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FIU Digital Project Guidelines and Help Materials

The internal standard operating procedures for FIU Libraries' digital collections

ETD Processing Guides


  1. Log into Digital Commons, go to Manage Theses/Dissertations, be sure to change “assigned to” to your name and choose a title to start processing.
  2. Download/Save the latest PDF with the FI number that corresponds to the person's last name. 
    1. Save it to the original folder with the corresponding FI# and name of student
  3. Open Adobe Acrobat pro, choose Create and then the file from the original folder.
    1. Once created, click on Properties and add Title, Creator, and choose copyrighted from additional metadata.
    2. Do a Save as and save in the published folder
    3. Go to Preflight, choose Convert to PDFA/1-b:2005 (RGB)
    4. Save in the preserved folder
  4. Return to Digital Commons and click on Revise Thesis/Dissertation and check the following fields:
    1. Make sure the title is not in all caps
    2. Add the identifier
    3. Check the rights field and if nothing has been chosen, add "copyrighted from the dropdown
    4. Check the notes field and delete random notes
    5. Upload the published version of the file and click submit.
    6. Choose Post from the left menu, then update.
  5. Be sure to update the spreadsheet with identifiers and dates of actions completed.




  1. Review the “How to Submit your ETD” handout to assure that Formatting Instructions are up to date and reflects the current formats accepted by the DCC at the time 
  2. After D-5 (Preliminary Approval of Dissertation and Request for Oral Defense) and D-7 (Final Approval of Dissertation) deadline has passed, request inventory of expected submissions from the University Graduate School (UGS)
  3. Consider this inventory a conservative estimate: ultimately, some of the titles on the list may not be completed that same semester.
  4. Once the students’ ETDs and paperwork are approved by UGS, the UGS will instruct them to create their accounts in Digital Commons and to upload their ETDs in a Word format.
  5. A given submission package, may include sound files. The common practice is to receive them in digital format as wave or mp3 files. The sound file may be stored on an original CD in a labeled sleeve that should be copied and the original returned to UGS.



  1. For each student submission in Digital Commons (DC), lock the needed amount of FI numbers in dPanther with the prefix FIDC. 
  2. Locking identifiers in dPanther:
    1. Log into the administrative version of dPanther at
  1. Go to Production server, find ETD_current folder, and use or create the folder with the current calendar year. Create or use the appropriate semester subfolder ex: Spring_2014.

     3.  Create a folder for each thesis following DCC naming convention FIYYMMDD## and add _Lastname

     4.  Use the template folder with the following categories:





  1. Create an Excel spreadsheet with the semester and year as the title
    1. Each year should be one Excel book with 3 tabs for spring, summer, and fall ETD’s.
    2. Create the spreadsheet with the following categories:
      1. (A) Last name
      2. (B) First name
      3. (C) FI #
      4. (D) DC# ingest
      5. (E) DC# published
      6. (F) Notes
      7. (G) Pdf/pdfa
      8. (H) Published
      9. (I)  Full text pdf/a
      10. (J) Full text pub'd
      11. (K) XML
      12. (L) FDA

Example spreadsheet


  1. The DC# ingest number can be found on any individual student’s Digital Commons page.  This number is important when we receive the quarterly report from DC as this is the number they continue to identify it by.
  2. To find the published DC#, wait at least 20 minutes then search for the students’ ETD.  The page on which it is published will have the #.
  3. Enter dates as each task is finished
  4. The Full text pdf/a and pub’d columns are for MFA students where both the abstract and the full text must be processed.



  1. Login to Digital Commons
    2. Choose Manage Theses/dissertations
  1. On the new page, SHOW THESE THESES/DISSERTATIONS, change the assigned to: option from “All administrators” to your own name.
    1. Open the record to process by clicking on the title of the document and select the View Revisions link from the left menu.
  1. Pick the coordinator’s most updated version of the document (it should have a checkmark next to it).
    1. The recommended procedure is to open it in its native environment, meaning if the document was created in Word 2007, 2010 or 2013, it will be opened in the same version.          
  1. Download the document to the Original folder and save with the FI# that has been created in the ETD_current folder.
    1.  Scan the document for any problems such as:
      1. In appropriate varying font sizes
      2. Formatting issues
      3. Look at graphs and charts carefully (the majority of the problems will be in how these display)
  1. Making Edits
    1. Only make simple edits that will not impact pagination.  If an edit will alter the page numbers in the table of contents, return it to the Graduate school coordinator. 
    2. Since we cannot edit a PDF, simply return one with problems to the graduate school coordinator.  
  1. Adobe Acrobat PDF Creation
    1. Open Adobe Acrobat Pro and choose Create from the top menu
    2. Find the document in the Original folder with the FI# and name of the student (This will be in the ETD_current folder under the correct semester and year).
    3. Depending on which version of Adobe you are using, you may be asked to save immediately, if so, save in the Published folder.
  1. Adding Metadata to the PDF
    1. Choose File from the top menu, then Properties
      1. Under Description, add the title (it’s easiest to copy this from the Word document to avoid typographical errors) and author and then click Additional Metadata
        1. Under Copyright Status, choose Copyrighted and click OK and then OK again in the document properties box.
    2. Choose Save As and save with the FI# in the Published folder pertaining to the student’s FI#
  1. Converting to PDFA/1-b:2005 (RGB)
    1. Choose Advanced  from the top menu
      1. Choose Preflight and then click on Convert to PDFA/1-b:2005 (RGB) and then choose Analyze and fix at the bottom of the window.
      2. Choose Save as again and save in the Preserved folder that pertains to the student’s FI#.
      3. Once it is converted to a PDF/A, choose Create a Report and save it in the folder marked Original.
      4. Be sure you see the highlighted tab running across the top that says You are viewing this document in PDF/A version.  This is the only way to know you are now viewing a PDF/A.


  1. Troubleshooting PDF/A problems
    1. If a document was originally uploaded as a PDF, creating a PDF/A will most likely not be possible.  Therefore, a simple PDF will be saved in the preserved folder.
    2. If the PDF/A conversion fails, look at the error report. The most common errors are when text that has turned into small squares, simply delete these from the Word document and start the processing again.
    3. Page numbers in the report refer to the page numbers in the PDF, not the Word document so be sure to find which PDF page coincides with the Word document page number.
    4. Other problems with varying fonts may be fixable, but sometimes it is not possible, in these cases, only the PDF will go into the preserve folder to be sent to the FDA.
    5. Often, highlighting paragraphs at a time on a page number associated with an error will reveal a font inconsistency that can be fixed and then re-processing must be done.


  1. *Processing Creative Writing/MFA Theses
    1. Process the sample AND the full text as listed above.  However, ONLY the Full Text will go into the Preserve folder.



  1.  Start from the Manage Theses/Dissertations page of Digital Commons
    1. Find the student whose thesis/dissertation you have been processing
    2. From the left-hand menu,click on Revise Thesis/dissertation
      1. Check the title (make sure it is not in all caps)
      2. Check any needed embargo periods
      3. Check the abstract for any formatting issues
      4. Check the comments field to be sure students did not leave personal messages in this field.
    3. Go to Upload File and click on Choose File
      1. Search for the file in the relevant FI# folder labelled published  and upload it
      2. Click Submit at the bottom
        1. Once you see the screen saying “You have successfully revised…”, click on Post from left menu.
        2. The location should automatically come up as etd, click continue
        3. Once you see the screen that says “in order to make this visible….”, click update.
    4. After giving DC time to update, be sure to enter the 4 digit DC number and save it in the spreadsheet.


  1. *Publishing a Creative Writing/MFA Thesis
    1. Follow all the above listed steps being sure to publish the Full Text first and then the abstract.  Only the second item uploaded (the abstract) will be the viewable one.


  1. Preservation
    1. Retrieve the quarterly archive for FIU Digital Commons received from Bepress.
  2. You should be notified by the head of the department when the package is ready.
  3. Be aware that the link expires about a week after receiving the notification
  4. The archive is a very large file that takes long time to download and it may fail while loading due to its size.
  5. Save the downloaded file in the archive server in the IR_archive / Digital_Commons_Archive subfolder and name it with the current date in the format YY_MM_DD
  6. In the Digital Commons Archive we store the last two archive packages received from Bepress. Once the new package is saved here, delete the oldest of the current three.
  7. Open the downloaded package and go to the etd folder and copy the metadata.xml file from every folder in the semester you are working in to the Preservation_FDA subfolder of the equivalent folder in the ETDs folder in the Production drive
  8. Notice that inside the Bepress package all the etd subfolders are named with the Digital Commons identification number.
  9. Use your semester spreadsheet to match the DC identification numbers with the FI#s in your semester folder in the Production drive.
  10. Go to the Archive folder and follow the path ETD/ ETD Scripts and run the “writeFDAXml.vbs” script for every xml file added
  11. Before running the script make sure you have X program installed on your computer
  12. For some of the possible errors while running the script see the “Troubleshooting” section
  13. Open the newly created Dublin Core files in METs Editor
  14. Submit the packages to the Florida Digital Archive following one of below two options:
    1. Single upload (compressing each file on .zip format) through the web-based form This site is IP restricted available only at the Digital Collections librarians station
    2. Batch upload (no compression needed) via FTP with same transition restrictions than above



Some theses include supplementary materials, like music theses. In these cases theses are packages that besides the text also may contain audio, recital program, music scores, etc.  Some scientific research theses and dissertations also include supplemental materials. Supplemental materials are also uploaded to Digital Commons by the authors.

  1. Go to Supplemental Content and verify description and sort.
  2. If supplemental materials where provided separately, like a CD, you can proceed with the upload.
  3. Go back to Digital Commons and click Revise Submission. Make sure all information matches with the information provided in the actual thesis (author’s name, title, committee, discipline etc.)
  4. Title format: Title case (using capital letters at the start of the principal words)
  5. Default Availability: Unrestricted
  6. Double check embargo period if applicable
  7. Abstract should be exactly the same as in the original document
  8. Publish the document in Digital Commons and update the site.