Digital thesis is the common word used for the programs initiated for the collection of research work done by academics, in digital form and making them accessible internationally. The initial idea for this was discussed as far back as in 1987. Many national level programs were in place in the last few years of the twentieth century. Today universities in many countries collect the academic theses submitted by postgraduate students in digital form, store in their websites for the use of the international academia. This year the number of theses collected and digitally made available surpassed one million showing the success of this program. Today any body anywhere can access these theses and enhance their knowledge on the study discipline. Thus, digital thesis is one of the applications of computers and the internet that has far-reaching impact on human knowledge.
In the past, thesis writing was more “writing” than research. Students had to write their degree thesis on paper then cut chop edit and do everything again and again on paper. But with the invention and wide spread use of the computers for word processing, the time that can be spent on using the thinking faculties rather than writing increased greatly. This resulted in the quality and the quantity of research and the number of theses written by postgraduate students. In the past only three copies of most of the research thesis were made and one stayed with the department one in the university and one with the Student.
Only a very few were published. In most of the cases knowledge from the research is lost for ever. But with the use of the internet any person can access any research paper from almost any university as most of the universities in the world are already storing their theses in digital thesis form. Students are required to submit one electronic copy of the thesis for this purpose. “Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations” (NDLTD), the international organization for the standardization of digital theses and dissertations have set standards for representation and archiving. The normally used standards are PDF and SGML formats.
Digital Thesis program has been widely accepted by international academic community. France, Australia, South Africa, Europe, UK and India have very active programs. Most of the Australian Universities are members of Australia’s Australian Digital Theses Program (ADT). India’s Vidyanidhi, Digital Library of Indian Electronic Theses (India) also has got many Indian universities in its membership.
Advantages of the Digital Thesis
• Knowledge gained in different universities across the globe is made available to everybody, preventing losing it forever and duplication of research on the same topic over and over again.
• Preventing academic dishonesty eliminating plagiarism. The large collection of digital thesis, now over one million, is the database for plagiarism checking software.
• With the knowledge made available to everybody accelerates the human quest for more knowledge.
Therefore it is obvious that Digital Thesis is a great leap in the advance of human knowledge
Students of modern day are truly blessed with this sort of knowledge accessibility. Therefore, they should make full use of their online library memberships provided by universities to access these theses and write comprehensive and truly scholastic literature reviews for their thesis writing work.
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