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United States Electronic Theses and Dissertations Association (USETDA) 2016 Conference

01 Oct

Earlier this week the United States Electronic Theses and Dissertations Association (USETDA) held its 2016 conference in Columbus, OH. This 6th annual conference was jointly hosted by the Ohio Electronic Theses and Dissertations Association (OEDTA) along with OhioLINK and USETDA on Monday September 26th through Wednesday September 28th, 2016. Below are links to the content for the conference on the USETDA website but for more, search the official Twitter hashtag #USETDA2016.

This three day conference focused on ETDs, discussing topics ranging from improving submissions, instating open access, accepting creative works, correcting metadata, and handling retrospective (older) ETDs. A mix of librarians and graduate school professionals attend, which further enriches the discussions since both groups have different perspectives and priorities. Since every institution handles ETDs in their own way, with some libraries and graduate schools working together and others dealt with in one or the other depending on workflows and processes. For some, conference such as USETDA are crucial for connecting with their other counterparts including vendors. Plus, there are always useful takeaways or considerations learned by attending conferences with ones colleagues.

USETDA 2016’s theme Discovering Connections: Illuminating the World allowed for many interesting presentations and posters. New this year, the conference held a 3-Minute Theses (3MT) competition with four graduate students from Ohio universities. The competition demonstrated how it works, complete with judges and a people’s choice award, as a way to encourage more schools to run them. 3MT has many benefits for the students including concisely explaining their research to the general public in a brief period of time and working on public speaking skills. For the schools, it can generate a more interest and awareness for the graduate school and student research, especially if cash prizes are awarded.

Next year the 7th annual USETDA Conference will be combined with the 20th international Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) Conference in Washington, DC. The joint conference theme is Exploring Global Connections and should be valuable for anyone who works with ETDs as the two associations are coming together for the ETD 2017 Symposium.

It was a joy to host USETDA 2016 in Columbus and show off the city and everything that we do in Ohio for ETDs. Thanks to all of the sponsors, volunteers, and attendees who made it a great conference! I am already excited for next year’s conference in DC.

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