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Electronic Theses Workflow

Three times a year (February, May, September), the Graduate Records Office receives theses submitted electronically for a Master’s degree. Once these works are reviewed and approved, the Grad Office publishes each to the web in ScholarWorks via the BePress Digital Commons System. The Office then emails to the library's Thesis Cataloger an Excel spreadsheet containing information for each author whose work has been received. It is the Thesis Cataloger’s responsibility to implement and keep track of each step required to publicize these works, including and not limited to creating catalog records and uploading these records into OCLC’s database and the library’s own OPAC. Paper copies are NOT ordered for Master’s theses.


1) The Thesis Cataloger creates and prints out an Excel worksheet containing the graduate program, degree, and date of birth for each author as provided by the GRO. This worksheet is used to track the progress of each thesis as it is cataloged, uploaded to OCLC, exported to ALEPH, and linked to appropriate ScholarWorks communities online as well as track any embargos.

2) OCLC’s authority file, author files and the UMass library's OPAC are searched for any variant forms of name. If there is a previously established form of name in OCLC or in the OPAC, it may take precedence over any form of name submitted by the Graduate Office. If necessary, authority records are created or updated in OCLC, particularly in the case of married vs. unmarried surnames.

3) Once the electronic theses are loaded into Scholarworks and their entire contents can be accessed online, cataloging records are created in Connexion for each thesis using a previously created Constant Data template for electronic resource bibliographical records. Printouts are made of each individual title page, which are then separated into manila folders and distributed to the Cat & Proc professional catalogers for assignment of subject headings. The catalogers directly add these headings to the Connexion cataloging files; this is the only work they do associated with the theses. The Thesis Cataloger takes care everything else.

NOTE: The program name in the cataloging record must be that which is provided by the Grad Office on the spreadsheet. Do not use any variant form or department listed on the title page. A copy of the Degree Programs and their codes can be found in Graduate Degree Program Codes.

4) Once the subject headings are assigned the Thesis Cataloger proofs, validates and uploads each record to OCLC. The records are then exported to ALEPH, where they are given holding records for their electronic resource on Scholarworks.

5) To create an electronic resource item record for each thesis's bibliographic record in ALEPH:

  • Click on New. Set the following categories:
  • Sublibrary: UMDUB
  • Collection: UWWW
  • Material type: EBOOK
  • Item Status: 04
  • Statistics: 09
  • Update

Create a new Holdings Record and add the following field:

856 40 |u<document number> |z Open Access: Connect to this title

12) The dissertations are assigned to their appropriate dc_series (academic program) group in Scholarworks by the Thesis Cataloger. See related instructions at ScholarWorks Dissertation Project Workflow.

Make sure the Excel spreadsheet have had their categories checked off where appropriate for each author.

Special Situations

  • Title/Author Discrepancies

It is not unusual for an author’s name in a Scholarworks abstract to vary from the form of name on the title page of a work. The rule of thumb is to catalog the piece with the name which is on the title page along with the date of birth, unless there is a form of name already established in OCLC’s authority file in which case this established form takes precedence. There is no need to make or edit an authority record to reflect the form of name found in Scholarworks, unless searching by the proper form of name does not bring up the document there.

The abstract title in Scholarworks should match the title on the thesis. If there are any discrepancies, they should be noted with an added title note (Field 246) in the bibliographic record.

Titles which contain mathematical symbols in Scholarworks but which are spelled out on the title page of the piece, and vice versa, should have added titles inserted in the bibliographic record as needed.

  • Dealing With Attached Files

On occasion, an electronically submitted thesis will be accompanied by attached files, most notably .avi (movie) files. These are to be noted in the 300 and the 500 fields of the cataloging bibliographic record.

  • Embargos

Each thesis author has the option of embargoing, or limiting public access to, their works. The Bepress Digital Commons system, which powers the ScholarWorks Digital Repository, will automatically handle any embargoes and access restrictions which an author might decide to place on their work. If a thesis has an embargo placed on it, a note will appear on the title's citation page on ScholarWorks indicating when it will be available for full text download. Once the embargo period has expired, the full text will automatically become available for downloading. Masters theses may also be Open Access or limited to campus-only access depending on which option the student selected at the time of submission.

  • Errors in ScholarWorks

If there are typos in an author's name or in a title which are severe enough to impede a search for the work, these typos can and should be corrected. Since all Masters thesis metadata and their PDFs live in the ScholarWorks system, the UMass library's Metadata librarian can make the corrections where needed.

Primary contact: Kay Dion

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