Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions
The first inception of Canadiana.org was in 1978 when the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions (CIHM) was established to locate early printed Canadian materials (books, annuals, and periodicals) so as to preserve their content on microfilm and make the resulting collections available to libraries and archives in Canada and abroad.
In 1997, CIHM began to digitize a portion of its microfiche and to provide online access to these titles. This successful project became Early Canadiana Online (ECO). In 2000, CIHM ended microfilming and began to provide a combination of subscription and open access to its Early Canadiana Research Collection through the ECO database which continues to grow today at Canadiana.org.
For a more complete history of CIHM, read the 2003 article: Preserving and Providing Access to Canada's Printed Heritage: The Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions at 25 Years by Myriam McCormack.
AlouetteCanada Open Digitization Initiative
AlouetteCanada was founded by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) in 2006. AlouetteCanada members and partners recognized that as Canadian society increasingly shifts to a digital environment it will be vital to have a national vision and a comprehensive plan to present Canada’s cultural heritage, documents and artefacts online and to provide for enduring access to that heritage.
In 2008, the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions and AlouetteCanada, merged into a single organization called Canadiana.org and declared a common commitment to a coordinated and sustained program to digitize Canada's documentary heritage and provide easy online access to the extraordinary wealth of documentary heritage and other resources by and about Canadians.
Read the press release announcing the merger.