August 16, 2007

Distilling the common thesis metadata elements

Filed under: E-Theses and ETD conference — Neil Godfrey @ 1:48 am

To see the common elements in the 5 thesis metadata schema — ETD_MS, UKETD-DC, XMETADISS, TEF, TDL) — check Thesis-specific metadata across 5 schema (colour coded) (a pdf file )

In sum, the thesis-specific elements all five schema contain are:

  1. The thesis degree name. But TEF 2.0 lists this as an optional element (see the link in the previous post)
  2. The thesis degree level. (e.g. Doctorat or Doctoral)
  3. The thesis degree granting institution. (This is assigned to a qualified dc.publisher element in UKETD-DC. UKETD-MS also includes a sponsor and a grantnumber.)

All except for ETD-MS include:

  1. The thesis supervisor. (Usually called the “advisor” — which is consistent with the MARC relator term [Thesis advisor]. XMetaDiss extends this to include the names of referees, committee members, chairs, co-chairs, and TEF includes jury names as well. The supervisor is a Dublin Core “contributor” value in UKETD_DC and XMetaDiss.)
  2. The thesis degree discipline. (UKETD_DC does not include this.)

TEF adds a “Yes/No” value against the element “Thesis by Publication” (tef:theseSurTravaux)

The SURF report (see previous posts) also recommends adding the country of origin to the thesis record. The purpose of this is to assist users evaluating the value of the thesis given cultural variations in the names and levels assigned to theses. For example, a doctorate in some parts of Europe is always and only a research degree. But a doctorate elsewhere can also be a coursework or professional degree.

That makes sense, but would it not be even clearer if a note such as “coursework thesis” or “research thesis ” or “professional thesis” were also added in a thesis-type element?

The SURF report (and ADT) also insist on the necessity of a single date in a thesis record to avoid confusion. That would normally be the date the thesis was accepted/published/completed — no problem if those are all the same year! :-/


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