Vanderbilt University

Author Help Page

The Submission Process

Logging In

Use the login page to log in to the ETD submission process. If you do not have an account, you will be given the opportunity to create one.

Once you have begun the process of submitting your ETD, you will be able to use the same username and password to continue making changes to your information until your ETD is approved by the Graduate School.

The security system used by the submission process requires that your browser support and allow cookies.

ETD status

The submission process uses a persistent ETD Status message to keep you aware of what you've already done, and what still needs to be done before your ETD can be approved. You should also use this status window to navigate among the different steps of the submission process.

In order to be considered complete, your ETD must:

Pay special attention to any items in the status message which are displayed in red, these are items that need to be dealt with before your ETD can be approved.

Sample ETD Status message (links removed)

ETD Status

Items in red represent information that must be added or changed before your ETD can be approved.

  • Start Over
  • View Main Record
  • Update Main Record
  • Update Committee Information
  • Add File Information
  • Log Out

Adding Files

The ETD submission process requires you to upload files using a Web browser.

File uploads through a browser window are supported by all versions of Netscape greater than 3.0 and all versions of Internet Explorer greater than 4.0. File uploads will not work properly if your browser is using a proxy server of any kind.

Our file upload page can generally support files of up to 20 Megabytes in size. It is reccommended that you keep your files under this size, as it increases the usability of your research over the Web. However, if you need to submit a larger file, ftp access is also available on request.

As a rule, a correct filename will not contain any spaces or slashes. On the title page that will eventually present your information over the Web, your files will be sorted alphanumerically. If you want to guarantee that your files will appear in a given order, it is suggested that you name them with two digit numeral codes in front of them, something like the following:

Entering Abstract

In general, you can copy and paste your abstract from a standard word processing program into the abstract field in your browser window. Be aware that special characters such as é and this section sign, §, often will not copy correctly if you cut and paste them into the form. Instead of these special characters, you should use the equivalent HTML entity (i.e. " instead of " and é instead of é).

Entering Keywords

To improve access to your ETD, select keywords or phrases that are NOT already in your abstract or title page. All of those words are already indexed for searching. Selecting additional words and phrases that are descriptive and unique will increase the probability that searches will retrieve your ETD. Consult your chapter subheadings and conclusion for different but appropriate search terms. If you cut and paste your keywords from your word processor, you should be aware of any special characters (umlauts, accent marks, quotation marks), and replace them with the appropriate HTML entity.

"Mixed" Availability

"Mixed" availability allows you to choose a separate availability for each file that is included with your ETD. So for example, if you want to completely withhold access from the second chapter of your ETD, you must have selected "mixed" availability for your ETD, and must save the second chapter of your ETD in a separate file. You must then change the availability of the file containing your second chapter to "withheld". If you have selected "mixed" availabilty and have added at least one file, you will be given the option to change the availability of individual files when you View or Update your Main Record, or when you Update the file information associated with your ETD.

HTML entities

Some special characters do not display in a browser window. For a number of these cases, there are HTML entities which can be used to safely display the special characters. An HTML entity consists of an ampersand (&), a word or number (quot, for example), and a semicolon (;). The following is a short list of special characters and the HTML entity equivalents.

Name Syntax Character Description
aacute á á Small a, acute accent
agrave à à Small a, grave accent
ccedil ç ç Small c, cedilla
eacute é é Small e, acute accent
egrave è è Small e, grave accent
ntilde ñ ñ Small n, tilde
ouml ö ö Small o, dieresis or umlaut mark
uuml ü ü Small u, dieresis or umlaut mark
(double) quotation mark " " (double) quotation mark
ampersand & & ampersand
less-than sign &lt; < less-than sign
greater-than sign &gt; > greater-than sign

For a more complete list of HTML entities, please visit the following URL, which is maintained by the World Wide Web Consortium:

Browser Compatibility Issues

In order to use the ETD submission process, your browser must support cookies and file uploads. There are currently known incompatibilities with the Macintosh version of Netscape version 3.02, you will need to upgrade if you are using this version.


A cookie is a bit of information about a user or session that is stored in a cookies.txt file by a compatible browser. Whenever the browser requests a page from a host for which it has cookie information, it also sends the cookie information along, which can be used by any scripts or CGI programs capable of processing cookie data. In our case, this cookie is used to store a unique session ID, so that it is not neccessary for you to log in repeatedly before visiting each subsequent page in the process.

Most recent browsers come with cookies enabled, but people often disable them for various reasons. If your browser has cookies disabled, consult the documentation (online or otherwise) that comes with your browser for instructions on reenabling cookies.

The session cookies issued by our scripts are set to expire in 15 minutes, but are renewed by each subsequent script. If you remain on the same page for more than 15 minutes, your cookie will expire, and you will be required to log in again. If this happens, you can still use the "back" button on your browser to return to the page you were working on before your cookie expired.

Problems using proxies

A proxy is a machine which allows your browser to download pages as though it were coming from a different location. Proxies are typically used to allow access to materials restricted to a particular location. Proxies are also used to allow access between networks. Users of some versions of AOL's default browser use this type of proxy arrangement to connect to the internet. To use the file upload feature of your browser, you must not be making use of a proxy. Proxy settings for most browsers can be changed as needed, for more information, consult the help files for your particular browser. If you are using AOL, you must download and use a newer version of either Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer in conjunction with your AOL account.

The Graduate School Review Process

Once you have submitted all of the minimum information needed to make up an ETD, your ETD will be reviewed by the Graduate School. This process can take as little as a few days, or as long as several weeks, depending on the number of ETDs waiting to be approved.


If anything about your ETD needs to be changed before it can be approved, the Graduate School may send you a notice, which is a brief message describing the steps you need to take to complete your ETD. Notices are generally delivered as email messages to whatever author email address you entered for your ETD. Notices may also be sent to your committee chair if there are problems reaching you. Once you receive a message indicating that you have a notice, you should login again and make the requested changes. Once you have made the requested changes, it is very important that you send a response to the Graduate School, so that they will know that your ETD has been updated and is ready to be reviewed again.

Starting Over

If you would like to stop work on a partially completed ETD and completely start over, the "Start Over" link in the ETD Status block that appears on most pages will give you the ability to completely remove all of the files and information you have already added and start again.

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