General Questions

  1. What is an ETD?
  2. What are the benefits of ETDs?
  3. Why should I submit electronically?
  4. May I submit an ETD version of my work if I have already graduated?
  5. Should I urge my committee members to review my document electronically?
  6. What software is needed to view ETD documents? How may I acquire this software?
  7. How are ETDs accessed?
  8. What are the availability options?
  9. Why should I make my ETD freely available?
  10. What are the issues associated with the protection of intellectual property rights?
  11. What are the policies regarding copyrights?
  12. What are the issues associated with ETD online publication and journal publishers?
  13. How to write your document Using Styles in Word

What is an ETD?

An ETD is an electronic thesis or dissertation document expressed in a form simultaneously suitable for machine archives and worldwide retrieval. The document is similar to its paper predecessor, but differs in that ETDs provide a technologically advanced medium for expression. They may be prepared using nearly any word processor or document preparation system and, if desired, the incorporation of relevant multimedia elements. ETDs eliminate the requirement to submit multiple copies on fifty percent cotton bond paper. Consequently, ETDs consume virtually no library shelf space, and never collect dust. Furthermore, with your approval, they can be available to anyone browsing the World Wide Web.

What are the benefits of ETDs?

ETDs enable graduate students to more effectively and creatively present their research. Some of the specific benefits of the electronic submission and archiving of theses and dissertations include the following:

  • The results of research presented in a thesis or dissertation is more accessible to scholars all over the world via the World Wide Web. Potential employers may also more easily view these documents.
  • The message of a thesis or dissertation may be better conveyed in an electronic as opposed to a paper document. Creative possibilities are expanded by allowing color diagrams, color images, hypertext links, audio, video, animation, spreadsheets, databases, simulations, etc., to be integrated into a document.
  • ETDs reduce the need for library storage space, and they utilize advancements in the digital library, which improves service. The university can more economically fulfill its responsibility of recording and archiving theses and dissertations.

Why should I submit electronically?

  • Submitting is quick and is required by the University.
  • People all over the world will have access to your research and results.
  • You can include technical information that just does not look or work the same in paper versions.
  • Your document will be available in the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD)

May I submit an ETD version of my work if I have already graduated?

Yes. Alumni may submit ETD versions of their theses or dissertations. Your ETD must already be in electronic format (word processor), must be converted to PDF, pass the regular review process, and have the Approval form (ADV Form 8d) signed before it can be submitted, accepted and approved. Also, in order to submit an ETD, the person must have a valid BYU NetID and password to log into the online submission page. You must have graduated in 2008 or later.

Should I urge my committee members to review my document electronically?

Committee members should have the option to review your thesis or dissertation in paper format or as a PDF document. A PDF file created in Adobe Acrobat allows viewers to mark up the file and add notes that can be sent back electronically to the author. The choice is strictly up to the committee members. The review by the committee takes place BEFORE you submit your ETD. However, there are advantages to reviewing the document electronically. For example, a committee member could review your work online from a distant location.

What software is needed to view ETD documents? How may I acquire this software?

To view ETDs you will need a Web browser (e.g., Netscape Navigator, Internet Explorer), as well as Adobe Reader, which is available at no cost from http://get.adobe.com/reader/.

How are ETDs accessed?

The Harold B. Lee Library works to make all ETDs easily available (if allowed by the student author) using the following methods:

  • Online collection: Online access to the ETD Collection is available at http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/etd/
  • BYU Library Catalog: All ETDs will appear in the BYU Lee Library Catalog. People searching the library catalog can easily search theses or dissertations by subject and then link directly to them from the search results.
  • Search Engines: Google or a similar search engine can be used to locate topics in submitted ETDs.
  • NDLTD: Anyone seeking a specific ETD can search the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD), which is at the forefront of the ETD movement. NDLTD is a federation of member universities (including BYU) and consortia dedicated to improving graduate education and the sharing of knowledge, helping universities build their information infrastructure, and extending the value of digital libraries.
  • Third-Party Organizations: Third-party organizations, such as UMI (Universal Microfilm Inc.) are encouraged to provide archiving services and access to ETDs. For more than sixty years most dissertations written in the United States have been submitted to UMI for archiving and microfilm, from which microform or paper copies can be produced. More recently, UMI has initiated a service to make dissertations available electronically, and is encouraging submission of new dissertations in electronic (PDF) format.

What are the availability options?

An ETD will be assigned a level of access according to the ETD Approval Form (ADV Form 8d), which must be signed by the student, his or her committee, the department graduate coordinator or chair, and a college administrator at the time of final submission. The level of access should be considered carefully, taking into consideration patent, publishing and other proprietary issues. Students should feel free to ask the BYU Intellectual Property Services office or General (legal) Counsel for advice and to discuss this with their advisor. If intending to work with a publisher regarding journal or book publications, the student should understand any policies and agreements he or she would sign.

BYU will allow the four following levels of access:

  • Immediate Release: This allows worldwide access to the entire work through the World Wide Web and is recommended by the University. This option makes the information freely available worldwide.
  • Delayed Release: This delays release of the entire work for up to one year for publication or other proprietary reasons. After the one year delay, the work will be released for world wide access in the digital library.
  • Secure Access: This secures/embargoes the entire work for patent OR export control reasons. The University Technology Transfer Office will determine, with guidance from the student and advisor, whether the embargo is for patent or export control restriction purposes. At the end of the secure period the work will be released for cataloging in the digital library. This secure option requires approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies.
  • Creative Work Embargo: This option is only available for English Creative Writing MFA students who wish to delay release for a period longer than one year. This option requires approval of your graduate coordinator.

Why should I make my ETD freely available?

ETDs increase the availability of theses and dissertations to students and scholars worldwide for the purpose of enhancing the growth of knowledge.

What are the issues associated with the protection of intellectual property rights?

The main issue associated with the protection of intellectual property rights is:

Protection of the student author's intellectual property rights in work documented through ETDs and distributed electronically to the public. The ETD policies recognize that there may be legitimate circumstances for deferring or restricting electronic distribution of a thesis or dissertation for a limited time in order to protect intellectual property rights.

For a more complete discussion on the protection of intellectual property rights see the Intellectual Property Considerations topic under "About ETDs".

What are the policies regarding copyrights?

The student author retains ownership rights to the copyright of the dissertation or thesis, as well as the right to use all or part of the dissertation or thesis in future work (such as articles or books). However, the student grants to Brigham Young University and its agents the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible, under the conditions specified in the Approval Form (ADV Form 8d), the dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known.

If you intend to work with a publisher regarding journal or book publications, you should understand any policies and agreements that you might be required to sign. Students should feel free to contact the BYU Intellectual Property Services office or General (legal) Counsel for advice on such issues, and they should discuss all issues with their advisor.

For more information on copyright issues go to the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

What are the issues associated with ETD online publication and journal publishers?

Most journal publishers do not consider the online publication of dissertations and theses as ETDs to be any different than making the bound paper copies available to the general public on the library circulation shelves.

Under some rare circumstances it might be necessary to delay the online distribution of your ETD to meet journal or monograph publishers' requirements against prior publication. This is done by selecting delayed release on the Approval Form (ADV Form 8d) and in the online submission form; this secures the ETD for up to a year if necessary. Please check with the specific journals where you wish to publish your work for their policies.