Contribute to the priorities of the NHDS

Dear colleagues,

First, we would like to update you on some of our recent progress on the National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS):

Upcoming funding program – Thanks to the generous support of an anonymous donor, we will be launching a funding program in the near future. The program will distribute $1 million to cultural heritage organizations in Canada to support digitization. More information will be available soon.

Newspaper pilot project – The first set of newspapers from our pilot project has been digitized and is available online. In total, we were able to digitize and make available almost 600 issues of Windspeaker and we expect to add another 1000 issues from two other publications soon. The project was made possible with funding from the Salamander Foundation.

Changes to the Steering Committee – Congratulations to Sandra Singh on her new position with the City of Vancouver. We thank her for her inspired contribution as NHDS Chair during the initial phases of this project and wish her the best in her new role.

At the January meeting of the Steering Committee I, Martha Whitehead, Vice-provost (Digital Planning) and University Librarian of Queen’s University, was named as the new chair. I look forward to working with the committee during this exciting period for the NHDS.

The committee would also like to signal other recent changes to its membership including: Maureen Clapperton as the new representative for Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ); and Karen Fudge-Jensen as the new representative for the Royal BC Museum.

You can see a list of the entire Steering Committee on our website.

We also continue to explore collaboration and funding opportunities, test and expand the discovery platform, and work with our international partners on

Now we need your help

“Canada is a multinational country, defined by diversity as much as by common values. This diversity ranges from the language, culture, and self-governance traditions of Canada’s First Nations to the language, cultural, legal, and other traditions of the French and English, as well as successive waves of immigrants and refugees who have added their mother tongues, customs, and perspectives to Canada. As a result, the ‘content’ of the national heritage digitization strategy is diverse and constantly evolving through dialogue among the rich, and sometimes competing, narratives of memory, as well as through the recovery of knowledge that has sometimes languished in the margins.”

(from the draft NHDS Content Strategy)

The NHDS has released a draft content strategy to help guide potential funding projects, a discovery platform and organizational decision-making. We need your help in determining the priorities of the NHDS. Please respond to the following survey by April 6th, 2018.

We invite you to learn more about the NDHS by visiting our planning website.

Warm regards,

Martha Whitehead, Chair

On behalf of the NHDS Steering Committee



A fall update from the Steering Committee

Dear colleagues,

It’s been almost a year since the National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS) Steering Committee was formed and a lot has happened since then. The committee thought we would update you on some of our most recent work and let you know of different ways your organizations can get involved.

We’ve made great progress on some of our foundational projects. These include:

Newspaper pilot project – With the generous funding of the Salamander Foundation we undertook a newspaper digitization project. We consulted with organizations across Canada and are digitizing a small collection of Indigenous newspapers. We will share more news on this project soon.

Content strategy – We have been working hard to develop a content strategy that stresses maximum inclusivity and access to identify shared principles and find a starting point. The draft strategy will be ready to be shared soon.

Rights statements – This spring the NHDS joined an international consortium on led by DPLA and Europeana. We are working with them and representatives from Australia and India on ways to make the statements more global and test their applicability in Canada.

Discovery tool – We have developed a prototype discovery tool to help identify and find digitized material across the country. The prototype is still in development but will be shared with the community for feedback in the coming months.

Funding – We have secured some funding from the private sector and continue to explore more funding opportunities.

Spreading the word – We’ve also been making presentations and talking to people to try to gather input and support for the strategy. This summer your organization may have been contacted to pledge your interest in the strategy to help attract funding. As of September, 46 organizations have pledged their intent to partner with NHDS. If you would like to do the same, please visit our online pledge form.

In the coming year, we will be furthering this foundational work and also exploring new funding opportunities, gathering and sharing best practices and identifying training. You can learn more about where we are by visiting our planning website.

If you have any questions about our work or would like to get involved, please contact us.

Warm regards,

Sandra Singh, Chair
On behalf of the NHDS Steering Committee

An update on the National Heritage Digitization Strategy

Dear Colleagues,

In October 2016, Library and Archives Canada hosted the National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS) Foundational Assembly – it was such an inspiring gathering with tremendous experience, expertise, and goodwill. Arising from this assembly, the NHDS Steering Committee has commenced work on further refining a draft action plan and planning for broader community engagement and involvement in the confirmation of the plan and its implementation.

This message is intended to provide a brief update to our colleagues across the country – those who were able to attend the Summit and those who were not – on progress since the Foundational Assembly and to invite colleagues with interest in the NHDS to connect with us and – we hope – get involved.

Launch of a planning website

We have launched this planning website to keep you informed of our activities. The site is looking for a more permanent home.

Seeking input into the draft action plan

During a recent session at the Ontario Library Association (OLA) Super Conference, members of the Committee presented our draft action plan . The plan outlines high-level activities to guide the work of the Committee for the next three years.

We are now seeking your thoughts on the plan – What is missing? What particularly excites you? How could the activities outlined in the plan help your organization? How do the directions connect into other digitization partnerships you have?

Action invited: Please share your comments on this site or send them to us.

In the future, we will move to more structured approaches to gathering feedback, such as surveys. For now, please bear with us through this start-up phase as we use this unstructured approach.

Most recent meeting of the Steering Committee

The Steering Committee met in Toronto in early February to discuss how to advance the action plan. Minutes of the meeting will be available soon. Minutes from previous Committee meetings can now be accessed on our website. The next meeting of the Steering Committee is being planned for the middle of March.


We know there is a lot of excitement about a national strategy and we appreciate the patience demonstrated by our colleagues across the country as we have worked to take these very initial steps. Soon, we will share more information about how people and organizations can become involved beyond providing feedback on the draft plan. In the meantime, if you are interested, please do let us know what areas you are interested in and we will do our best to hook you into related efforts asap.

Warm regards,

Sandra Singh, Chair
On behalf of the NHDS Steering Committee

NHDS foundational assembly summary report released

report-coverThe National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS) Secretariat and Steering Committee are happy to share the summary report from the Foundational Assembly held on October 14th in Ottawa. The report provides an overview of the day’s presentations and summarizes the roundtable discussions.

The report identifies six themes widely discussed during the event:

  • Governance and Collaboration
  • Resources
  • User communities
  • Communications
  • Technology and metadata
  • Values and Scope

Read the report.

Foundational Assembly Held to Support NHDS

mtg-photoOver 130 people participated in the Foundational Assembly, held on October 14th, 2016 at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) in Ottawa, to support the Canadian National Heritage Digitization Strategy. The all-day event included presentations from community leaders, followed by an open discussion around the challenges, opportunities, potential audiences and key elements of digitization.

Presentations included:

  • Hildelies Balk-Pennington de Jongh – Implementing a Digital Strategy: Lessons Learned in The Netherlands
  • Larry Alford – Building the Digital Library: Digitization at the University of Toronto Libraries
  • Carol Shepstone – CRKN and Heritage Digitization
  • Sandra Singh – Digitization Vancouver Public Library

First Steering Committee of the NHDS announced


First NHDS Steering Committee

During the NHDS Foundational Assembly, Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, shared the names of the members of the newly formed Steering Committee. Eighteen people had expressed interest in being part of the committee. They will sit on the committee for a period of two years. Sandra Singh, the Chief Librarian of the Vancouver Public Library, was chosen to chair the committee.