March 21, 2018

EBSCO and BiblioLabs Announce OA Service for Theses, Dissertations

EBSCO Open Dissertations logoEBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) and BiblioLabs will launch, an open access (OA) initiative that will facilitate the discovery of electronic theses and dissertations (ETD), in early 2018. Students, researchers, and libraries can submit ETD for free. EBSCO will include metadata for the submitted ETD in EBSCO Discovery Service, as well as exposing it on the website to enhance the discoverability of this OA content both within academia and in open web searches. User traffic will be driven to partnering sites, such as academic institutional repositories (IR), which will host full-text versions of the theses and dissertations.

“Universities have long provided theses and dissertations to companies that require libraries to subscribe to their products to gain the added value of aggregated access to this research output,” EBSCO explained in an announcement. “With more and more universities now hosting and distributing their own ETDs on the open web, EBSCO and BiblioLabs are seeking to add an enhanced service that freely aggregates and exposes this valuable content, extending access to any interested reader worldwide.”

At launch, the project will include the British Library’s EThOS Service, as well as ETD metadata from Cornell University, Florida State University, the University of Florida (UF), the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and the University of Kentucky.

Enhanced visibility

The project got its start through EBSCO’s work with the H.W. Wilson Foundation beginning in 2014, Kathleen McEvoy, EBSCO’s VP of communications, told LJ. “They came to us with an A&I [abstracting and indexing] database that they wanted to digitize—Doctoral Dissertations Accepted by American Universities, 1933–1955,” McEvoy said. “So, we put that online at, and it really sparked a lot of interest from universities who said, ‘If I tie that to my institutional repository, my users could have full-text access’…. As we expanded it [with the addition of post-1955 content beginning in 2015] it really started to mushroom, with more and more people starting to say, ‘This is a great way to showcase our institutional repository.’”

BiblioLabs developed the ETD submission platform, following Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) standards and ensuring future compatibility with the FOLIO open source library services platform, a separate project on which EBSCO, BiblioLabs, and several other major library vendors are collaborating.

Mitchell Davis, founder and CEO of BiblioLabs, said will help graduate students increase the visibility of their own work while also offering access to OA research that might otherwise take months or even years to be published.

In discussions with graduate students while the platform was under development, Davis found that they “understood how slowly publishing works. And they had an awareness that having access to these theses and dissertations was [access] to the rawest and newest research that they can get their hands on…. The pace of their curiosity wasn’t necessarily going to track with the pace of academic publishing.”

Christine Swanson, a PhD student who helped organize some of the early feedback on the project as VP of UF’s graduate student council, noted that, as an OA platform, could also help facilitate research and collaboration in countries where faculty and students don’t have comprehensive institutional access to subscription databases and journals. Her own work, for example, includes collaboration with international researchers in South America and elsewhere involved with the Amazon Dams Network.

“In general, science does need to move toward being open—to anyone who wants to read the science—especially when its funded by the government,” Swanson told LJ.  “It’s extremely important, not just as a public service, but also for sharing science and moving science forward.”

EBSCO anticipates that more than 20 partner libraries will be participating in by the time it goes live, likely early February. Over the course of 2018, the company expects to make announcements regarding innovations related to multimedia ETDs and research data sets.

Matt Enis About Matt Enis

Matt Enis (, @matthewenis on Twitter, is Senior Editor, Technology for Library Journal.

The Latest Trends in Library Design
Hosted in partnership with Salt Lake County Library and The City Library—at SLCo’s Viridian Center—the newest installment of our library building and design event will let you dig deep with architects, librarians, and vendors to explore building, renovating, and retrofitting spaces to better engage your community.
Facts Matter: Information Literacy for the Real World
Libraries and news organizations are joining forces in a variety of ways to promote news literacy, create innovative community programming, and help patrons/students identify misinformation. This online course will teach you how to partner with local news organizations to promote news literacy through a range of programs—including a citizen journalism hub at your library.
Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  4. Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media, per our Terms of Use.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind