How does a university library join in the advancement of scientific knowledge in the world? By providing free access to its students’ doctoral dissertations and master’s theses on the Internet. This is the proposed purpose of Espace ÉTS. As of September 24th, a total of 1,092 theses and dissertations had been placed in the Espace ÉTS institutional repository for consultation by any member of the public, thanks to ÉTS’s Service de la bibliothèque [Library Services Department] and the the Décanat des études [Office of the Dean of Education].
Behind the scenes
C’est depuis 2010 que les mémoires et thèses sont ainsi rendus disponibles au public. Le personnel du Service de la bibliothèque, qui obtient les fichiers des thèses et des mémoires déposés, s’occupe de vérifier la conformité des fichiers (en format Word ou LaTeX, et PDF), et d’en produire une version en format PDF/A (un format PDF standardisé et optimisé pour la conservation). De plus, il est aussi primordial de cataloguer et indexer les documents correctement, afin de les rendre « découvrables » dans divers outils. Déposer une copie du document sur un serveur ne sert pas à grand-chose si on ne crée pas les métadonnées adéquates qui permettent ensuite au lecteur de le repérer facilement. C’est là tout le travail des bibliothécaires et techniciens : bien décrire les documents afin de les rendre visibles et les faire rayonner!
What is an institutional repository?
“An institutional repository (IR) is a digital collection of an organization’s intellectual output. Institutional repositories centralize, preserve and make accessible the knowledge generated by academic institutions.” (Canadian Association of Research Libraries, 2014)
Consulting documents on Espace ÉTS
Anyone interested in reading ÉTS’s theses and dissertations can go directly to the Espace ÉTS platform and browse the content or do a search. Searches can be done by year, by department, by author and even by thesis director.
However, the key to locating files lies in performing searches with search engines such as Google and Google Scholar, where the results from institutional repositories are given high visibility. For this, Espace ÉTS is supported by the platform ePrints, which is designed to facilitate the tagging of metadata to ensure that search engines that “harvest” content automatically can easily identify the document title, author, keywords, etc.
Usage statistics to date
Since its beginnings in 2010, the number of visits to Espace ÉTS has grown considerably from year to year, reaching nearly 140,000 in 2013 and even more for 2014, although it’s just October! For 2013, it meant an average of nearly 137 hits per document. Again, the high numbers are largely due to the fact that all of the theses and dissertations can be located using Google and Google Scholar, thanks to the painstaking work of the ÉTS Library Services staff.
Try it out…
Do you have a thesis or dissertation on Espace ÉTS? Want to view the statistics for it? Nothing could be simpler: just find the record for your document (the page where the abstract and other information about your thesis or dissertation are found, as well as the link to the PDF file) and scroll down to the bottom of the page where graphics are displayed illustrating the number of daily and monthly downloads. Click the link Plus de statistiques… (more statistics…) and you can see more information about the source of the hits.
Other avenues for disseminating ÉTS theses and dissertations
In addition to being available on Espace ÉTS, ÉTS’s theses and dissertations are sent to the database ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (subscription only), which is used by researchers everywhere to locate theses and dissertations from universities around the world in a variety of disciplines.
ÉTS’s theses and dissertations are also sent to Library and Archives Canada’s Theses Canada portal, where they are made available alongside all others produced in Canada.
The Substance ÉTS site also offers lay articles on science news of interest to ÉTS underscoring the work done by our researchers on theses, dissertations and scientific publications. Hyperlinks to Espace ÉTS allow visitors to go to the source documents.
Logical progression: Espace ÉTS – research publications and contributions section
In 2011, ÉTS’s Library Services started up a section of Espace ÉTS dedicated to the publications of professors and student research assistants to allow them to benefit from this impressive visibility. This rapidly expanding section of Espace ÉTS holds bibliographical references, and in some cases the entire text file, of all publications by ÉTS researchers. More on this another time…