Thesis Dissertation Service

As part of Otterbein University’s support for open-access systems like the Digital Commons @ Otterbein and the OhioLINK Electronic Thesis and Dissertations (ETD) Center, the Courtright Memorial Library works with various programs on campus to provide support for making student scholarly work available online. Each program, including Honors, Distinction, Graduate Schools, and others, has a set of guidelines that explain which system, or both, is required for each program’s student as well as other important information. Please refer to your program’s guidelines. If you have completed your defense and have had your project approved by your program, please follow the links below to submit your project online.

On This Page

What are Digital Commons @ Otterbein and the OhioLINK ETD Center?

The Digital Commons @ Otterbein and OhioLINK ETD are free, online, databases containing electronic versions of master’s theses, dissertations, and undergraduate honors theses (full text and abstracts). The content is uploaded to the ETD as a PDF that reproduces the format of the printed document. If a thesis contains non-print elements, they can be incorporated into the PDF or stored along with it. The Digital Commons @ Otterbien and OhioLINK ETD program both provide open access to a student’s thesis or dissertation, and this thesis or dissertation will be indexed by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and other Internet search engines.

Formatting Guidelines

I. Program-Specific Formatting Guidelines

The student is responsible for ensuring that his/her project is approved by the supervising faculty member(s) or by the department/program, as appropriate. The title page must include the appropriate signatures and must be submitted to the library along with the completed Upload Authorization Form, bearing the signatures of both the student and their advisor. All forms must be submitted and all projects must be uploaded no later than two weeks before the end of the semester. Please see your professor or syllabus for detailed program instructions.

In accordance with Otterbein’s efforts to make educational content available to everyone, we ask that you do your best to make your paper accessible. Accessible documents mean that they will be usable by screen readers and other assistive technologies and will widen the scope of who can access your paper. We hope that we are able to introduce you to creating more accessible professional writing as you move forward in your career.

II. Creating Accessible PDF Copy

  • Each thesis or paper needs to be in the form of a single PDF file before it can be submitted to OhioLINK ETD Center.
  • Word
    • Microsoft Word can be used to create and check accessible documents. Otterbein provides Office 365 for Students if you need to download a newer version of it. You can also check your paper for accessibility in word.  Please do your best to address any errors or warnings that come up.
    • Using Heading Styles – Heading styles make a big difference in helping your document meet accessibility standards. Headings organize a document so that people can find the content they need or understand how a document is laid out.
    • Saving the PDF with Bookmarks – Heading styles are retained when converting to a PDF and create bookmarks, which can be used by all to navigate the document in a clean and concise manner. Having a descriptive file name can give information about what the document is about.
    • Adding Alt Text to Images – Adding alt text to images and figures helps screen readers relay what the objects are in a document.
    • Embed Fonts -When fonts are embedded, readers of your work will be able to see your document as you intended, with the same fonts that you used.
    • Document Properties – Editing document properties creates additional data about the details of a file. This helps with the organization and identification of files based on their properties. It is also necessary to set the document properties to ensure that a document is accessible. Setting properties such as Author, Title, and Language help identify a document.
  • Make Your PowerPoint Presentations Accessible
  • How to create PDF files
    • Converting to accessible PDF
      • In Word, click File, then Save As.
      • Choose where you want the file to be saved.
      • Select PDF as the Save As type, then select Options.
      • Check the box for Document structure tags for accessibility.
      • Click OK.
    • Check accessibility of PDFs
  • File Names – Consideration should be given to the file name of the PDF version of your paper or project. An appropriate naming scheme for your PDF file should include your last name, or a combination of last name, first name and middle initial, date/year, and should not contain any spaces, special characters : ~ ! @ # $ % ^ & * ( ) ` ; < > ? , [ ] { } ‘ “. Use capitals and underscores instead of periods or spaces or slashes. Example file names include smithja_final_etd.pdf, smithja_final_etd2021.pdf.


For all programs, students and their faculty advisors will have the option of selecting an embargo period to accompany the full publication of the project in question. Under an embargo situation, all abstracts remain fully searchable, but download and access to the main document is restricted automatically until the time of the embargo has passed. The specific time periods an embargo may be selected for may change depending upon your program. In each case, however, we require the signature of the faculty advisor in order to implement an embargo period. Once the Upload Authorization Form has been completed, including the appropriate embargo period, if any, you may select that option when you upload your paper. If you have any questions about embargoes, please speak to a librarian.

Honors, SYE & Distinction Programs

If you are completing the Honors, SYE, or Distinction programs, please follow the steps outlined in the program procedures below, as appropriate. You must turn in your signed title page and the complete Upload Authorization Form, also found below, to the Library, and you must upload your project no later than two weeks before the end of the semester. Honors and Distinction students are required only to submit their projects to the Digital Commons @ Otterbein.

Graduate Programs

If you are completing work in a graduate program, please follow the steps outlined in the program procedures below, as appropriate. You must turn in your signed title page and the complete Upload Authorization Form, also found below, to the Library, and you must upload your project no later than April 15, 2015. Graduate students are required to submit their projects to both the Digital Commons @ Otterbein AND the OhioLINK Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) Center.

Capstone Programs

The Digital Commons @ Otterbein is a repository of all Otterbein scholarly and creative works, and so supports projects from programs other than just the Honors, Distinction, and Graduate schools. If your program has a structure in place support the dissemination of works via the Digital Commons @ Otterbein, please review the following program procedures documents and associated upload authorization forms.

Please see the Library’s full Schedule of Operations for additional information.

Contact the Library

138 West Main Street.
Westerville, OH 43081

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