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ETDs - Electronic Theses & Dissertations: FAQ

An ETD submission guide for ScholarWorks @ Georgia State University


I uploaded my thesis / dissertation, but I don't see it online. Why don't I see it?

When you submit your ETD to ScholarWorks, it doesn't go straight to the web, but must first be approved by administrator. Each college has its own administrator(s) who check to see that all guidelines have been met and then approve ETDs for publication to the web. If you have uploaded your ETD, but don't yet see it online, most likely it is awaiting an administrator to approve it. You can contact your administrator to check on your ETD's status, or you can log into ScholarWorks and click "My Account." It will show your ETD and its status.

I don't want my thesis / dissertation to be available to everyone, how do I restrict access?

There are two types of restrictions to access: closed items and embargoed items.

  • A closed thesis / dissertation makes the work accessible only to those individuals who can authenticate with a GSU campus id & password or those individuals physically on GSU's campus.
  • Embargo makes the work inaccessible to anyone for a specified amount of time, usually a year, and then the item is accessible to everyone, unless the author contacts (in advance of the expiration of the embargo) the college to extend the embargo time, if applicable.

Any item can have one or both types of restriction, though specific colleges may have rules about which students can choose. All restrictions to access need to be approved through the college granting the degree prior to deposit in ScholarWorks. Check your college's thesis & dissertation guidelines or contact your ETD coordinator / administrator for guidelines regarding restrictions to access for your ETD.

Tip: If you are logged into your ScholarWorks account, you will be able to access your ETD, even if it is embargoed. Logout out of your account first if you want to make sure it is not generally accessible.

I didn't know that my thesis / dissertation was going to be available to everyone, how can I get it removed from Scholarworks?

When you submit your ETD to ScholarWorks, you grant the university "the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible" your thesis / dissertation." You must click to accept the terms and are encouraged to print this document out for your records. You still retain your copyright and authors rights; you only give Georgia State University the right to distribute and preserve it.

To learn more about author's rights, see the author's rights section of the copyright guide. Colleges, Schools, and Departments have procedures in place for requesting restrictions to access before you submit your thesis to ScholarWorks. If you don't exercise that option prior to submission and grant GSU the right to distribute your work, access to your thesis / dissertation won't be removed except in rare and extenuating circumstances and with the approval of your college. Check with your college coordinator to see what the college policies are regarding this matter.



Technical & Formatting

I found an error in my thesis / dissertation, how do I revise it?

ScholarWorks exists in part to preserve the scholarly record of Georgia State University. This means that we want to archive the version of your thesis or dissertation that was approved by your committee. That is the version you should submit to ScholarWorks. If for some reason you submit the wrong version, please contact your college's coordinator. If there is an error in the metadata (the information you put into the system about you and your thesis like title, graduation date, etc.) contact your college's coordinator or ScholarWorks. Other revisions require the permission of the college.

How do I create a ScholarWorks cover sheet?

The system creates the cover sheet automatically when you submit your file. 

How do I create a PDF file?

Adobe Acrobat Professional can be used to create PDF files, and is the best way to ensure linked Table of Contents in your dissertation are maintained.  Acrobat Professional is available on the computers in the University Library and campus computer labs.

Microsoft Word 2007 and later as well as other word processing programs support saving a document as a PDF. There are also 3rd party freeware options such as PDF995.

How do I edit a PDF?

PDF files can only be edited with special programs. Adobe Acrobat Professional can be used or you can search the web for freeware. You could simply edit the word processing file and re-save it as a PDF. Once your PDF has been submitted to ScholarWorks there is no way to edit the PDF file, but you can upload a new version which will replace the old one by logging into your account. This option is only available until your administrator has locked your document or it has been published to the web. 

I'm using a linked Table of Contents.  What's the best way to ensure the TOC links aren't corrupted during the upload process?

If you're using a linked TOC, be sure to save your thesis or dissertation as a pdf file using Adobe Acrobat and check the links before uploading to ScholarWorks. The automatic file conversion process used by ScholarWorks when a Word file is submitted has been known to cause problems with linked TOCs.

How do I insert my scanned signature page into my ETD?

It is best practice not to include signed signature pages in ScholarWorks in order to protect the security and privacy of our faculty.

 Where do I get help with scanning / PDFs?

The Technology Support Desk on the 2nd floor of Library North provides basic assistance with scanning/PDFs. This desk can be reached by phone at 404-413-2699. Other computer labs may also have assistance available. The IS&T Help Center may also be of assistance: 404-413-HELP (4357),

How do I get the page numbers for the table of contents and chapters formatted correctly?

Page numbers in Word are notoriously tricky. Searching the web for your specific problem can be helpful. Microsoft offers two sites that others have found helpful: "Ins and outs of page numbering in Word" and "Number pages differently in different sections."

Where do I get help with Word?

The Technology Support Desk provides basic assistance with Word and other Microsoft Office programs. This desk is located on the 2nd floor of Library North and can be reached by phone at 404-413-2699. Other computer labs  may also have assistance available. The IS&T Help Center may also be of assistance: 404-413-HELP (4357),


I want to use a part of, or all of, a copyrighted work in my thesis / dissertation, can I do that?

Before submitting a paper to the repository, please be sure that all necessary copyright permissions for any other author’s content have been cleared by obtaining permission from the copyright owner or a collective rights organization. This is especially important for licensed test instruments and for images that you did not create.

Small sections of a work may be permissible under fair use. Read the information on the Using Copyrighted Materials and Fair Use tabs on the Copyright Guide to determine what you may use and how you may use it. You may also wish to contact ScholarWorks or GSU Legal Affairs

If your thesis or dissertation contains articles that you already published, make sure that you retained the right to include them in your dissertation. Many publishers grant this right automatically, but it is advisable to read the publication agreement for an article before your sign it to make sure you have the rights you need.  If you have questions about rights to your previously published articles, can help.

How do I get copyright of my thesis of dissertation?

From the U.S. Copyright Office: "Copyright protection subsists from the time the work is created in fixed form.  The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the property of the author who created the work."

In other words, you do not to do anything to own copyright in your thesis or dissertation. 

There are still reasons to register your copyright. If you would like to register your work with the U.S. Copyright office, you can do so online, here.