Managing the data in each field

Managing Data on computer survers

Useful information is provided here about the different elements of thesis metadata used by EThOS.

The full UKETD_DC application profile provides full details of the metadata structure we would like institutions to adopt for your theses.

Abstract (UKETD_DC element <dcterms:abstract>)

Abstracts are added to EThOS wherever possible. Institutions are encouraged to include abstracts in their harvestable metadata to increase the quality of indexing by search engines and improve the discoverability of your theses.

Awarding body (UKETD_DC element <uketdterms:institution>)

The name of the institution or body that awarded the thesis, in the format that was correct at the point of award, e.g.:

  • EThOS ID 532624 University of Wales, Swansea (now Swansea University)

Where the thesis was awarded by a body other than the institution where the degree was undertaken, the awarding body is given, e.g:

  • EThOS ID 232907 Council for National Academic Awards (study institution was North Staffordshire Polytechnic, now Staffordshire University)

Current Institution

This is a metadata entry created by EThOS to record the institution responsible for the full-text thesis today. This means:

  • The institution that holds the paper thesis, to be contacted when the thesis is ordered for digitisation
  • The institution that holds the thesis in its repository

In the vast majority of cases the awarding body and current institution are the same. Examples where they differ are:

  • The institution awarded the thesis and has changed its name since the award, e.g. EThOS ID 532624 (University of Wales, Swansea, now Swansea University)
  • The institution did not award the thesis but is now considered the contact institution, e.g. EThOS ID 232907 (Awarded by Council for National Academic Awards; current institution is Staffordshire University)
  • The institution offers research degree courses but the thesis is awarded by a different institution, e.g. EThOS ID 533980 (Undertaken at Chester University, PhD awarded by University of Liverpool)

Occasionally we harvest a thesis from an institution that was awarded by an entirely different institution, for example where academic staff deposit a copy of their thesis in their employing institution’s repository. The ‘current institution’ in this case is not the harvested institution, but the original awarding institution under its current name.

Date of award (UKETD_DC element <dcterms:issued>)

The original EThOS data was based on catalogue records that were created from the title page of the physical theses, so the date recorded was the date as given on the title page. Now your repositories might record a submission date, award date, digitisation date and/or a publication date and everyone may use different data and fields to record the information. EThOS currently records just one date: the date the thesis was awarded.

DOI identifiers

Apart from the EThOS ID, there is no widely used unique identifier system for theses such as the ISBN for books. Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) help enormously with the management, citation and discovery of research content, and UK theses would benefit from the widespread uptake of thesis DOIs.

Some institutions now add DOI identifiers to their theses – see for example EThOS ID 239546 and EThOS ID 684715 - and all institutions are encouraged to do the same. Contact the EThOS Metadata Manager or the DataCite DOI registration organisation if you would like more information. 

Embargo (UKETD_DC elements <uketdterms:embargodate> and <uketdterms:embargotype>)

Records for embargoed theses are displayed in EThOS together where available with a clear indication of the embargo. To ensure harvested data includes embargo information, please take note of these tips for setting up your repository:

  • Check with your technical support that the embargo date is mapped correctly to ensure it’s available for EThOS to harvest
  • Unlike some other fields, embargo date is not automatically output and therefore needs to be specifically mapped to the date format being exported
  • The <uketdterms:embargodate> tag is considered mandatory where applicable
  • The embargo date should be given in ISO 8601 format, i.e. YYYY-MM-DD


As each new record is created in EThOS, a 6-digit EThOS ID is assigned and becomes a unique identifier for that thesis.

Institutions are encouraged to add the EThOS ID to their repository records wherever possible so that both EThOS and institutions can use it as a match key when re-harvesting, sharing, matching and updating the metadata for that record.

ORCID identifier (UKETD_DC element <uketdterms:authoridentifier xsi:type=“uketdterms:ORCID”>)

Researchers increasingly need to register for a personal researcher identifier in the form of an ORCID. If your research students have an ORCID by the time they deposit their thesis, please record it in the thesis metadata and we will add it to EThOS and link to their ORCID profile. Thesis authors with an ORCID include EThOS ID 684970 and EThOS ID 487266.

EThOS is able to display and link ORCID identifiers for thesis authors but not yet for thesis supervisors. Supervisors are trickier as there can be multiple supervisors but only ever one thesis author. We are keen to support the use of ORCIDs for supervisors as it would encourage analysis of links between works supervised by the same academic and discovery of related theses.

Qualification name and level (UKETD_DC elements <uketdterms:qualificationname> and <uketdterms:qualificationlevel>)

EThOS records doctoral level theses only. A list of doctoral and masters thesis names is available here.  We are often asked about the MPhil. The QAA defines the MPhil as a Masters-level qualification: “It is an award based on extended Masters study and is likely to involve a substantial element of research or equivalent enquiry. The MPhil may be a standalone qualification, or may be awarded to a student who has met or exceeded the demands expressed in the Masters descriptor, but failed to meet the outcomes expressed for doctoral qualifications”. EThOS therefore does not record MPhils as standard.

As the Master of Research (MRes) can also be awarded under similar circumstances as described above for the MPhil, EThOS has taken the decision not to record these qualifications as standard.

The PhD by Publication (or ‘by published works’) is normally awarded on the basis of a series of peer-reviewed academic papers, books or other materials that have been published or accepted for publication, usually accompanied by a substantial commentary linking the published works and describing their context and significance. EThOS hold records for these PhDs where possible, for example EThOS ID 523769.

A good example of institutional guidance for the PhD by Publication is provided by the University of Sheffield.

Sponsor body (UKETD_DC element <uketdterms:sponsor>)

The name of the funding body that sponsored the research, where known. Although few EThOS records currently provide this information, institutions increasingly require students completing their doctoral research to include sponsor/funding body information when submitting their thesis into an open access repository.

Institutions are asked to record the sponsor or funder wherever possible and expose it for harvesting. We are keen to support UK Research and Innovation and other funders by providing this information whenever it is available.

Subject information

A number of different subject classification schemes are used by institutions and thesis indexes, although many theses are not classified by subject at all.

Around 90% of EThOS records have Dewey subject classification, and Dewey is added to all new records. We use Dewey to provide subject-specific sub-sets of data to subject-based indexes which increases the visibility of the theses to focused audiences. It is not normally feasible for institutions to add Dewey to their theses, but EThOS certainly makes use of this data where it is available.

Some institutions add LCSH headings to their thesis records, and others use JACS headings. EThOS harvests and retains this LCSH and JACS data but it is not currently indexed or displayed.

Availability of full text (UKETD_DC elements <dcterms:isReferencedBy> and <dc:identifierxsi:type=“dcterms:URI>)

This field describes how the user can access the full text of the thesis. Possible routes are:

  • Immediate download from EThOS
  • Follow a link to a copy held in an institutional repository
  • Order a copy for digitisation.

If the thesis is not available via EThOS, the data will indicate this and the user is asked to contact the institution directly.


EThOS as a data provider

EThOS metadata is available for re-use by participating institutions and resource discovery services

Managing theses

Find out how EThOS collects theses records and full texts

About EThOS

EThOS gives you direct access to the best of the UK’s doctoral research