The mission of Theses Canada is to acquire and preserve a comprehensive collection of Canadian theses at Library and Archives Canada (LAC), to provide access to this valuable research within Canada and throughout the world. Its mission to preserve this portion of Canada's bibliographic heritage is achieved through collaboration with the many Canadian universities who participate in the program.
LAC's Canadian Theses on Microfiche Service was launched in 1965 at the request of the deans of Canadian graduate schools. What they wanted was a national program to make theses and dissertations that had been accepted by Canadian universities easily accessible to researchers.
The new service had two main objectives:
Participation on the part of Canadian universities grew steadily. By 1975 twenty eight universities were submitting theses to the program. By 2002, the number of participating universities had grown to fifty five. Currently more than sixty universities participate in the national program.
The Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) [www.ndltd.org] is an international organization that, through leadership and innovation, promotes the adoption, creation, use, dissemination and preservation of electronic theses and dissertations. The NDLTD encourages and supports the efforts of institutes of higher education and their communities to develop electronic publishing and digital libraries (including repositories), thus enabling them to share knowledge more effectively in order to unlock the potential benefits worldwide. LAC is a member of the NDLTD.
Since 2003, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries has been promoting the use of institutional repositories in Canada through the CARL Institutional Repositories Program [www.carl-abrc.ca/projects/
institutional_repositories/canadian_projects-e.html] An institutional repository (IR) is a digital collection of an institution's intellectual output. IRs are a key infrastructure component in the digital environment because they provide better access to digital assets and they ensure that digital objects are managed appropriately. Often the first content in a university IR is its electronic theses and dissertations.