Information about Theses Canada for universities

​Library and Archives Canada (LAC) encourages all Canadian universities with graduate programs to contact us about joining Theses Canada.


To participate in the Theses Canada program, your university must sign an agreement with LAC. Under this agreement, your university agrees to

  • obtain students' permission for LAC to acquire and provide open online access to their work
  • inform students of their obligations to respect the privacy rights of third parties and obtain rights holders' permission to use third-party copyright content

Normally, universities include these requirements within the licence agreement they obtain from the author of each thesis or dissertation. Universities should maintain the licences according to their internal records management protocols and should not send them to LAC.

If your university has an open-access institutional repository, LAC can acquire or harvest theses and dissertations directly from the repository using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). We schedule harvesting in consultation with universities.

If your university does not publish theses in an institutional repository, you can submit them to LAC through a web form. Contact us for log-in details.

LAC accepts digital formats only.

Deletions or replacements, and metadata changes

Contact us to delete or replace a thesis or dissertation in the collection, or to request changes to the metadata. Please note that Theses Canada only accepts requests that have been approved by the university. Individual students must contact their universities, not LAC, to request changes to LAC databases and/or collections. However, LAC will remove the year of birth from the catalogue record if the student contacts us directly.

Submission of older theses

Universities may provide digitized versions of older theses and dissertations to Theses Canada as long as the student authors have licensed the university to provide their work to LAC, as per the standard agreement described above, or previously signed a LAC non-exclusive licence agreement.

File formats

LAC can accept most commonly used file formats, as well as multiple files per thesis, such as supplementary image and video files. For guidance on the selection of file formats that are more likely to remain accessible over time, see LAC's Guidelines on File Formats for Transferring Information Resources of Enduring Value. The guidelines list the preferred formats for various content types (e.g. text formats, still image formats, digital audio formats).

Private or restricted information

Please ensure that theses and dissertations, and their associated metadata, do not contain personal information such as student numbers, signatures or other personally identifiable information as outlined in the Privacy Act.

If a patent is pending or a thesis or dissertation contains sensitive or restricted information, the university may place an embargo on the document, delaying its submission to Theses Canada. Universities should not submit restricted or embargoed theses or dissertations to Theses Canada.

Harvesting requirements

LAC uses the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting version 2 (OAI-PMH v. 2.0) to harvest theses metadata from university repositories. University repositories must support OAI-PMH v. 2.0.

Valuable information on how to implement an OAI data repository is available at:

Please contact Theses Canada if you would like us to do a test harvest of your repository.


LAC prefers to harvest one set per university. Create one set that includes all non-embargoed graduate-level theses and dissertations. The set may be split into hierarchical subsets to organize your collection.

LAC does not harvest theses or dissertations when all or part of the work is restricted. Ensure that restricted or embargoed works are identified as such in your repository, and do not include them in the set to be harvested by LAC.

The set must only include graduate-level theses. We do not acquire undergraduate theses.

Metadata schema

LAC requires metadata in ETD-MS format. ETD-MS is the metadata standard endorsed by the Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations. It is based on Dublin Core with additional fields specific to theses and dissertations. We accept both ETD-MS version 1.0 and ETD-MS version 1.1.

ETD-MS standards

Direct links to full text files

The LAC harvesting workflow uses a direct link in the ETD-MS identifier field to locate and download the associated files. We can download multiple files per thesis. The identifier URLs must point directly to the files (and not only to a repository landing page). Spaces and special characters in the URLs must be correctly encoded. If the link redirects, the redirected link must also be correctly encoded, without spaces. URLs must end with the file type extension (.pdf, .mp3, etc.).

ETD-MS descriptive metadata

LAC's application of ETD-MS differs from the standard in that some fields specified as mandatory in the ETD-MS standard are not mandatory for LAC, and vice versa.

Required fields for LAC are:

  • title
  • creator
  • publisher
  • date
  • language
  • identifier
  • degree name

Recommended fields for LAC are:

  • abstract
  • subject
  • degree grantor

The following table sets out LAC's use of each element, including guidance for formatting the content. Metadata supplied by universities will undergo several transformations and will be enriched before being loaded into Aurora, the LAC library catalogue and the Theses Canada database.

Field nameCriteriaUsage notes
Title Mandatory

The title of the thesis as it appears on the title page, including subtitle. Use sentence-style case, capitalizing the first word in a title. Do not add a period at the end of the title. Do not capitalize the first letter of the subtitle. Separate the main title from the subtitle with space, colon, space ( : ).
<title>Recherches sur le statut social du forgeron dans la littérature grecque : d'Homère à la fin de l'époque</title>
<dc.title>Humour as a political tool : translating stories from Sherman Alexie's Ten little Indians into Turkish</dc.title>

Creator Mandatory

The creator is the author of the thesis. Enter the name in inverse format.
<creator> Zhang, John M. L.<creator>
<dc.creator>Boehm, Sheila Gay Calvert</dc.creator>

Contributor Optional

LAC does not load this field.

Subjects Recommended

The topic of the content of the thesis. Enter as many subjects as appropriate.
<subject>Lake trout<subject>

Abstract Recommended

A summary of the thesis. A length of 500 words or less is preferred. If the text in the description field is two sentences or longer, the theses harvesting workflow will map it to a MARC 520 field (Abstract).
<description>This study of …</description>
<dc.description.abstract>This dissertation analyzes the … </dc.description.abstract>

Notes Optional

Additional information about the thesis. Could be used for funding or sponsorship notes. If the text in the description field is less than two sentences, the theses harvesting workflow will map it to a MARC 500 field (General Note)
<description>This research was supported by …</description>
<dc.description.note>Funded by contributions from …</dc.description.note>

Publisher Mandatory

The full name of the university that granted the degree. If possible, hard-code or standardize the field to prevent errors and variations in the university name.
<publisher>Simon Fraser University</publisher>
<dc.publisher>Université de Montréal</dc.publisher>

Date on title page Mandatory

Only the year is mandatory: YYYY. If month and day are present, they should be in the format YYYY-MM or YYYY-MM-DD. The harvesting workflow will use the first four characters in the field, and if there are multiple date fields, it will take the earliest chronological date.

Type Optional

LAC does not load this field. The harvesting workflow will replace any content in the Type field with the default text "Academic theses."

Format Optional

LAC does not load this field.

Identifier – URI Mandatory

URLs to the full-text documents as well as supplementary files in the repository, and optionally, to the repository record. Spaces and special characters in the URLs must be correctly encoded. Other types of identifiers will not be loaded.

Language Mandatory

Primary language of the thesis. Record using ISO standard 639-3 (three-letter code).



Rights Optional

Statement about various property rights associated with the resource, including copyright.

<rights>This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.<rights>

<dc.rights>All works are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.</dc.rights>

Degree name Mandatory

Name of the degree associated with the thesis. Abbreviations are preferred, and abbreviated parts consisting of more than a single letter should be separated by a space from the preceding or succeeding words or initials.

<degree><name>Ph. D.</name>…</degree>


Degree level Optional

LAC does not load this field.

Degree discipline Optional

Area of study, usually the program or department name.

<degree>…<discipline>Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences</discipline>…</degree>

Degree grantor Recommended

Name of the institution that awarded the degree. Use the name of the university from the time the degree was granted. If this field is missing, the publisher field will be used in its place.

<degree>…<grantor>University of Winnipeg</grantor></degree>


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