University Libraries Publications and Scholarship
United States Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Association
Basic and Automatic: Why Two ETD Templates at Mississippi State University – poster session presented at the United States Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Association first annual conference; Orlando, FL; May 2011
The Standards for Preparing Theses and Dissertations at Mississippi State University is an 81-page document with very specific format requirements for theses and dissertations and applies to every graduate student, no matter the department or discipline. The formatting requirements do not conform to any one citation guide; therefore, graduate students have a difficult time conforming to the Standards required by the University. Consequently, the Office of Thesis and Dissertation Format Review was tasked by the graduate council to design and make available an ETD template that could be used by a wide variety of graduate students. From the novice user to the advanced user, the university’s graduate students possess a wide range of familiarity with Microsoft Word. This presented a challenge to those who were tasked to create a template: anything simple enough to be used by everyone would not cover all of the requirements of the Standards, and anything complete and automatic would be too difficult to be used by authors not fully proficient with MS Word. Our solution was to create and maintain two MS Word templates for ETD authors. The basic template requires knowledge of simple tasks such as copy, paste, and format painter and the automatic template uses styles, content control boxes, document variables, field codes, and automatic table of contents to allow authors to create a document compliant with the Standards quickly. The poster presentation includes step-by-step instructions for creating the templates, best practices for creating and using templates, and important reminders about templates and their users. The presentation will also include reasons why ETD templates were created at Mississippi State University and a timeline for template creations.