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ETD Preservation and Access Service: California Digital Library


The California Digital Library provides preservation and access services to the UC campus libraries for stewarding electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) authored by UC students. CDL’s ETD service integrates the Merritt preservation solution with the eScholarship access interface, providing long-term curation and preservation as well as enhanced visibility and robust access tools where appropriate.

Because each campus has its own set of policies and procedures for handling ETDs, the CDL ETD service can be customized to best address local needs. Specifically, while all campuses desire preservation for their ETDs, only some require that these culminating projects be made publicly accessible at this point. CDL’s ETD service can accommodate both of these scenarios.

Typical Workflow

The broad steps of the typical workflow are similar across campuses:

  1. Student submits ETD to ProQuest
  2. ProQuest processes ETDs and makes metadata and ETD files available for the campus library to download
  3. Campus library augments metadata (optional)
  4. If metadata has not been augmented by a campus library, ProQuest submits ETDs to Merritt. Otherwise, the campus library submits ETDs (PDF files, metadata records and any associated supplemental files)
  5. eScholarship automatically harvests ETDs from Merritt. If an embargo is active, only the abstract is published. If no embargo is active, the entire ETD is made available for public access.

CDL can also receive MARC records from ProQuest and augment them with the link to the eScholarship copy, along with any other changes to match local campus cataloging practices. Contact for more information.


The CDL ETD service charge is limited to UC3’s cost of storage, which is currently $150 per terabyte per year and is expected to decrease over time. Preliminary estimates show that the cost of preserving an ETD in Merritt is on average less than $0.01 per year.

Submitting ETDs to the CDL

All campuses require preservation for their ETDs, therefore use of the CDL ETD service begins with submission to Merritt. CDL can receive ETDs directly from ProQuest and submit them to Merritt, simplifying the process. We can provide reports about the ETDs and metadata received from ProQuest.

If you’d like to receive and submit ETDs to Merritt, there are several methods for submission, including a simple web form, as well as RESTful APIs and other methods that allow for easy programmatic submission and/or integration into existing content management tools. Please see the Merritt documentation wiki for more information, or contact UC3 at with any questions about how best to set up an account and submit collections to Merritt.

In addition to the mechanisms of submitting content, some import attributes of the material should also be considered:

  • Public Access: As part of establishing your collection in Merritt, you will be asked if the ETDs should be harvested for public display in eScholarship. It is fine to start with only preservation and add in public access at a later date—simply let us know.
  • Embargoes: If your ETDs are generally intended for public access but include some embargoed items, please let us know so that we can confirm the embargo system after the first harvest of your content. Note that eScholarship follows the ProQuest embargo periods as encoded in the ETD metadata.
  • Versions: Revised versions of an ETD or one of its component files should be submitted to Merritt as a new version of an existing item. For those campuses choosing public access, eScholarship will pick up that new version in its daily automatic harvest.

Providing Public Access

Public access to submitted UC ETDs is provided through eScholarship and many campuses are already taking advantage of this service. In addition to direct end-user access, ETDs on eScholarship are indexed by major search engines alongside other eScholarship content and monthly usages statistic are generated for analysis purposes.

ETDs can be browsed to as a discrete collection for all campuses, explored as a series for a given campus, found in eScholarship search results and discovered in Google and Google Scholar searches, where all eScholarship content is indexed.

The eScholarship ETD display uses the ProQuest metadata record (or, in the case of UCSD, the UCSD METS ETD profile) to display metadata elements specific to ETDs along with all of the functionality of other eScholarship publications:

ETD Specific Metadata

  • Acceptance date
  • Degree
  • Advisor
  • Committee members
  • Embargo date—embargoed items have a metadata only display that indicates when the embargo expires.
    • 0=no embargo
    • 1=6 month embargo
    • 2=1 year
    • 3=2 years
    • 4=until date specified. This requires the date be included, eg:<DISS_restriction>
    • <DISS_sales_restriction code=”1″ remove=”06/13/2019″/>
    • </DISS_restriction>
    • This element occurs near the bottom of the XML metadata file. The value of the “remove” attibute represents embargo end date, or restriction on sales/publication. Note that when eScholarship sees the “01/01” value in acceptance date for an embargoed item, it automatically adds a year minus one day to the encoded embargo period.

eScholarship Selected Display Features

  • PDF online viewing/reading
  • PDF download
  • Supplemental file listing and download (files can be of any type)
  • Document level metrics
  • Sharing via social networks and email
  • Citation tools


eScholarship generates monthly data regarding submission activity and end-user requests (views and downloads) for all content published on the site, including ETDs. Administrators wishing to receive an emailed link to these reports (available in HTML and as an Excel spreadsheet) should contact Alternatively, the report for the previous month, which also includes historical data, can be downloaded at anytime directly from eScholarship:


Preservation related questions should be sent to

Access related questions should be sent to