PhD Theses to go online
Oct 9, 1998
The German research council, DFG, is considering putting all German PhD Theses on the internet. They hope to create a national digital archive of material that would provide access to research carried out at every university in Germany. Since January a consortium of societies, including the German physical society (DPG), have been experimenting at the Duisburger university library with a program that can automatically add special tags to theses that will enable the document to be accessed via a key word or term search. Their research was publicized earlier this week at the Frankfurt book fair.
The DFG has been experimenting with different ways of digitizing postgraduate dissertations for some time. These documents are usually one of the hardest sets of scientific information to access because copies are held only at national libraries or at the awarding institution, and students tend to only publish 3 or 4 copies.
This new program generates meta data tags so that internet search engines can understand the title tags of the thesis. At the same time it indexes the subheadings of the document so that sections of the report, such as chapters on experimental techniques, are not lost within a wealth of data.
The next stage of the project is to be able to produce a program that can keyword search whole documents. PhD students will also be expected to submit their thesis in a standard suitable for conversion on the web. The first prototype guidelines on dissertation web formats were shown at the fair.