio’s academic library consortium, launched the ETD Center in 2001. The ETD Center showcases more than 100,000 downloadable theses and dissertations from Ohio’s graduating scholars with no paywall or subscription, and has had more than 85 million views from 234 countries.

While most ETDs found in library catalogs and subscription databases are simply indexed abstracts, OhioLINK’s ETD Center is an open access repository. Most authors provide downloadable PDF documents for other students and researchers. In 2019, Google Scholar reported that the ETD Center was the largest open access collection of theses and dissertations in the world.

“On the 20th anniversary of the OhioLINK ETD Center, we are delighted to offer this new release to the OhioLINK community, said Amy Pawlowski, executive director of OhioLINK. “ETD Center 3.0's shared submission platform is easier to navigate, and the addition of full text searching makes it much easier to discover the rich research content produced by Ohio’s scholars.”

The ETD Center was built to serve Ohio’s consortial approach to ETD submission and management, with 36 advanced degree-granting institutions contributing. Many of the improvements grew out of OhioLINK listening to its users. OhioLINK maintains an ETD advisory council composed of higher education graduate-school staff and librarians, which provided feedback throughout testing and development. The array of new 3.0 features will benefit submitting students, administrators, and people around the world searching for cutting edge research.

For submitting students, added features give them more control over how their document will appear when published:

  • improved handling of special characters and diacritics
  • expanded title, abstract, and keyword character limits
  • document preview to ensure that all details are correct before submitting

For campus administrators and cataloging librarians, 3.0 offers timesaving and reporting features beyond speed:

  • improved reporting dashboard offering analytics for local departments and colleges
  • name and date/time stamped reviewer notes
  • a "batch publish" option
  • more control over embargo requests
  • basic MARC records created from the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting feed

For researchers, the new ETD Center increases the likelihood of finding relevant content:

  • option to save a persistent URL that will return updated results each time it’s used
  • full text searching, a significant upgrade from the prior metadata-only search

As part of OhioLINK’s ongoing commitment to making information available to all users, the updated user interface also improves digital accessibility. In addition, password management is now self-service.

“I thank OhioLINK for listening to users’ suggestions for improvements as well as the implementation team for creating this new and improved system,” said Kim Fleshman, coordinator of theses and dissertations for the Bowling Green State University Graduate College and president of the advisory council.

“The OhioLINK ETD Center has been the lynchpin of the ETD effort in the state of Ohio for 20 years, and we are excited for the implementation of the enhanced platform that will bring a more intuitive experience for students while providing increased efficiency and data resources for university staff,” said Tim Watson, director of graduation services for The Ohio State University Graduate School.

OhioLINK has a storied legacy in the development of user-centered platforms to support shared content as part of the consortium’s charter. In addition to its cutting-edge ETD Center, OhioLINK has developed several applications including the first-of-its-kind patron-initiated interlibrary loan software, marketed by Innovative Interfaces as INN-Reach, and the Electronic Journal Center (EJC).

Additional details can be found in the ETD Center 3.0 release notes.

Facts about OhioLINK ETD Center

About OhioLINK: Connecting libraries, learning and discovery
Established in 1992, the Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK) is Ohio’s statewide academic library consortium, serving 88 institutions plus the State Library of Ohio. Delivering both IT infrastructure and content negotiation, OhioLINK provides students, researchers, faculty, and staff with access to valuable digital research collections at a fraction of the cost if those collections were purchased by individual institutions. OhioLINK also connects library services, print and digital collections among its member institutions and manages collaborative services aimed at reducing students’ cost of higher education in Ohio, including eTutoring and Affordable Learning. A member of the Ohio Technology Consortium of the Ohio Department of Higher Education, OhioLINK creates a competitive advantage for its member institutions and supports student and researcher success across Ohio. Learn more at ohiolink.edu.