Technical Backbone for Implementation of ETD's

Ed Fox is a Computer Science professor, and is a visionary of the future of networked electronic scholarship. Like John Eaton, he envisions this a longterm investment in creating the next generation of technically savvy scholars who use technology for new thresholds of inquiry, rather than simply novel ways to display data. He notes that "The NLDTD is an educational project to change academia, through automation and substantial savings of money."

He acknowledges that for many, a simply digital version of what is basically just a paper dissertation/thesis is all that is produced because of the time and other limits on graduate work. The skills learned at even this basic level, however, put these graduates in a select group of scholars with still-uncommon abilities.

Fox is actively engaged in a project headed by a group which met formatively in Dublin, Ohio (hence, the "Dublin Core" is their name) who pursue the creation and integration of the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) which now boasts over 20 million entries. The project works to integrate existing library catalogues with the OCLC via "crosswalks" as well as expand its collection of searchable references.

Neil Kipp is to be specifically commended. With a major paper due for a conference in a matter of days, plus his own dissertation schedule and ongoing ETD duties, he set aside 6 straight hours for one-on-one instruction during which time he compressed an extensive base of knowledge for my benefit. The following table of explanation of the nitty-gritty of electronic and software issues is largely due to his careful expertise. As noted in the recommendations above, PDF is no longer preferable to SGML in terms of search, longevity, and file size. Though it remains simpler--currently--than SGML with more possible formats.

Neil spent six nonstop hours informing me in detail about the resources for e-texts, and all references herein to:

  1. SGML
  2. DTD
  3. DSL
  4. XML

are primarily thanks to his assistance, followed closely by the insights and vision provided at the University of Virginia by their e-text expert David Seaman.

Paul Mather works with Neil, preparing the interface of submission of ETD's to be compatible with what the library--namely Tony Atkins--is doing.

Tony Atkins sets up the automation of ETD subission forms for catologuing. Currently the new developments of Neil, Ed, and Paul are secondary to his own efforts to make all the innovations--of necessity as problems have come up and been fixed in the last year and a half--in the process uniform for the library archive. He is working out systematizing of many technical issues addressed under the questions forwarded to me by UI Mail Library staff.