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Electronic Theses Workflow

Three times a year (for February, May, September), the Office of Degree Requirements of the Graduate School of UMass receives theses submitted electronically for a Master’s degree. Once these works are reviewed and approved, the Graduate 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, date of birth and access category for each author as provided by the Graduate Office. 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 library's professional catalogers for assignment of subject headings. The catalogers directly add these headings to the Connexion cataloging files; this is the only work they need to do associated with the theses.

NOTE: The program name in the cataloging record must be that which is provided by the Graduate 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) Temporary bibliographic records for each electronic thesis accessible via Scholarworks are created in ALEPH, using an established template. Each bib record contains the fields for author, title, statement of responsibility, pagination, mode of access, the 502 and 690 fields, and a 910 field stating “TEMP” and the Thesis Cataloger's initials plus the date. The bib records then have item and holding records created for their corresponding Scholarworks URL. These temp records allow the library to have an established access point in the OPAC while awaiting a fully cataloged bibliographic record. If the record has an embargo on it, a note is added to the Holdings record (see below). Bib records without any subject headings (save for some art, theater and MFA English works) are considered incomplete and are not to be uploaded to OCLC.

5) Once the subject headings are assigned the Thesis Cataloger proofs and validates each record, double-checking for the appropriate open/restricted access category of each piece. If a thesis is Open Access, the bib record receives a 500 field stating “Open access” and the 856 field includes a subfield |z saying “Connect to this title online”. If a thesis is Campus Access, the bib record receives a 506 (indicators 1 blank) field saying “Access restricted to the UMass community” and the 856 field is retained but does not include a subfield |z. Note that the 856 fields require a change once the bib records are exported to ALEPH; see below.

6) Each record is then imported to OCLC, and once an OCLC number is assigned the records are then exported to ALEPH, overlaying any temporary bib record. The 856 field is then removed from the bib record in ALEPH.

7) 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 for Open Access works:

856 40 |u<document number> |z Connect to this title (Open access)

  • For theses which are campus-only access, add the following field:

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

  • For theses which have an embargo, add the following field to the Holdings record:

956__ z Embargoed until <Date given in Scholarworks>

8) The theses are assigned to their appropriate ir_series (academic program) collection in Scholarworks by the Thesis Cataloger. See related instructions at Adding Dissertations and Theses to ScholarWorks Collections.

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. Any temp record in Aleph which has a 952 embargo note in the holdings record should have that field removed once the embargo is lifted.

  • 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.

  • Further Access Information

Masters theses are generally online-only accessible via Open Access, but some may be limited to campus-only access depending on which option the student selected at the time of submission. For more information, see Dissertations and Theses Overview in this wiki.

Primary contact: Kay Dion

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