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Thesis and Dissertation Formatting

Multimedia File Formats

Including complex multimedia objects in an ETD is a relatively new possibility. Those attempting this are pioneers. You are encouraged to work with those on your committee interested in this to gain their approval and assistance.

The MSU Libraries' Digital Media Center (DMC) located on the first floor of the library can assist in the creation of multimedia documents. The DMC supports scanning, digital audio, and digital video. Experts in digital technology are available in the DMC from 7:30 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. during the regular semester. The DMC staff can also assist in converting documents to PDF as well as using Microsoft Word and Corel WordPerfect.

If you need to convert your Microsoft Word or Corel WordPerfect document to a PDF file, the DMC Multimedia Lab, the Computer Commons, and the Butler Hall Computer Lab have the Adobe Acrobat software needed to convert your documents.

It is likely that complex multimedia objects will reside in a different file and be located in the same directory as the rest of your ETD. You may wish to use some icon or thumbnail or other small form of the complex multimedia object in the body of your ETD, and have that linked to the complex multimedia object. For more information, contact the DMC staff.


Be careful to consider issues of long-term archiving.

  • Always include the highest resolution version of your object, not just a version suitable for today's devices, since technology may improve. You can include several versions, to help those with a variety of devices, particularly if the media itself is not scalable. For example, scan a slide at 2700dpi, but have 640x480 and 320x240 versions as well.
  • If you can, include a version using a well-accepted international standard. Thus, for video, MPEG is encouraged. If you start with QuickTime, include that, but also include MPEG if possible.
  • If you use some proprietary software, include a viewer if that is allowed by the vendor. That way people can view your object without buying that software. Realize, however, that in a few years this object may not be readily usable due to changes in versions and technology.

  • Thesis Body
    • Portable Document Format (.pdf)
  • Text
    • ASCII (.txt)
  • Images
    • PDF (.pdf) use Type I PostScript fonts
    • JPEG (.jpg)
    • CompuServe GIF (.gif)
    • TIFF following version 6.0 or later, including CCITT G4 (.tif)
    • CGM Computer Graphics Metafile (.cgm)
    • PhotoCD
    Note: We recommend a minimum of 600 dpi resolution for images of pages with text.
  • Video
    • MPEG (i.e., MPEG-1, MPEG-2) (.mpg)
    • QuickTime - Apple (.mov)
    • Audio Video Interleaved - Microsoft (.avi)
  • Audio
    • MPEG-2
    • CD-DA
    • CD-ROM/XA (A or B or C)
    • AIF (.aif)
    • SND (.snd)
    • WAV (.wav)
    • MIDI (with timing information) (.midi)
  • Authoring
    • Authorware
    • Director (MMM, PICS
  • Special
    • Spreadsheet - Excel (.xcl)
    • AutoCAD (.dxf)
  • Referring
    • "handles" as URNs (URLs don't last very long)
    • ISBN, ISSN