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FREE THESIS WEBSITE
The National Library of Canada and National Archives of Canada has launched an exciting new portal as of January, 2004, entitled “Theses Canada” at: http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/thesescanada/. Some 32,000 Canadian doctoral and master’s theses submitted between 1998 and 2002 are now available online in full text – comprising the “largest free, full-text database of electronic theses available anywhere in the world.”
Theses Canada, called the Canadian Thesis Service up until last April, had its beginnings during the 1960’s when the National Library began to encourage universities to send graduate theses to Ottawa for conversion into microfiche. The microfiche library has accumulated about 227,000 theses, the largest collection in Canada. During the 1990’s, the Canadian Thesis Service contracted the conversion from paper to microfiche over to UMI Dissertations publishing, a Michigan-based company. At the same time, an initiative to create digital versions of the theses began, and the logical next step was to embark on an online digital library collection.
Canada is now the world leader in offering such a large database of freely-accessible content (UMI has a larger digital offering but requires user payment). By the end of this year the database at Theses Canada is expected to contain 45,000 theses as more of the existing microfiche content is digitized and new content added. The easy availability of such a wide variety of academic research information will be of great benefit to researchers and students around the world.