Supplemental Files for ETDRs

This page presents general guidelines for including supplemental files with your ETDR and for submitting these files to the K-State Research Exchange (K-REx). In addition to these guidelines, be sure to discuss the format and content of supplemental files with your major professor, preferably early in your ETDR research and writing.

What are supplemental files?

For most theses, dissertations, and reports, the primary intellectual content of your work should be represented in the text of your manuscript. This manuscript must be submitted in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). While many types of digital objects, such as still images, sound files, and movies can be embedded with PDF files, there may be cases where this digital content needs to be presented as a separate object. In such cases, this "supplemental" information can be submitted as a separate file(s) in addition to your PDF file. Your PDF file and any supplemental files are stored in K-REx and can be accessed via the World Wide Web.

When to create supplemental files

There are no clear cut rules on when it is appropriate to create and submit supplemental files along with your PDF file. However, a few guidelines may help you in determining the best way to present your research.

  • Small, discrete files are best incorporated into your PDF file. Obvious examples include charts, graphs, tables, and figures. These may not be separate files at all, but data contained in your original word processing document.

  • Image files can also be easily incorporated into a PDF file. If you have only a few images, it's probably best to insert them in your original word processing document. The images will be retained when you convert your document to PDF.

  • Other digital formats, such as sound files and movies, can be inserted into PDF documents. If you have only a few, small files, it may be best to insert them into your PDF file. The additional files will make your PDF file larger, and it will take longer to download. On the plus side, readers will be able to view or listen to your files simply by clicking a link within the text of your PDF.
  • If your work has a significant non-text component, then it's probably best to submit this component as a supplemental file. It may help to think in terms of how you want someone reading your work to interact with the multimedia component. Is it something they will view or listen to briefly, then return to reading the text of your PDF? Or, is it a lengthy component that will be used separate from your manuscript text?

If you think a supplemental file may be appropriate for your ETDR, be sure to discuss this option with your major professor.

How files are stored in K-REx

The PDF of your manuscript and any supplemental files are stored as "bundle" within the K-State Research Exchange. Depending on the type and number of supplemental files, it may not be possible to create a hyperlink from your PDF to your supplemental files. Supplemental files are not viewed/played directly from the K-REx server. Rather, users must download the file and then open it using appropriate software running on their computer.

Recommended file formats for K-State ETDRs

There are no restrictions on file formats that can be submitted with your ETDR; any format file can be submitted and retrieved. In selecting a format for your supplemental file(s), however, it is best to choose a format that is platform- and vendor-independent, stable, and widely supported. The end-user must have the appropriate software on their computer in order to open and use your file. If the format you have chosen is not widely supported in the future, it is likely a user will not be able to open your file(s).

The following formats are recommended for supplemental files:

MIME type Description Extensions
application/pdf Adobe PDF pdf
text/csv Comma Separated Value csv
text/xml XML xml
text/plain Text txt, asc
text/html HTML htm, html
image/jpeg JPEG jpeg, jpg
image/gif GIF gif
image/png Portable Network Graphic png
image/tiff TIFF tiff, tif
audio/x-wav WAV wav
audio/mp3 MPEG-1 audio layer 3 mp3
video/mpeg MPEG mpeg, mpg, mpe
video/quicktime Video Quicktime mov, qt
audio/x-mpeg MPEG Audio mpa, abs, mpega
application/sgml SGML sgm, sgml
audio/x-pn-realaudio RealAudio ra, ram

Excel and PowerPoint are popular file formats, and it is possible for files in these formats to be submitted along with the text of your ETDR. However, it's best to convert Excel and PowerPoint files to PDF before submitting them. Alternatively, Excel files can be save as a comma-separated value file (.csv).

PDF documents play all video and sound files that are compatible with Apple Quick Time, Flash Player, Windows Built-In Player, RealOne, and Windows Media Player. Viewers of the PDF document must have the necessary hardware and software.

Examples of ETDRs with supplemental files

To give you an idea of the range of possibilities, here are recent ETDRs submitted by K-State students that contain supplemental files:

Abdullah Al-Shehri
The Development of Reusable Online Learning Resources for Instructional Design Students Based on the Principles of Learning Objects.
Contains a Flash program of reusable online learning resources.
Toni Jo Bryant
Development of a Food Safety Education Program on CD/ROM for 4th, 5th, and 6th Grade Children.
Contains a tutorial developed in Authorware. The tutorial consists of over 200 individual files.
Howard Camp
Measurements of the Time Evolution of Coherent Excitation
Contains animations of physics experiments. When these files are downloaded and installed on the reader's computer, they can be accessed by clicking on links within the PDF file.
Matthew Sturich
The Poetic Image: An Exploration of Memory and Making in Architecture and Film.
Includes a Quicktime movie.


Contact us if you have questions or want to discuss the possibility of including supplemental files with your ETDR.