Pitt to Host Conference on Access, Preservation Of Academic Electronic Information

Issue Date: 
June 8, 2009

The oft-controversial issue of open access and the challenge of preserving today’s copious digital documents are among the topics that will draw scholars and policy makers to the University of Pittsburgh for an international conference on matters concerning electronic information in academia.

Pitt will host ETD 2009, the 12th International Symposium on Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs), from June 10 to 13 at various campus venues. The conference is organized by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations and cosponsored by Pitt’s University Library System (ULS) and West Virginia University Libraries. More information on the conference schedule, event locations, and registration is available on the ULS Web site at www.library.pitt.edu/etd2009/ or by e-mailing the conference organizers at etd2009@pitt.edu.

The ETD 2009 conference will focus on the latest developments and projects related to digital repositories, e-learning, digital preservation, digital library standards, and open access, the movement to make scholarly work freely available online rather than through traditional peer-reviewed journals. International experts from 25 countries also will share their ideas of the future of electronic scholarly publishing. Among them is Stevan Harnad, a professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal and the University of Southampton as well as the founder of the American Scientist Open Access Forum and a renowned proponent of open access. Harnad will deliver the keynote address on open access at 1:30 p.m. June 10.

Pitt is among the earliest adopters of ETDs. Since its inception in 2000, the University’s ETD program has amassed more than 2,600 documents, most of which are freely accessible to scholars worldwide. Electronic submission is now mandatory for all Pitt programs with a thesis requirement, and the collection now grows at the rate of approximately 500 per year. ETDs have dramatically increased the visibility of the University’s latest research, increased usage tenfold compared to print circulation, and shaved months off the time it takes to make new research accessible.

Pitt has recently established an open-access repository called D-Scholarship@Pitt that includes ETDs as well as published and unpublished research papers, conference papers and presentations, research data, and such supporting multimedia as audio, video, and images. Materials are submitted directly by the authors and must pertain to scholarly research. The D-Scholarship@Pitt repository is available on Pitt’s Web site at d-scholarship.pitt.edu.