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Metadata FAQ

1. We add the EThOS ID to our thesis records wherever possible. Is this a good idea and is there any guidance on format?
2. We create full LCSH headings for our theses. Do you harvest or use this data in EThOS?
3. We have theses under a former institutional name: can these be cross referenced to our current name? Also, our repository holds some theses authored by our staff members but awarded by a completely different university. How are these handled in EThOS?
4. Can you explain how you handle award date, publication date, submission date etc?
5. What about sponsor body?

1. We add the EThOS ID to our thesis records wherever possible. Is this a good idea and is there any guidance on format?
Yes please, it’s really helpful if you can add the EThOS ID to your own records. Please simply add it to a field in the format uk.bl.ethos.123456. We will then use this as the main match key for matching and de-duplicating, for example when we re-harvest your updated records.

2. We create full LCSH headings for our theses. Do you harvest or use this data in EThOS?
Yes, we do harvest LCSH (and DCC and other keywords) if you hold it in your records. At the moment the data is then held in a general keyword field and is searchable alongside all the other data in EThOS. LCSH isn’t currently managed as a separate data field because under BL cataloguing policy, LCSH is not routinely added to theses records. A keyword search will include a search of any LCSH terms we’ve harvested from you.

The LCSH data is transferred correctly to the Library’s Primo catalogue, though, so if you want to run an LCSH subject search for Doctoral theses, either from your own institution or more generally, you can do this by using the British Library's resource discovery service, Explore the British Library.

3. We have theses under a former institutional name: can these be cross referenced to our current name? Also, our repository holds some theses authored by our staff members but awarded by a completely different university. How are these handled in EThOS?
Where an institution has changed its name, both forms of the name are presented in the EThOS record, as Awarding Body and Current Institution, and are searchable by either name. When a thesis is harvested from one institution but was awarded by a completely different one we apply a manual correction to give the correct Current Institution for that thesis.

4. Can you explain how you handle award date, publication date, submission date etc?
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. At the moment, we only record the year of award in EThOS.

In future there may be a case for introducing a second date field, to distinguish award date from publication or submission date for example, but for now we want to keep things simple and retain the one date. Do let us know if you have views on this – and whether you follow any guidance on recording dates for theses.

5. What about sponsor body?
We would like you to include sponsor body information in your records if possible. Many of you do so already and it’s something the Research Councils are obviously keen that we record. Of course most of the 300,000 older EThOS records don’t have any sponsor information but as we harvest more and more we can record the data and start to move towards some consistency. Our cataloguers are now also adding sponsor information whenever it appears on the title pages of the paper theses they handle.