Managing the data in each field

Detailed information is provided here about the way in which EThOS harvests, uses, displays and shares the different elements of thesis metadata used by EThOS.

There is also some information about what we are doing to try to make the EThOS data as comprehensive as possible.

The full UKETD_DC metadata schema is shown here.

Abstract (UKETD_DC element <dcterms:abstract>)

Abstracts are added to EThOS wherever possible via harvesting or cataloguing. Institutions are encouraged to include abstracts in their harvestable metadata to increase the quality of indexing by Google Scholar and others and in turn improve the discoverability of your theses. If you send title pages for cataloguing, please include abstracts.

There is no need to send paper title pages or abstracts specifically for transfer to Index to Theses as that service now has the ability to harvest EThOS metadata direct, including all abstracts.

Awarding institution (UKETD_DC element <uketdterms:institution>)

The name of the institution or body that awarded the thesis, in the format that was correct at the point of award, e.g.:
  • EThOS ID 532624(external link) University of Wales, Swansea (now Swansea University)
Where the thesis was awarded by a body other than the institution where the degree was undertaken, the awarding body is given, e.g:
  • EThOS ID 232907(external link) Council for National Academic Awards (study institution was North Staffordshire Polytechnic, now Staffordshire University)

Current Institution

This is a metadata entry created by EThOS to record the institution responsible for the full-text thesis today. This means:
  • The institution that holds the paper thesis, to be contacted when the thesis is ordered for digitisation
  • The institution that holds the thesis in its repository
In the vast majority of cases, the awarding body and current institution are the same. Examples of where they differ are:
  • The institution awarded the thesis and has changed its name since the award, e.g. EThOS ID 532624(external link) (University of Wales, Swansea, now Swansea University)

  • The institution did not award the thesis but is now considered the contact institution, e.g. EThOS ID 232907(external link) (Awarded by Council for National Academic Awards; current institution is Staffordshire University)

  • The institution offers research degree courses but the thesis is awarded by a different institution, e.g. EThOS ID 533980(external link) (Undertaken at Chester University, PhD awarded by University of Liverpool)
Occasionally we may harvest a thesis from an institutional repository that was awarded by an entirely different institution, for example where academic staff deposit a copy of their thesis in their employing institution’s repository. The ‘current institution’ in this case is not the harvested institution, but the original awarding institution under its current name.

Date of award (UKETD_DC element <dcterms:issued>)

The original EThOS data was based on catalogue records that were created from the title page of the physical thesis, so the only date to use was the date as given on the title page. Now your repositories might record a submission date, an award date, a digitisation date and/or a publication date and everyone may use different data and fields to record the information. EThOS currently records just one date: the date the thesis was awarded.

In future there may be a case for introducing a second date field, to distinguish award date from publication or submission date for example.

Qualification name and level (UKETD_DC elements <uketdterms:qualificationname> and <uketdterms:qualificationlevel>)

EThOS records doctoral level theses only. A list of the most common doctoral and masters thesis names is available here.

We are often asked about the MPhil. The QAA defines the MPhil as a Masters-level qualification: “It is an award based on extended Masters study and is likely to involve a substantial element of research or equivalent enquiry. The MPhil may be a stand alone qualification, or may be awarded to a student who has met or exceeded the demands expressed in the Masters descriptor, but failed to meet the outcomes expressed for doctoral qualifications”. This definition is taken from the QAA National Qualifications Framework(external link). EThOS therefore does not record MPhils as standard.

As the Master of Research (MRes) can also be awarded under similar circumstances as described above for the MPhil, EThOS has taken the decision not to record these qualifications as standard.

The PhD by Publication (or ‘by published works’) is normally awarded on the basis of a series of peer-reviewed academic papers, books or other materials that have been published or accepted for publication, usually accompanied by a substantial commentary linking the published works and describing their context and significance. EThOS hold records for these PhDs where possible, for example EThOS ID 523769(external link).

Further information about the PhD by Publication is available from QAA (external link). A good example of institutional guidance for the award is provided by the University of Sheffield here(external link).”

The name of the funding body that sponsored the research, where known. Although few EThOS records currently provide this information, institutions increasingly require students completing their doctoral research to include sponsor body information when submitting their thesis into an open access repository.

We are keen to support the UK Research Councils and other funders by providing this information, and institutions are asked to record the sponsor and expose it for harvesting if possible. A planned revision in 2013 to the EPrints plug-in for EThOS will also help to expose more data, and RIOXX(external link) is expected to provide an initial authority list of sponsoring bodies based on the V4OA(external link) project.

Embargo data (UKETD_DC elements <uketdterms:embargodate> and <uketdterms:embargotype>)

Records for embargoed theses are displayed in EThOS together with a clear indication of the embargo. To ensure harvested data includes embargo information, please take note of these tips for setting up your repository:
  • Embargo information may not always be available in your metadata for us to harvest, even if it is displayed in your own records, due to the way in which your repository is configured. Please check with your technical support that the data is mapped correctly
  • Unlike some other fields, embargo data is not automatically output and therefore needs to be specifically mapped to the data format that is exported
  • The <uketdterms:embargodate> tag is considered mandatory where applicable
  • The embargo date should be given in ISO 8601 format, i.e. YYYY-MM-DD

Subject information

A number of different subject classification schemes are used by institutions and theses indexes, although many theses are not given subject heading at all. EThOS applies the following practice when it comes to subject analysis:
  • Dewey: Around 70% of EThOS records have Dewey classification, and Dewey is now added to all new records. We use Dewey to provide subject-specific sub-sets of data to subject-based indexes which increases the visibility of the theses to focused audiences. It is not normally feasible for institutions to add Dewey to their theses, but EThOS certainly makes use of this data where it is available.
  • LCSH: Some institutions add LCSH headings to their thesis records. EThOS harvests and retains the data but it is not currently indexed or displayed.
  • JACS: A few institutions use JACS headings for their theses. EThOS harvests the data but does not currently index or display the data.

Availability of full text (UKETD_DC elements <dcterms:isReferencedBy> and <dc:identifierxsi:type="dcterms:URI>)

This field describes how the user can access the full text of the thesis. Routes include:
  • Download a thesis from the EThOS database (“Access through EThOS – Thesis available for immediate download”)
  • Follow a link to a copy held in an institutional repository (“Access through institution”)
  • Order a copy for digitisation (“Access through EThOS – Thesis available to order”)
If the thesis is not available via EThOS, the data will indicate this and direct the user to contact the institution direct.


As each new record is created in EThOS, an EThOS ID is assigned and becomes a unique identifier for that thesis.

Institutions are encouraged to add the EThOS ID to their repository records wherever possible so that both EThOS and institutions can use it as a match key when re-harvesting, sharing, matching and updating the metadata for that record.

Also in this section: