Stanford to Accept Digital Dissertations

As of November 9, 2009, Stanford graduate students can submit their dissertations digitally. This new program means less effort and expense for students and better access to the documents' content.

Speaking at the Oct. 22 Faculty Senate meeting (PDF), University Librarian Michael Keller said the digital world offers a "much greater palette of expression" to graduate students, because they will be able to include more graphics and content types in their dissertations than in paper copies.

"[There will be] more opportunities to link to online resources and to have those links live," Keller said during a joint presentation (PDF) on the program with University Registrar Thomas Black. See also the PowerPoint version of the presentation, eDissertations/eTheses: Moving Stanford Forward.

The documents will be available to the Stanford community through Socrates, the university's online library catalog, and through Google, which serves as a third-party distributor. The Stanford University Libraries will print one copy of each work and store it in the Stanford University Archives.

Keller said he and Black sought advice on the new program from the Faculty Senate's Committee on Graduate Studies, and will report back to the committee in about a year with an update on how it is progressing. "It is an ongoing program that will undergo change as we understand how it is used and what effects it may have," Keller said, adding that the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) and the Graduate Student Council are also providing advice and feedback.

For Stanford students' reactions to this new program, see the November 4 Stanford Daily article.

Students planning to submit a dissertation or engineering master’s thesis in the 2009-2010 academic year are encouraged to prepare early for the new online submission process. Stanford Libraries and the Office of the University Registrar are hosting several eDissertation Open Lab Sessions in Green Library throughout the remainder of the Fall Quarter. The open labs schedule and other information about submitting electronic dissertations and theses can be found soon on the Registrar’s Web site at:

Faculty serving on a dissertation reading committee may notice a change with the new program as well. For information about new procedures for the Certificate of Final Reading, see the Faculty Guide for Reviewing Theses and Dissertations.

See the Stanford News Service article for more information about the eDissertations program.

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