Just to be contrary (– not really — merely expressing thoughts in flux — that’s what blogs are for, right?) why bother with an ETD metadata schema at all? Why treat theses any differently from any other resource in repositories? Obviously there are some specific differences that need attention when it comes to images or videos in comparison with text or pdf files, but this is a function of format. The concept “thesis” is of course not a format but an intellectual content based idea.
By all means maintain the uniquely “thesis” metadata in a repository record (awarding institution, degree name and level, etc), but for harvesting purposes, is there any need to go beyond what is already available through simple Dublin Core data?
Simple Dublin Core enables the harvesting of all scholarly repositories by OAI-PMH compliant service providers. The dc.type element can be used to limit searches or harvesting to specific subgroups in a repository (e.g. theses!). And anyone searching a particular topic among scholarly works will not have their search necessarily limited to a particular type of thesis, but will embrace scholarly research reports as well, other discussion papers and peer-reviewed findings. Is not that a more valuable service to users than a limited “research thesis only” database?
These questions may sound rhetorical but they are not.
Thought is being given in Europe and US re improving ETD-MS and UKETD_DC or other schema. How much of this is necessary or possible? “Doctoral” can refer to a research thesis or a coursework thesis. Research theses can be doctoral or masters. There is no international uniformity of meaning or thesis types. Can we go far wrong if we focus instead on simply making available in the most efficient ways the repository databases of scholarly works, rather than discrete (nationally and even regionally distinct) terms within those databases?