National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS)


  • Launched in 2016 and managed by a Steering Committee that is chaired by Paul Takala, Chief Librarian of Hamilton Public Library.
  • Establishes a coordinated approach to the digitization of Canadian memory institutions’ collections. Includes access, discovery and preservation, and covers published and unpublished digitized material from the collections of archives, libraries, museums and other memory institutions.
  • LAC funds the NHDS secretariat (1 FTE) and the development of a prototype discovery tool.
  • 67 GLAMs have pledged their support.
  • Funding—$1.1M in private donations raised so far. $1M distributed to GLAM organizations to support 21 digitization projects.
  • Projects—Indigenous newspaper digitization; standards development; discovery tool; content strategy; Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) digitization; workshops.
  • RightsStatements—The NHDS is vice-chair of the RightsStatements Steering Committee, which is led by DPLA and Europeana.
  • World heritage—The NHDS is part of a growing worldwide movement to safeguard and promote heritage to a global audience.


  • Funding—The NHDS is exploring other funding opportunities, including private donations, in-kind contributions and government funding. While support in principle for the NHDS is strong, multiple attempts to find longer-term funding have been unsuccessful.
  • Leadership—The NHDS is a collaboration. Organizations can join the Steering Committee and working groups. LAC is a member of the Steering Committee, but not the lead.
  • Complementary organizations—Other organizations work in related subjects, such as the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL). Both organizations are part of the NHDS Steering Committee and contribute to advancing its goals.
  • Standards—The NHDS does not plan to impose priorities and processes, but rather to complement strategies already in place.

Key public messages

  • The NHDS aims to safeguard Canada’s cultural and intellectual heritage through digitization. By removing barriers to information, the NHDS will provide greater access to Canada’s heritage to support social, economic, legal and cultural growth.
  • Through the NHDS, Canada will join the worldwide movement to safeguard and promote heritage to a global audience, to contribute to a feeling of shared Canadian identity and use culture to unite Canada.
  • The NHDS continues to advance projects, welcome new institutions interested in participating and explore funding opportunities.


Caitlin Horrall, Corporate Secretary, National Heritage Digitization Strategy, Office of the Deputy Librarian and Archivist of Canada
Tel: 613-404-5032

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