Canada's Parliamentary Debates preserved in virtual library

November 20, 2013
Contact: Daniel Velarde - and the Library of Parliament have launched a digital resource, the Historical debates of the Parliament of Canada, to ensure that Canada’s early parliamentary record will be preserved and accessible for citizens well into the future.

Extensive in scope, this library stretches from recent times (1996) to the first session of the inaugural Parliament in 1867. The virtual library supports full-text searching of historical parliamentary debates in both official languages, bringing out large amounts of information for public scrutiny and scholarly analysis.

Project history’s role in the project was threefold: combine the high-quality digital copies of the parliamentary debates held by the Library of Parliament with those held by Canadiana; build an application platform to optimize search and discovery; and develop structured, searchable metadata to help users navigate the sessions. The result is a digital library organized largely along the lines of the existing Hansard, which can be browsed by Parliament, session, and calendar date.

This partnership expands and diversifies the large corpus of government records available through, including the Jules Léger Digital Library (produced with Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada) the and the Héritage project (produced with Library and Archives Canada). We hope that our joint efforts will benefit researchers of all levels, from veteran parliamentarians to students working on their first civics assignments.


Funding for this project was generously provided by the Library of Parliament. Contributions from's members have supported the systems infrastructure which houses this digital collection, attesting to the increasing importance and value of a nationwide alliance of public and research libraries. appreciates the longstanding commitments from member libraries and supporters to sustain digital preservation in Canada and make possible projects of this scale.