By the end of 2007, the number of universities involved in NDLTD was well over 100. Scores of other universities were considering work with ETDs, and hundreds of universities were aware of the concept. NDLTD hopes that forthwith there will be ETD efforts in every country and then in every state/province, eventually in every leading university, soon serving every language group, and ultimately in every college and university. Since NDLTD aims to help, and there are no costs to join, it is hoped that membership will rise to closely match the number that are interested in ETDs.
It is not clear why any university should not become involved in ETD efforts. Once an ETD program on a campus has evolved to the point that ETD submission is a requirement, the effort saves money for the university as well as the students, while providing many important benefits. And, reaching such a point is not hard, if there is a local team, with effective leadership, that has a clear understanding of ETDs and what is occurring elsewhere in terms of support, cooperation, and collaborative efforts.
This section of the Guide explains why and how universities can establish ETD programs, and helps those involved in an ETD program to address concerns and problems that may be voiced. It appears on the one hand that an ETD program has the healthy effect of helping a university to engage in a rich dialog on a wide variety of issues related to scholarly communication. This is important, since we are in the midst of a revolution in these processes, and both students and players must be aware of the situation if they are to manage effectively (and economically, while working in accord with the core values of scholars). On the other hand, ETD efforts have advanced to the point that proceeding with an ETD program, while not as "sexy" as some of the more vigorously funded digital library efforts, does work well, providing real solutions to real concerns, leading to sustainable and beneficial practices. In short, launching an ETD program is a "no brainer" that can quickly advance almost any university to the happy position of having an effective and economical digital library initiative in place, which also can serve as a model for other efforts.
Next Section: Why ETDs?