Canadiana.org is a coalition of members dedicated to providing broad access to Canada's documentary heritage. Through our membership alliance, Canadian libraries share tools and capacity, partner on open-source projects, and spearhead digital preservation in Canada.
Governance and Structure
Canadiana.org is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of distinguished scholars, representatives of Canada's major research libraries, and partners who champion access to Canadian heritage. Governance is pan-Canadian and aims to represent the interests of many stakeholder constituencies, including content creators, content holders, and users of cultural heritage and research resources.
Canadiana.org is an independent, registered charity established in 1978 to raise funds and receive donations and grants. As a non-profit and charitable organization, Canadiana applies all revenues to operating and improving its services.
Established in 1978 as the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions (CIHM), Canadiana.org has made substantial contributions to preservation thinking and practice in Canada. In the 1970s and 80s, CIHM led pioneering microfilm projects to combat the rising costs of accessing Canada’s documentary heritage. As a result of these efforts, reproductions of rare and fragile documents were distributed across the country, greatly improving Canada's access to its cultural past. The CIHM catalogue developed into a comprehensive index of the early Canadian documentary corpus and is widely consulted by researchers in a variety of fields.
Following a 2005 merger with the Canadian Initiative for Digital Libraries and Alouette Canada, Canadiana.org has taken a leading role in advocating for and advancing digital preservation in Canada.
Canadiana.org works to preserve Canada's documentary history and make it accessible online. With the support of major memory institutions, Canadiana.org identifies, catalogue, and digitizes documentary heritage—books, newspapers, periodicals, images and nationally-significant archival materials—in specialized searchable databases:
Early Canadiana Online is a full-text collection of published documentary material, including monographs, government documents, and specialized or mass-market periodicals from the 16th to 20th centuries. Law, literature, religion, education, women’s history and aboriginal history are particular areas of strength. This resource combines content from the CIHM microfilm series with full-colour scans of rare, primary-source titles.
Size: 5 million pages, with a target of 16 million pages
Type: Monographs and periodicals
Heritage draws from the rich corpus of archival microfilm held by Library and Archives Canada, with a focus on fonds from the individuals and organizations that have shaped Canada's history. Politics, arts and literature, labour, military, aboriginal history, social justice and women's history are particular areas of strength.
Size: 15 million images, with a target of 60 million images
Type: Archival fonds
As a national aggregator, Canadiana.org builds and maintains the Canadiana Discovery Portal, a federated search platform compiling metadata (cataloguing information) from our partners into a searchable repository. Some 40 memory institutions have joined, providing access to 65 million pages in total.
Imagine a country where every citizen has the opportunity to access the sum of its cultural heritage online; a country able to harness the will and energy of every library, archive, gallery, museum, historical society or institute of record to create a comprehensive collection of digital resources for the benefit of its citizens; a country committed to eliminating barriers of access, not only physical but geographical. Through the work of our organization, that country is Canada.
Partnerships and Services
Canada's libraries, museums, archives, and government agencies possess rich digital collections containing our nation's evolving documentary heritage. Canadiana.org works with such partners to strengthen our collective ability to preserve Canada's documentary heritage content online, acting as a coordinator, facilitator and advocate for digitization initiatives.