Theses and dissertations are known to be the rich and unique source of information, often the only source of research work that does not find its way into various publication channels. Theses and dissertations remain an un-tapped and under-utilized asset, leading to unnecessary duplication and repetition that, in effect, is the anti-theses of research and wastage of huge resources, both human and financial.
The UGC Notification (Minimum Standards & Procedure for Award of M.Phil. / Ph.D Degree, Regulation, 2016) dated 5th May 2016 mandates submission of electronic version of theses and dissertations by the researchers in universities with an aim to facilitate open access to Indian theses and dissertations to the academic community world-wide. Online availability of electronic theses through centrally-maintained digital repositories, not only ensure easy access and archiving of Indian doctoral theses but will also help in raising the standard and quality of research. This would overcome serious problem of duplication of research and poor quality resulting from the “poor visibility” and the “unseen” factor in research output. As per the Regulation, the responsibility of hosting, maintaining and making the digital repository of Indian Electronic Theses and Dissertation (called “Shodhganga“), accessible to all institutions and universities, is assigned to the INFLIBNET Centre.
“Shodhganga” is the name coined to denote digital repository of Indian Electronic Theses and Dissertations set-up by the INFLIBNET Centre. The word “Shodh” originates from Sanskrit and stands for research and discovery. The “Ganga” is the holiest, largest and longest of all rivers in Indian subcontinent. The Ganga is the symbol of India’s age-long culture and civilisation, everchanging, ever-flowing, ever-loved and revered by its people, and has held India’s heart captive and drawn uncounted millions to her banks since the dawn of history. Shodhganga stands for the reservoir of Indian intellectual output stored in a repository hosted and maintained by the INFLIBNET Centre.
The Shodhganga@INFLIBNET is set-up using an open source digital repository software called DSpace developed by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in partnership between Hewlett- Packard (HP). The DSpace uses internationally recognized protocols and interoperability standards. Shodhganga provides a platform for research scholars to deposit their Ph.D. theses and make it available to the entire scholarly community in open access. The repository has the ability to capture, index, store, disseminate and preserve ETDs (Electronic Theses and Dissertations) submitted by the researchers.
DSpace supports “Open Archives Initiative’s Protocol for Metadata Harvesting” (OAI-PMH) and uses a qualified version of the Dublin Core schema for its metadata. The INFLIBNET Centre, promotes setting-up of institutional and ETD repositories in member universities using OAI-PMH complaint software. A number of member universities have already set-up their institutional and ETD repositories using either DSpace or other OAI-PMH compliant Institutional Repository software. It would be possible for universities having sufficient network and computing infrastructure to maintain their own ETD repositories wherein their research scholars could deposit e-versions of their theses and dissertations. Moreover, they can use Shodhganga to host their theses as backup archives. INFLIBNET Centre, besides maintaining the Central ETD Repository (Shodhganga) would also deploy a central server to harvest the metadata from all such ETD repositories distributed in universities with an aim to provided unified access to theses and dissertations through its harvesting server.
Shodhganga replicates academic structure of each University in terms of Departments/ Centres/ Colleges each University has to facilitate ease of navigation. This structure facilitates research scholars from universities to deposit their theses in the respective Department / Centre / College. As shown in the Fig 1, option for simple search and advance search are available on the home page along with browsing facility through universities and departments. The Centre is also developing a semantic web-based interface to facilitate subject-based browsing, navigation, search and retrieval of content available in the repository.