Nikki Silva (Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative) authored a blog post reflecting on the changing state of the dissertation across disciplines. Silva lists examples of hybrid and digital dissertation projects:
Knowing that these projects are out there, may lead other PhD Students to start the conversation with their committee and may lead to more digital dissertation projects. Even with these examples of successful digital dissertation projects, I am unsure whether a digital component will fit into my dissertation project, but I think I will start the conversation with my committee chair about what I could do to make some part of my dissertation digital.
For librarians who work with ETDs, the increase of digital dissertations is particularly relevant. As Silva points out, besides issues with departmental requirements, questions surrounding standardization also need to be addressed:
Standardization is another problem facing digital dissertations – should universities create their own model for incorporating digital components into dissertations, or should PhD Students and their committees be in charge of dictating the terms of the project? Other concerns include accessibility and durability of the dissertations – where will they live, how will people access them? And then a major issue, especially in Academia, are copyright issues related to publishing an open-digital dissertation.