About Collection Search

Banner: Collection Search 

What is Collection Search?

With this search engine, users will be able to search all of the collections available to the public at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) from one starting point. This tool will eventually search more than a hundred stand-alone databases currently available on our website from a single search box. Right now, this tool searches over 22 databases, representing 30% of the described collection at LAC, and including the largest databases such as Collections and Fonds (MIKAN) and Aurora. As well, this tool will bring you new features and functionalities to improve your research experience at LAC.

We are always looking to improve your user experience. Your ideas and opinions are welcome! Please email us your feedback!

What will I find in Collection Search?

A search will give you results from the following databases:

Archives tab

  • Cabinet Conclusions

    Summary: Cabinet Conclusions are records that summarize the discussions and decisions of federal Cabinet meetings.

    Record-level display: Brief

    Sample record:Cabinet Conclusions – 1

  • Collections and Fonds (with two subsets)

    Summary: Search descriptions of archival holdings consisting of millions of texts, photographs, audio files, philately, cartography and architectural materials.

    Record-level display: Details

    Sample record:Collections and Fonds – 1


    Portrait Portal

    Summary: Search through a selection of works from the largest group of portraits in the country. These include more than 20,000 paintings, drawings and prints, 4 million photographs, several thousand caricatures, and 10,000 medals and philatelic items.

    Record-level display: Details

    Treaties, Surrenders and Agreements

    Summary: Search through an extensive though incomplete collection of historic Canadian treaties with First Nations and a single occurrence with the Métis, land surrenders and related agreements. This collection has documents that span more than 275 years, including a May 1680 seigneurial grant to the Jesuits in New France and a 1956 adhesion to western Treaty 6 (1876).

    Record-level display: Details

  • Diaries of W.L. Mackenzie King

    Summary: Search through 30,000 pages of typed and transcribed text of the diaries of William Lyon Mackenzie King.

    Record-level display: Brief

    Sample record:Diaries of W.L. Mackenzie King – 1

  • Film, Video and Sound

    Summary: Search through more than 500,000 descriptions of audiovisual documents.

    Record-level display: Details

    Sample record:Film, Video and Sound – 4

  • Indian Reserves – Western Canada

    Summary: This data set provides descriptions of maps and plans that relate to First Nations reserves and settlements in western Canada (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut).

    Record-level display: Brief

    Sample record:Indian Reserves – Western Canada – 1

  • Orders-in-Council

    Summary: These are Orders-in-Council from July 1, 1867, to 1924. The available images, from 1867 to 1916, are digitized from microfilm copies of the original documents.

    Record-level display: Brief

    Sample record:Orders-in-Council – 1

  • Post Offices and Postmasters

    Summary: Search through records documenting the establishment and discontinuance of post offices, and the names and appointment dates of postmasters, for most years between 1851 and 1981.

    Record-level display: Details

    Sample record:Post Offices and Postmasters – 1

Images tab

Search for digitized images in LAC's archival collection; each search result will be shown as a thumbnail. Clicking on any image will display it in a preview window, with a link to the record description just below the viewer.

Library tab

  • National Library Collections (Aurora)

    Summary: These are LAC's published holdings.

  • Canadian Post Office Publications

    Summary:This data set provides access to approximately 25,000 pages of official administrative directives concerning the Canadian Post Office published between 1759 and 1900.

    Record-level display: Brief

    Sample record:Canadian Post Office Publications – 1

  • Indian Affairs Annual Reports

    Summary: This data set contains keywords to be found in more than 40,700 digitized pages of the original annual reports for the Indian Affairs portfolio for the years 1864 to 1966, and the complete annual reports for the Department of Indian Affairs from 1967 to 1990.

    Record-level display: Brief

    Sample record:Indian Affairs Annual Reports – 1

  • Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples

    Summary: This data set provides access to documents, such as intervenor project submissions, publications, research reports and hearing transcripts, that supported the writing of the report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

    Record-level display: Brief

    Sample record:Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples – 1

Genealogy tab

  • Black Loyalist Refugees – Port Roseway Associates, 1782–1807

    Summary: Search through 1,500 records in the Muster Book of Free Blacks who settled in Birchtown, Nova Scotia.

    Record-level display: Brief

    Sample record:Black Loyalist Refugees – Port Roseway Associates, 1782–1807 – 1

  • Census 1921

    Summary: This data set contains 8,800,000 census records that are searchable by name.

    Record-level display: Details

    Sample record:Census of Canada, 1921 – 1

  • First World War Court Martials

    Summary: This data set provides access to more than 11,000 descriptive records pertaining to military men and women accused by courts martial during the First World War.

    Record-level display: Brief

    Sample record:First World War Court Martials – 1

  • First World War Personnel Records

    Summary: This data set includes various First World War personnel records. Digitization of the Canadian Expeditionary Force personnel files is complete. The data set also includes digitized files for many individuals who served in the Royal Newfoundland Regiment and the Newfoundland Forestry Corps (courtesy of the Rooms Provincial Archives).

    Record-level display: Details

    Sample record:First World War Personnel Records – 1

  • Immigrants from China (1885–1949)

    Summary: This data set provides access to 140,000 records in the General Registers of Chinese Immigration, the Port of New Westminster Register of Chinese Immigration, the C.I. 9 Certificates, and the Newfoundland Register of Arrivals and Outward Registrations.

    Record-level display: Details

    Sample record:Immigrants from China (1885–1949) – 1

  • Land Boards of Upper Canada, 1765–1804

    Summary: This data set provides access to more than 16,400 records of individuals in the minutes and records of the Land Boards accumulated by the Executive Council Office (RG1 L4).

    Record-level display: Brief

    Sample record:Land Boards of Upper Canada, 1765–1804 – 1

  • Land Petitions of Lower Canada, 1764–1841

    Summary: This data set provides access to more than 95,000 records of individuals in the Executive Council Office of the Province of Lower Canada (RG1 L3L).

    Record-level display: Brief

    Sample record:Land Petitions of Lower Canada, 1764–1841 – 1

  • Land Petitions of Upper Canada, 1763–1865

    Summary: This data set contains petitions for grants or leases of land and other administrative records for Upper Canada from Land Submissions to the Executive Council (RG1 L3) and Upper Canada Sundries (RG5 A1).

    Record-level display: Brief

    Sample record:Land Petitions of Upper Canada, 1763–1865 – 1

  • North West Mounted Police (NWMP) – Personnel Records, 1873–1904

    Summary: This data set provides access to the documents of over 4,000 members of the North West Mounted Police (NWMP); each record includes the digitized file of the member.

    Record-level display: Brief

    Sample record:North West Mounted Police (NWMP) – Personnel Records, 1873–1904 – 2964

  • Royal Canadian Navy Service Files, 1910–1941

    Summary: This data set includes 16,800 records of many individuals who served in the Royal Canadian Navy and the Naval Reserve between 1910 and 1918. It also includes some records of those who enlisted between 1919 and 1941, and those who served in the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve.

    Record-level display: Brief

    Sample record:Royal Canadian Navy Service Files, 1910–1941 – 1

  • Second World War Service Files – War Dead, 1939–1947

    Summary: This data set contain the files of those who died in service, which are open to the public and grouped as a collection within the Department of National Defence fonds (RG24 and R112). To be included in this collection, the person's name must appear in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database and the Books of Remembrance.

    Record-level display: Details

    Sample record:Second World War Service Files – War Dead, 1939–1947 – 1

Co-Lab tab

You can have a hand in history by using Co-Lab: a tool to transcribe, tag, translate and describe digitized images in LAC’s collection. The more work we collaborate on in Co-Lab, the more accessible and usable our digital collection becomes for all Canadians.
Become a contributor in two main ways:

  1. Take on a “challenge” of images, put together by experts at LAC, that would benefit from your contributions, or
  2. Use Collection Search to find the materials that matter most to you, and enhance them; you can now contribute to any digitized images and audiovisual material that you find when doing research.

When you contribute to images using Co-Lab, the metadata becomes accessible immediately, and it becomes searchable in Collection Search within 24 hours. If you create a user account and log in when contributing, you will be able to look back on your contribution history at any time.
For more instructions on how to contribute, consult About Co-Lab.

New capabilities in Collection Search

  • Use Advanced search to narrow your search and improve your results.
  • Refine your search results more easily using the available filters.
  • Adjust the number of results displayed per page (10, 25, 50 or 100 results).
  • Download or print up to 100 search results in these document formats: HTML, PDF, CSV, XML, JSON.
  • Preview digital objects from the search results by clicking on images within the carrousel just below the title of the record, or navigate to the record display by clicking on the title.
  • See digital objects, including images, audiovisual material and PDF files in a viewer at the top of the record display.
  • Download single digital objects, such as an image or audiovisual item, or combine multiple images into a PDF file for off-line use.
  • Interact with digital images and audiovisual material in multiple ways, such as zooming in and out, seeing image-specific information (such as an e-copy number), and opening full-screen mode.
  • Contribute crowdsourced metadata such as transcription, translation and tags by using Co-Lab directly within Collection Search.

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