Georgetown University is mounting a pilot project in ETDs, and today at
a meeting with our librarians, two basic questions arose for which we
did not have compelling answers. I would appreciate help with either.
First, if UMI already constitutes a kind of union catalog of theses and
dissertations, why should we spend scarce resources to provide a
duplicative collection? Can anyone point to an available checklist of
benefits contrasting UMI and NDLTD? We responded with advantages of
open access and contribution to the global community, publicity for the
student and the university, education of the students in the basics of
e-publishing, but from the standpoint of an aggregated collection at UMI
that we already pay for and provide access to, we weren't completely
convincing in our answer.
Second, what can be done to prevent downstream piracy and plagiarism of
freely available dissertations in PDF format. Granted that capability
for manipulation is limited if the person getting access has only the
Adobe plug-in, someone intent on misappropriation will have the full
Adobe package to edit and re-purpose at will. We clarified that placing
a spurious version of the document in place of the original would not be
possible, but there was still concern about the possibility of
misappropriation . . . as is true for any publicly available electronic
resource. Does anyone have a convincing response to this concern?
Michael Neuman, Ph.D., M.L.S.
Interim Associate University Librarian
for Digital Services and Technology Planning
3700 O Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20057-1174