Strategy Background

The National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS) outlines a way for Canadian memory institutions to work together to digitize, preserve and make accessible Canada’s documentary heritage.

Around the world, memory institutions have seen the importance of making their collections available online. They have developed strategies to digitize their analog collections, often by working together with other organizations, and the non-profit and private sectors. Until recently, Canada did not have a coordinated effort of its own.

Then on June 3rd, 2016, Dr. Guy Berthiaume, the Librarian and Archivist of Canada announced the creation of the NHDS.

The strategy repositions Canada and provides a cohesive path toward the digitization of Canadian memory institutions’ collections. This strategy will help institutions stay relevant, by making their collections easily accessible.




Potential digitization projects that could be realized over the next ten years include digitizing, preserving and making available:

  • 90% of all published heritage before 1917 and 50% of all monographs published before 1940;
  • All scientific journals published by and theses accepted by Canadian universities before 2000;
  • All microfilm from memory institutions;
  • Selected audio and audio-visual recordings;
  • Selected archival fonds and finding aids;
  • All historical maps;
  • All archival material of genealogical interest.


  • November 2015 – Strategy discussed at Library and Archives Canada Stakeholders Forum
  • June 2016 – Strategy announced to public
  • October 2016 – Secretariat established at Library and Archives Canada
  • October 2016 – Foundational Assembly held to gather stakeholder input
  • October 2016 – First Steering Committee established and Chair selected


The NHDS thanks the following organization for its financial support:

  • Salamander Foundation

Next steps

The Steering Committee developed an action plan, to guide the work of the NHDS over the next three years. While the creation of the Steering Committee and Secretariat are positive first steps, the support of the broader community is critical if we are to delivery on the promise of the NHDS.