Help Build Global ETD Search

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This page is for ETD repository managers or those intending to start an ETD repository at their institution. Most students and researchers do not need to worry about this, except for prodding their libraries and graduate schools into action. Click here to use Global ETD Search.

NDLTD wants to build a comprehensive gateway to all doctoral and master-level theses and dissertations. This requires world-wide cooperation of all doctoral-degree granting institutions. As an organization dedicated to Open Access, NDLTD will harvest metadata from thesis repositories regardless of the participating universities’ NDLTD membership status. Yet, NDLTD relies on membership dues to support this work. Please consider becoming an NDLTD member if access to thesis research is important to you.

To contribute content to Global ETD Search, a university, a research institution, or a consortium of universities must build a repository of their Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs). For help in setting up a local repository, please consult Manage ETDs. It is the responsibility of local repository managers to develop acceptable open-access policies with their local communities. NDLTD encourages the maximum openness feasible: full text, all data, all metadata, and all multimedia files accessible to all with minimal embargo periods where needed.

NDLTD harvests metadata from participating repositories. It does not harvest text, data, figures, or multimedia. NDLTD organizes all harvested metadata in a NDLTD Union Archive. This Archive, which contains records of millions of ETDs, is managed by the University of Cape Town Digital Libraries Laboratory. The Union Archive itself is an Open Access resource, available to anyone wishing to build a service using the metadata stored in the Union Archive. Global ETD Search is a service built with data provided by the Union Archive.

To contribute metadata to the NDLTD Union Archive, you must configure the OAI-PMH interface of your ETD repository and you should register as an OAI data provider. Most repository software (DSpace, EPrints, Digital Commons, etc.) has a built-in software interface to allow harvesting of metadata by harvesters compliant with the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). If you must use a system (such as a custom-developed or in-house system) that does not have an OAI-PMH interface, the OAI website lists numerous tools that will help you to develop software to support the standard.

Finally, please e-mail the following details of your OAI registration to Hussein Suleman:

  • name of your institution
  • baseURL of the data provider
  • list of set names that contain your ETDs, if your repository contains more than ETDs
  • metadata formats that we should harvest (either oai_dc OR oai_dc+oai_etdms)

Click here for a list of institutions participating in the NDLTD Union Archive. A machine-readable version is available at

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