Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about ETDs.

  1. Where can I get access on campus to a computer with the software I need to compose my ETD?

    There are several computer labs across campus. See the Vanderbilt ITS webpage for details. There are also computers available for student use in each of the libraries on campus and most libraries have laptops available for checkout.

  2. How do we use ZIP disks?

    Simply purchase a ZIP disk and use it like a floppy or CDROM. There will be instructions in the labs that have ZIP drives on how to use them.

  3. Can I submit paper copies instead of an ETD?

    Yes. The Graduate School will continue to accept paper theses and dissertations until further notice.

  4. Can I submit a paper version as well as my ETD?

    Yes. The Graduate School will accept both electronic theses and dissertations and paper copies if you would like.

  5. If we submit electronically, do we still have to pay the ``binding fee?''

    The Graduate School now collects an ``archiving fee.'' This money is used to maintain the Digital Library of ETDs in perpetua.

  6. I have already graduated. May I submit an ETD version of my work?

    No. Alumni may eventually be able to submit ETD versions of their theses or dissertations, but not at the present time.

  7. Where do I find specifications on submission format: margins, point sizes, writing style, etc.?

    Please see Formatting Your ETD for Submission, or come by the Graduate School for a copy of Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines.

  8. How does ProQuest get their copy for microfilming and copyrighting?

    When you pay your fee, the Graduate Schools sends ProQuest a signed title page and the "ProQuest form." ProQuest, then:

    You get a 10% commission when they sell copies of your dissertation, paid on the "sevens" (7, 17, 27, ...).

  9. What are the accepted file formats for ETDs?

    The standard right now is Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format).

  10. What is PDF?

    PDF stands for Portable Document Format.

    PDF is a hypertext file format developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated for electronic publishing. PDF is like PostScript...only it's like printing to the World Wide Web (instead of a printer).

    We request you submit your ETD in PDF because PDF is easy for you to create, it is easy for us to manage, and it works on multiple platforms (e.g., Macintosh, Windows, UNIX).

  11. What are the Adobe products recommended for use?

  12. Do Adobe Products come with their own help?

    Yes. Help is available by selecting the "Help" menu from Acrobat, Reader, or Distiller. Also see Adobe Systems for more information.

  13. Are the Adobe products compatible with Microsoft Office software?

    Yes. First, be sure that you are using Adobe 5 or 7. Be sure to check carefully that the PDF conversion happened successfully.

    If you are experiencing conversion difficulties:

    We will ask you for the shortest possible sample file that exhibits the error.

  14. How do I ensure that my ETD survived the transition to PDF?

    Use Acrobat or Acrobat Reader to review your PDF files. Get a friend to help! Make sure all pages formatted correctly, and that all fonts converted correctly. Make sure all pages are numbered correctly (no skipping pages), and that the table of contents matches the numbering. Make sure you have included all the document parts, especially your Vita.

    Additionally, your committee should review your PDF before they sign the ETD Approval Form. Once your ETD gets accepted into the library, we cannot change it.

  15. My PDF file has strange font problems. What happened?

    Adobe PDFWriter is a one-pass process and will not convert some documents correctly. Adobe Distiller, however, (a two-pass process) generates correct PDF files more reliably.

  16. How do I correct my ETD after it appears on the library server?

    Once your committee and the Graduate School have approved the ETD, that version is a matter of University record and will be archived as such. You may not make any corrections.

    For this reason, you and your committee and the Graduate School registrar's office must check the ETD thoroughly before submitting it.

  17. How can I view current ETDs held on the library server?

    From Vanderbilt's ETD Server, select "Browse Publicly Available ETDs." To view ETDs from other universities, please consult the Digital Libraries Page.

  18. What is PostScript?

    PostScript is a page description programming language developed by Adobe in the 1980s. It is perhaps the most versatile and most loved language for printers worldwide. It is also capable of drawing to computer screens and any kind of drawing device at any resolution. However, Postscript is not interactive. It does not allow hyperlinking or annotation.

  19. Why does PostScript work on one file and not the other? Is it the printer?

    Non-conforming dialects of the PostScript language have evolved. Attempts to make a well-formed PostScript "standard" have had little success. Adobe released the Portable Document Format (PDF) language to attempt to resolve the conflicts and solve some of the problems inherent in PostScript, and extend it to perform hypertext.

  20. What is a "Multimedia Object"?

    Multimedia is the art of combining several channels to convey information (visual + aural, textual + visual, etc.).

    Multimedia data are usually stored as a working unit---as a multimedia object.

    In the computer, a multimedia object can be pasted into a word processor document, or stored in its own file that has its own suffix (e.g., house.gif, forest.jpg, tstorm.mpg).

  21. What is an "Internal Multimedia Object"?

    An internal multimedia object is included directly in an ETD. Any object drawn or pasted into an ETD from another application is an "Internal Multimedia Object."

  22. What is an "External Multimedia Object"?

    An external multimedia object is not pasted into an ETD. Rather, it lives in its own file. It is linked by a hyperlink from an ETD.

  23. How do I include references to external multimedia objects (such as video and audio) in my ETD?

    In your word processor file, center an anchor: a figure number, caption, file name, and approximate file size on a line by itself. Create the PDF file as usual.

    Figure 1.1 Air escaping through steam portal (steam.wav, 10K)

    Then, using the link feature of Adobe Acrobat, make a link to the file ``steam.wav.'' Be sure to include the ``steam.wav'' when you submit your ETD to the Graduate School.

  24. I have several large movies. What is the file size limit for submission?

    We have not yet set a size limit. We have four terabytes (4096 gigabytes) dedicated to the ETD digital library. In other words, we have room for more than 4,000,000 average-sized ETDs.

  25. Are there any problems with using the SAS statistics package to generate graphics?

    Use the SAS statistics package to print graphics to Postscript (.ps files) or even better, Encapsulated Postscript (.eps files)). From there, you may use the Adobe Distiller product to convert the graphics to PDF and then import the pages into ``etd.pdf'' or link to them using the Adobe Acrobat product.

    If the result is not satisfactory, you may print to GIF or JPEG graphics format from SAS and include those graphics in your document.

    When using any extra tools, run a test with a small document early to make sure that everything converts correctly. The minute you take now (when you are relatively unstressed) could save you hours later (when you are completely stressed).

  26. How do I import graphics from Mathematica?

    If you are using Mathematica under Windows (3.1,95,NT, 2000, XP) or Macintosh you should be able to ``copy'' and ``paste'' (under the ``Edit'' menu) graphics into your word processor file. The same is true for spreadsheets and other software packages. Make sure you are using Adobe Distiller version 3.0 or better. Always test to see how well small files work before doing your entire ETD.

  27. How do I import scanned photos?

    You may ``copy'' and ``paste'' scanned images directly into your word processor as internal multimedia objects.

    Otherwise, save the scanned photo as a JPEG file and make a link to it as an external multimedia object (explained above).

  28. May I include running programs, such as executable files or Matlab simulations?

    Yes, you may include programs just like external multimedia objects. Please include directions on how to install and run the program. Please include carefully documented source code. Make sure you have included all required support libraries and that you have permission to make these publicly available.

  29. Different Multimedia File Types

    My multimedia file format is not listed, I need to include files of this type, and I have a special viewer. What can I do?

    First, we suggest that you provide an alternate view in a standard format (JPEG for images, etc.) for multimedia objects. In this way, everyone who reads your ETD can get an idea of your work without installing a special viewer.

    For special cases (e.g., 3-D molecule browsers), you may include the viewer for the multimedia format as an appendix to your ETD. Then you may make links to the external multimedia objects. Make sure that you document the tool and its use carefully. Also be sure that you have correct permissions to redistribute the viewer as well as documentation on the file type.

  30. Can I have internal figures in a "landscape" orientation?

    Yes. PDF files can represent pages that are more than three (virtual) feet wide and tall. This is a useful feature of the ETD, as it is nice to be able to pan and enlarge parts of such a figure with no loss of resolution.

  31. Is it possible to scan text into my ETD?

    Converting scanned images into a text format involves optical character recognition (OCR). Scanners attached to systems running Adobe Capture can convert to PDF and OCR at the same time. This allows for corrections if needed.

    Be sure that you secure permission to use the scanned text from the copyright owner. You may have to present this proof when you submit your ETD.

  32. What about Non-standard Fonts

    I am using some "non-standard" fonts (by your definition in the submission guidelines). How do I make sure that my PDF file will contain the correct fonts?

    You need to set up Distiller to "embed all fonts."

  33. How do I convert Pagemaker and Photoshop documents into a PDF file?

    The lastest versions of Adobe products all have native PDF support. From the "File" menu, select "Save as PDF..." or "Print to PDF..."

    For non-Adobe products, any file that can be printed from Windows/Macintosh can be printed to PostScript and then Distilled into PDF.

  34. How do I include links in my document?

    Follow the instructions in the How-to section:

  35. How do I cite an ETD?

    These suggestions are derived from the Chicago Manual of Style (14th ed.).

    Velayudhan, Nirmalkumar. "Analysis of Thermally Diffused Single Mode Optical Fiber Couplers." Master's thesis, Virginia Tech, 1997. http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/materials/public/etd-51697-144745/etd-title.html.

    Sampan, Samkiat. "Neural Fuzzy Techniques In Vehicle Acoustic Signal Classification." Ph.D. diss., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1997. http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/materials/public/etd-5733142539751141/etd-title.html

  36. Is there a limit to the size of our files we submit as a part of our ETD

    We set no limit to the size of any of the files you submit for your ETDs. You may want to split large files into smaller pieces to make it easier for library patrons to download. Name each file according to the submission instructions. NOTE: If your submission is very large, please send us a message so that we may expect it.

  37. Will having my thesis or dissertation submitted as an ETD affect my ability to publish my research?

    Since the ETD is such a new concept the rules and regulations regarding acceptability for a scholarly publication of a work already published on the web are nebulous. Some organizations, such as the American Chemical Association, have stated that they will not accept for publication any work that has already appeared on the web. However, Elsevier, one of the largest publishers of scholarly materials has stated that they will accept for publication materials that have appeared on the web. It seems likely that most publishers will follow the lead of Elsevier. It is the responsibility of the student to ascertain whether these policies are pertinent to their field or to the journals to which they may submit their work. Presently, Vanderbilt allows the student three options when the work is submitted:Unrestricted (the document will be available to anyone who accesses the ETD website), Restricted (access to the document via the web will only be possible within the Vanderbilt domain), and Withheld (the work will be archived on the library server but will not appear on the website). Restricted or withheld works WILL be released for worldwide access based upon your selection UNLESS you contact the Graduate School PRIOR TO THAT DATE to request an extension and provide details to support your request.

  38. Since filing a dissertation directly on the Internet can be considered publication, will that harm students' ability to publish their work elsewhere?

It has always been the case that dissertations are published. However, the lack of fast and free access provided by ProQuest publications has not harmed students' abilities to find publishers for their work, either in article or book form. It is the case that the access provided by Internet publication is altering the availability of work. Students will need to consider whether publication on the Internet may harm their ability to secure another publication outlet for the material, either in its original or a revised form. As indicated above, students are not required to publish in digital form nor on the Internet. Some students may believe that their dissertation in its original form will be more valuable to them if it is promptly available through Internet publication, with little value in second publication form. Many other students, however, will likely choose ProQuest (or a competitor), and attempt to secure another publisher for part or all of their work.


Return to the Graduate School Page
Return to the ETD Page