Next Steps for the NHDS: Governance and Strategic Planning Update


On November 27, 2020, the NHDS Steering Committee had their first meeting supported by CRKN as Secretariat. At that meeting, new governance structure and Terms of Reference were accepted. As a result, the NHDS Steering Committee members voted to form a new Executive Committee and for the existing NHDS Steering Committee to become the NHDS Advisory Committee.

The NHDS Advisory Committee appointed the following members to the Executive Committee:

• David Alexander, A/Vice President of Collections and Research, Royal BC Museum

• Clare Appavoo, Executive Director, Canadian Research Knowledge Network

• Jonathan Bengtson, University Librarian, University of Victoria

• Ry Moran, Associate University Librarian – Reconciliation, University of Victoria

• Paul Takala, Chief Librarian/CEO, Hamilton Public Library

• Carole Urbain, Senior Director, Academic Affairs, McGill University & Archives

• Leslie Weir, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Library and Archives Canada

The first meeting of the NHDS Executive Committee was held on February 24, 2021. Jonathan Bengtson, University Librarian at the University of Victoria, was appointed Chair of the Executive Committee, and Carole Urbain, Senior Director, Academic Affairs at McGill University Library and Archives, was appointed Vice-Chair of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Advisory Committee. We wish to thank Paul Takala, Chief Librarian/CEO of Hamilton Public Library for his service as Chair of the NHDS Steering Committee through the transition of Secretariat to CRKN.

A Call for Expressions of Interest for the NHDS Advisory Committee was held from February 4, 2021 until February 23, 2021 and received over 30 expressions of interest. We are pleased to expand the Advisory Committee this calendar year to help encompass the breadth and diversity of the Canadian GLAM community. A full list of the current members of the NDHS Advisory Committee can be found here.

Strategic Planning

Considering the updates to governance, as well as new developments in the heritage content, digitization, and preservation sector in Canada, the NHDS Executive and Advisory Committees will be undertaking a strategic planning process to update the 2018-2019 Business Plan and renew the NHDS mandate with the community. The strategic planning process will include surveys, webinars, and one-on-one stakeholder calls. More information on the strategic planning process will be shared soon.

For more information, please contact

CALL FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST: National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS) Advisory Committee

The National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS) envisions a future in which digital access to Canada’s diverse documentary heritage is comprehensive, ubiquitous, and has a profound impact on Canadian culture, education, research, and innovation.

The National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS) invites expressions of interest from the GLAM (gallery, library, archive, and museum) community to join the NHDS Advisory Committee. The NHDS Advisory Committee is an unincorporated body whose members are aligned in engaging the Canadian library, archive, and museum community and Canadian creators in sharing expertise, to facilitate the digitization, preservation, and discovery of Canadian heritage. The NHDS Advisory Committee is accountable to the broader GLAM community which it endeavours to represent. The Chair of the Advisory Committee reports on its activities to the NHDS Executive Committee.

Membership in the NHDS Advisory Committee is limited to Canadian public or not-for-profit GLAM (gallery, library, archives, and museum) organizations, committed to, and with a demonstrated investment in the digitization of, preservation of, and access to Canadian heritage.

Expressions of interest will be reviewed and considered by the NHDS Executive Committee to ensure representation and balance of expertise on the committee.

For more information on the NHDS Advisory Committee, please consult the Terms of Reference and the NHDS website.

The NHDS Advisory Committee meets on a quarterly basis via teleconference. A rough estimate of the time commitment required for serving on the group follows:

4 teleconferences * 2 hours = 8 hours
1 hour prep-time per meeting = 4 hours
Individual work outside of meetings (2 hours * 12 months) = 24 hours

Total Annual Commitment = 36 hours

NHDS Advisory Committee members may also be called to serve on Working Groups or Task Groups with an additional time commitment.

To submit an expression of interest, please complete and send the attached Expression of Interest form to Georgia Ashworth ( by February 23, 2021, which includes:
• Contact information
• Brief biographical details and relevant work experience to illustrate expertise in and enthusiasm for the work of the committee
• Assurance that this workload and time commitment meets with approval of the candidate’s immediate supervisor, if applicable

Please note that we will be inviting expressions of interest throughout the year. More details will be available soon.

NHDS Secretariat Transferred to CRKN

The National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS) and the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) are pleased to announce that the NHDS Steering Committee has voted to officially transfer the NHDS Secretariat to CRKN. The vote was made at the September 23, 2020 meeting of the NHDS Steering Committee, and the transfer takes effect immediately.

This decision comes after an announcement in June 2020 that the NHDS and CRKN were exploring the future of the NHDS Secretariat. As part of the Secretariat transfer, the NHDS Steering Committee will be reviewing its governance structure. The NHDS is also planning a community consultation to update its mandate and business plan.  Launched in 2016, the NHDS is a coalition of memory institutions working together to leverage expertise and resources to support the digitization, preservation, and discovery of Canadian documentary heritage. Secretariat support for the NHDS was previously provided by Library and Archives Canada. Library and Archives Canada will continue to be an active member and supporter of the NHDS.

CRKN’s heritage content program has been closely informed by the work of the NHDS. CRKN’s Executive Director, Clare Appavoo, has been a member of the NHDS Steering Committee since its inception.

For more information, or any questions or comments, please contact:

Rebecca Ross
Senior Director, Strategy and Engagement

The NHDS and CRKN Agree to Explore the Future of the NHDS Secretariat

The National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS) Steering Committee and the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) Board of Directors have agreed to investigate the transfer of the NHDS secretariat to CRKN.

Both the NHDS and CRKN agree that the transition could increase funding opportunities, revitalize NHDS governance, and maintain and develop relationships between the NHDS and other organizations digitizing documentary heritage.

Launched in 2016, the NHDS is a coalition of memory institutions working together to leverage expertise and resources to support the digitization, preservation, and discovery of Canadian documentary heritage. Secretariat support for the NHDS is currently provided by Library and Archives Canada.

“It has been almost four years since the NHDS was announced, and I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished together. Now is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on achievements to date and plan for the future,” commented Paul Takala, Chief Librarian/CEO at Hamilton Public Library and Chair of the NHDS Steering Committee. “The support of Library and Archives Canada has been instrumental in the success of the NHDS, and in partnership with LAC, CRKN’s secretariat support would provide significant governance expertise to the NHDS, as well as the opportunity to further align the efforts of organizations digitizing and increasing the discoverability of Canadian documentary heritage.”

CRKN’s heritage content program, which includes the Canadiana collections and services for digitizing and preserving documentary heritage materials, has been closely informed by the work of the NHDS. CRKN’s Executive Director, Clare Appavoo, has been a member of the NHDS Steering Committee since its inception.

“I have been impressed by the dedication of the NHDS Steering Committee in advancing Canada’s digitization strategy. CRKN is a close partner of the NHDS, and we share the goal of expanding access to scholarly research and documentary heritage,” commented Clare Appavoo, Executive Director of CRKN. “I see great potential in the next phase of the NHDS, and it is a pleasure to have CRKN considered for providing secretariat support.”

CRKN currently provides administrative support for the ORCID-CA Consortia and, in partnership with CARL Portage, the DataCite Canada Consortia, both of which include members who are not members of CRKN. If CRKN provides Secretariat support to the NHDS, there would be no requirement for Steering Committee members or other supporters and collaborators of the NHDS to become a CRKN member.

CRKN and the NHDS invite feedback on the development of this initiative. For more information, or any questions or comments, please contact:

Rebecca Ross
Senior Director, Strategy and Engagement

Caitlin Horrall
Corporate Secretary of the NHDS

CRKN Survey on Digitization, Access and Digital Preservation

(posted on behalf of the Canadian Research Knowledge Network)


On behalf of the Heritage Content Priorities Task Group of the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN), I am pleased to invite you to participate in a survey to better understand the digitization, access, and digital preservation activities of CRKN members, stakeholders and the GLAM community. The survey covers the strategies and practices used when carrying out digitization projects, as well as opportunities, challenges, and ongoing needs.

This survey will be open until midnight, Wednesday, May 20, 2020. A summary of the survey results will be shared at the CRKN Conference in October and a final report will be available in November.

Please note: CRKN requests that each institution submit only one survey response. You may wish to preview the questions in this PDF so that you may strategize with your team prior to filling out the survey. We estimate that it will take approximately 40 minutes to complete the survey.

Please contact me directly with any questions you may have regarding this survey.

We recognize that these are uncertain and challenging times. If your institution would like to participate in the survey but you cannot meet the May 20 deadline, please let me know so that we can accommodate.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and institutional experiences with us so that we can better align our digitization, access, and preservation services with your needs.

Kind regards,

Beth (Beth Stover –

National Heritage Digitization Strategy collaborates on successful funding proposal to improve access to archival documents of Moravian missionaries

The National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS) has collaborated on a successful Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) grant proposal to provide greater access to archival documents of Moravian missionaries.

The 24-month project, Uncommon Bonds: Labrador Inuit and Moravian Missionaries, was awarded $168,349 USD to digitize over 50,000 pages of manuscript records of the Moravian mission province of Labrador, Canada, 1764-1944, and over 1000 pages of printed materials in the Inuttitut language.

The grant is part of CLIR’s Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives program that provides funds to digitize rare and unique content in collecting institutions. Uncommon Bonds was one of only 18 projects selected for funding from a total of 101 eligible applications, and is the only successful project to include a Canadian partner.

The NHDS will provide project support for the initiative that is a collaboration between

The Moravian Archives, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (MAB); Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), Nunatsiavut Government (NG), and Moravian Church in Newfoundland and Labrador (MCNL).

Moravian missionaries arrived on the shores of Labrador from Europe in 1752, and the records they produced provide valuable insight into the demographics, culture, education and language of Labrador Inuit. The records include correspondence, station reports, mission conference minutes, and Inuttitut resources .

The digitized collections and accompanying metadata will be made accessible in three repositories – at MAB, in MUN’s Digital Archives Initiative (DAI), and in NG’s Collections Repository. The latter reflects a repatriation of archival records to their community of origin.

Digital Preservation File Format Recommendations

The format used to digitize content, publish it on the Web or view it on a consumer device can be quite different from the one most suited to preserving the material for long-term access.

The National Heritage Digitization Strategy – Digital Preservation File Format Recommendations resource proposes which file formats to use when preserving digitized text, still images, audio and video recordings and motion picture films. The resource also provides a framework for evaluating file formats, and it summarizes the evaluation criteria for the selection of digital preservation file formats and the recommendations made by a handful of reputable memory institutions.

Members of the Digitization and Digital Preservation Discussion Group created the resource, which was one of many activities outlined in the NHDS 2018–2019 business plan.

NHDS Metadata Summit survey

Take the survey now

The National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS) is seeking guidance from the community on metadata best practices to help make digitized content more discoverable. In order to achieve this goal, the NHDS is currently planning a Metadata Summit, to be held in 2020, which will bring together the members of the GLAM community so that we can identify needs and issues regarding heritage metadata. We see this as an opportunity to build some common ground around definitions, data models, technologies and processes. We envision a summit with lectures from different GLAM professionals to better understand the ecosystem with brainstorming sessions to gather your input on different topics.

This survey will help us to determine content and structure for the meeting in order to make it as enriching as possible.
Metadata is a broad subject so we must streamline the scope of the summit and target the essential topics.

The survey consists of two sections and should take no more than 15 minutes to complete.

For any questions, do not hesitate to contact us (

Thank you for your time and ideas!

*Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums

Take the survey now

Spring update from the National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS)


The NHDS Steering Committee is happy to welcome its new Chair, Paul Takala, Chief Librarian and CEO of the Hamilton Public Library. Paul has extensive experience in collaborative initiatives, having previously served as the Chair of the Canadian Urban Library Council (CULC) and Co-Chair of the Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA). Paul is looking forward to hearing from the community as he supports the activities of the NHDS.

Paul takes over from Martha Whitehead, the newly appointed head of Harvard libraries. Martha was a key contributor of the NHDS since it began in 2016. We thank her for her tremendous contribution and wish her the best in her new role.


The Steering Committee is also excited to start its new term. In late 2019, the committee welcomed 10 new members, and retained 13 others. The complete list of Steering Committee members is on our website. We also created a Technical Working Group to provide technical advice and guidance to the Committee.


Resources – We recently collaborated on two documents and we invite your feedback: a literature review on digital preservation formats and a digitization best practices document summarizing existing digitization standards and resources.

Digitized newspapers — We have posted digitized copies of the Nunatsiaq News. This is the final title digitized under our newspaper digitization pilot project.

RightsStatements – We named two Canadian members to the Working Groups. Sarah Severson, will be part of the Statements Working Group and Sascha Adler will be part of the Technical. The NHDS also contributed to the French translation of RightsStatements. This version is open for public consultation until June 24th.


World Digital Library – NHDS representatives attended the “The World Digital Library in a Global Context” meeting in the Netherlands earlier this year. The meeting explored options for the future of the World Digital Library, and Pangia, a proposed global, interoperable digital library. We continue to monitor and contribute to these discussions.

Congress of the Association des archivistes du Québec (AAQ) – NHDS members were happy to participate in the Congress of the AAQ. It was an opportunity to talk about our work, answer questions and gather feedback.

Metadata Summit – The NHDS Technical Working Group has started planning a metadata summit. This GLAM-wide event will help us as a community identify common issues of interest and learn more from each other. Stay tuned for more details.


You can be part of the NHDS by:

  1. Learning more about us on our website;
  2. Pledging  your support;
  3. Sending us your thoughts about any of our work ( ).

About the NHDS – The NHDS is a growing coalition of memory institutions working together to leverage expertise and resources to support the digitization, preservation and discovery of Canadian documentary heritage.