Currently, the vast majority of BC’s dissertations completed since the mid-1990s are accessible full-text through the database Dissertations and Theses - Full Text (ProQuest). Of course, they are only available to those who have access to this relatively expensive database. BC’s dissertations are not yet Open Access (OA). However, it is hoped that this lack of Open Access will change and that BC’s dissertations will in the future be available to anyone with internet access.
Many doctoral dissertations (numerous Masters theses too) completed at other institutions are currently OA. The Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD, “an international organization dedicated to promoting the adoption, creation, use, dissemination and preservation of electronic analogues to the traditional paper-based theses and dissertations” links to numerous OA theses and dissertations.
There is an informative article, “ETDs, Scholarly communication, and Campus Collaboration: Opportunities for Libraries,” in the March 2008 issue of C&RL News. The article provides a good overview of the distinct benefits of ETDs, i.e. Electronic Theses and Dissertations, and discusses some of the issues involved in setting up an ETD program.