Arthur Belanger, Charles J. Greenberg, Gillian Mayman: The Yale Medicine Thesis Digital Library
The software solution for serving theses was at that moment undecided, and the Yale Library at that moment was not a member of the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD). The shock of the new ETD format for thesis would be considerable at a Medical School with much reverence for both history and paper. To immediately build on the decision to launch the project, Medical students in the graduating class of 2002 received an email invitation to be a pioneer author represented in YMTDL. Twelve students, or about 15% of the graduating class responded by filling out and submitting a participation form, and eventually manuscripts in word processing format were received from 8 students. The participation form was modeled on the ETD project at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech). The low percentage of response was nevertheless considered significant, in that the status of the project at the moment of submission was primitive, consisting mainly of good intentions, a participation form, and an FAQ on the library web.
During the summer of 2002, in recognition that the urgency to launch the project may had avoided sufficient university review, the participation form was submitted to the Yale Office of the General Counsel for comment. In August, a member of the Office of General Counsel approved the format and wording of the participation agreement and recommended valuable changes. A new version of the form was prepared for use in 2003.
In October of 2002, the Associate University Librarian for digital acquisitions and licensing was asked for her opinion on joining the NDLTD. The benefits of membership included use of the ETD software from Virginia Tech, access to national and international experts for ETD publishing and standards, and participation in an international collaboration at a time when Yale was eager to expand its international profile. The Associate University Librarian readily agreed to the Yale Library‘s membership. However, because of scant interest in ETD publishing in other campus graduate schools, the Library membership would avoid delays in joining NDLTD. In her opinion, Medical student theses are unique enough to receive consideration independent of other dissertation treatment on campus.
In late October 2002, Information Technology Services-Medicine (ITS-Med) system administrator Arthur Belanger installed the Virginia Tech ETD software on a secure server. Mr. Greenberg proceeded to convert student word processing manuscripts into PDF format and upload records. The Medical Library webmaster, Gillian Mayman, proceeded to create a prototype public interface that possessed visual synergy with a recent comprehensive library web redesign. During the preparation phase for public debut, additional effort was made to contact student participants that never handed in a word processing file. Several students eventually responded.
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