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Digital Dissertation – face of the future

A digital dissertation is there for use and not for misuse – awareness is the key

As the name suggests, digital dissertation refers to the electronic form of any thesis, dissertation or any other such piece of writing. This idea of storing theses and dissertations is one that is fast catching up in many parts of the world. There are people who offer students and researchers the chance to have their work stored electronically for further use and distribution.


One of the prime concerns of having a dissertation stored digitally is the security angle. All of us are well aware of the time, effort and money that have gone into the process of dissertation writing. It is the final product after years of hard work and hence is precious to the person who has taken the pains to prepare it. In such a situation, any threat to the security of this work needs to be taken very seriously. There are so many incidences of electronic theft that wonders whether a dissertation can really be safely stored on the net for further use.

Open source as a solution:

Since most of the dissertations that are electronically stored are available only for a price, there is the increasing tendency to access the same without paying the necessary amount. This kind of theft could be mitigated by considering the open source option. There are online repositories such as Scholarius and digital libraries like the NDLTD – Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations that could provide solutions in this area. When dissertations and theses are uploaded on to the net, students, teachers and researchers can access the same by becoming members of these organizations.

Types of dissertations:

Since dissemination and use of available information is the purpose of all digital libraries and repositories, it is important to understand the value of a digital dissertation. Depending on the scope of these libraries, various categories of work can be stored for future use. For instance, there are online repositories that can offer you the option of uploading a thesis on subjects as varied as psychology and botany. It is up to the researcher to sign up as a member and become part of a worldwide knowledge base.

Problems of plagiarism:

Earlier on we spoke about the security of theses or dissertations that are stored in a digital format. Plagiarism is the main threat. Students and teachers need to be aware of the fact that theft and mismanagement of resources could be minimized to a great extent if there is a thorough understanding of the principles of open source information.

Another way of making a thesis tamper proof is to educate students and teachers on the possible ways in which plagiarism can actually be checked. Quite a few software that are available today, can immediately identify the source of any thesis or dissertation. Any digital dissertation can be run through this software and plagiarism attempts will be thrown up in the report almost immediately. If more people are made aware of this, there would be less incidences of copying, since most researchers, students and teachers are aware of the consequences of the same.

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