Applicant guidelines

The National Heritage Digitization Strategy Funding Call

1.      General information

This document provides information to assist organizations in preparing an application for funding under the National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS) funding call.

The NHDS encourages organizations considering an application to contact the Secretariat before submitting their applications to discuss their project ideas and eligibility. Please contact the NHDS at

2.      About the National Heritage Digitization Strategy Funding Call

2.1 Objective

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is the lead institution for administering the National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS) funding call. This funding initiative aims to digitize and make accessible Canadian documentary heritage material by providing required funds. Funding is available in the form of a contribution for projects that support this objective and meet the criteria described below.

2.2 Eligible recipients

Eligible applicants include:

  • Libraries, including public libraries
  • Archives
  • Historical societies
  • Universities and colleges
  • Library, archival and museum associations
  • Museums with an archival component
  • Genealogical organizations
  • Provincial/territorial and municipal government institutions
  • Institutions with an archival component
  • Indigenous organizations
  • Indigenous government institutions

Ineligible applicants include:

  • Individuals, collectors, creators
  • Businesses and for-profit organizations
  • Federal government institutions
  • Federal Crown Corporations
  • Non-incorporated non-profit documentary heritage associations/organizations

2.3 Eligible projects

To be eligible projects must:

  • Focus on digitizing analogue documentary heritage collections of national significance, while also addressing access and the preservation of the digitized objects.
  • Include content by or about Canadians.
  • Follow digitization, preservation and metadata best practices.
  • Agree to place metadata in the public domain and make the digitized objects publically accessible, within ethical, cultural and legal constraints.

Projects need to be completed by August 31, 2019. There will be no multi-year funding arrangements.

2.4 Eligible expenses

  • Eligible expenditures for general administration including, but not limited to, office supplies, long-distance telephone calls, postage, project management fees, messenger services (may not exceed 15% of the contribution provided);
  • Salaries and wages associated with an NHDS-funded project;
  • Costs associated with consultants;
  • Costs associated with Indigenous elders, including travel costs;
  • Professional costs for digitization; and
  • Hospitality costs associated with a project such as small gifts (under $100) to elders for Indigenous projects, where appropriate.

Ineligible expenses include:

  • Costs to support the continuation of activities already underway and/or costs related to day-to-day operations such as office space rent/lease, overall management, heating, and maintenance of systems/equipment;
  • Costs association with the development of standards, performance and/or other measurement activities;
  • Training, competency and capacity development activities;
  • Project expenses that are incurred prior to signing the contribution agreement;
  • Costs associated with the purchase and/or rental of equipment and software for the purpose of conversion, digitization, preservation and cataloguing;
  • Costs associated with 3D scanning and digitization and/or digitizing research and scientific data;
  • Exhibition costs;
  • Hospitality, other than the exception list in the section above;
  • Professional costs for conservation/preservation treatments and for increasing preservation capacity;
  • All travel expenses, other than those involving Indigenous elders (includes consultants); and
  • Taxes (for those organizations that are entitled to a tax credit or reimbursement).

2.5 Payments and funding limits

Funding decisions will be based on project assessment criteria (see section 4.2), and will be limited by the funding available, and program priorities. Requested funding may be modified following the review of projected expenses (see section 4 for more information about project assessment).

Please note:

  • Contributions will be a maximum of $100,000 per project.
  • There will be no multi-year funding arrangements. Applicants must complete their projects by the end date.

Organizations will be subject to a 15% holdback. To receive the balance of the contribution, recipients must submit an Interim report to receive the remaining funds.

2.6 Deadline

The deadline for submitting completed application packages is June 12, 2018, before 12:00 p.m Pacific Time. The application platform will not accept proposals after this deadline.

2.7 Additional funding conditions

Applications for funding are subject to the Access to Information Act, the Privacy Act and the Official Languages Act. While the Government of Canada supports the development of official language minority communities in Canada and promotes the recognition, use and advancement of English and French in Canadian society, NHDS-funded projects do not need to be presented in both English and French.

Recipient organizations must use the following text to publicly recognize, in both English and French, the financial assistance received:

This project was realized as part of the National Heritage Digitization Strategy of Canada thanks to the generous support of a private donor. / Ce projet a été réalisé dans le cadre de La Stratégie de numérisation du patrimoine documentaire du Canada grâce à un don généreux d’un donateur privé.

This acknowledgement must appear in all promotional and program materials, website, social media, etc.

Please note:

  • All funding decisions of the Librarian and Archivist of Canada are final and not subject to review or appeal.
  • Before project funding is provided, the recipient organization must sign a contribution agreement with LAC.

3.      Completing the Application

3.1 Required Documents

All application packages for NHDS funding must include the following information to be considered complete. All application packages must be submitting using the Online Application Portal. The necessary components include:

  • Application Form;
  • Project Budget Form;
  • Project timeline;
  • Supporting documentation.

Incomplete applications cannot be submitted. They will not be assessed and are be considered ineligible.

When preparing the budget, please note:

  • Total project revenues must equal total project expenses;
  • All contributions from the applicant, partners, and any other public and private sources must be clearly identified as revenues;
  • Although the NHDS call does not reimburse in-kind contributions, the applicant organization must declare them in the total cost of the project to help determine the maximum financial contribution that NHDS may provide.

3.2 Supplementary information

Applications must include an evaluation strategy that clearly articulates qualitative and/or quantitative project outcomes and the methods to measure these.

4.      Application Assessment

4.1 Evaluation process

The NHDS External Advisory Committee will assess the applications and provide recommendations to the NHDS Steering Committee who will make the final decisions, subject to LAC’s legal and legislative authorities.

4.2 Project Assessment Criteria

The National Heritage Digitization Strategy Content strategy will be used to help prioritize projects and determine the eligible amount of funding. In particular, priority will be given to projects that are:

Representative Projects that reflect Canada’s ethno-cultural, geographic and/or linguistic diversity.
Collaborative Projects that use partnerships to maximize efficiency and knowledge sharing and to leverage existing infrastructure.
Rigorous Projects that are practical, cost-effective, and based on standards as well as widely accepted best practices.
Open Projects that commit to making content available to the public, within ethical, cultural and legal constraints.
Impactful Projects that have wide appeal, are unique, and/or are particularly relevant to a specific field of study.
Sustainable Projects that address the long-term digital preservation of material.

4.3 Method Used to Calculate Contribution Amount

The Program will ensure that the contribution amount is the minimum amount required to meet the Program objectives. The Program uses comparisons with similar projects, and recommendations from internal financial and subject matter advisors and the External Advisory Committee for the evaluation of the project budget



An organization that submits an application for funding.


An organization responsible for maintaining records of enduring value (of individuals, families, or organizations or communities) and housing archival collections.


A transfer payment subject to performance conditions specified in a funding agreement. A contribution is to be accounted for and is subject to audit. The recipient will be required to report on results achieved.

Contribution agreement

A legal document between a department and a contribution recipient that describes the obligations of each party.


The process of converting analog records into digital format. The process broadly includes: selection, assessment, prioritization, project management and tracking, preparation of originals for digitization, metadata creation, collection and management, digitizing (the creation of digital objects from physical originals), quality management, submission of digital resources to delivery systems and into a repository environment, and assessment and evaluation of the digitization effort.

Documentary heritage

Publications and records of interest to Canada.


Documents related to the project and made available to the public, such as documentary heritage, catalogues, synopsis, brochures, pamphlets, etc.

Genealogical organization

An association that promotes the study of ancestry.

Federal government institution

Any department, organization or agency within the federal government.

Historical society

An organization that seeks to preserve and promote interest in the history of a region, a period or a subject, typically focusing on a province or a community. It often has collections of artifacts, books and records.

In-kind contribution

A donation to a project by an individual, business or organization of materials, goods, services or time that would otherwise have been paid for by the recipient. Such a contribution is provided without any expectation of compensation or remuneration. It involves non-cash asset transactions (for example, securities, land, buildings, equipment, and use of facilities, labour, and goods). To be eligible as an in-kind contribution, the donation must:

  • be essential to the project’s success;
  • represent an expense that would not otherwise be incurred and paid for by the recipient as part of the project;
  • be mentioned in the recipient’s contribution agreement, documented and recorded in the recipient’s accounting books;
  • be reasonably estimated at fair value on the date it is made, using either market value or an appraisal; and
  • contribute to the total cost of the project but not be reimbursable, as no monies change hands.

Museum with an archive

A museum with a significant archival component, or a museum and archive that are a single institution.


Results of an effort to attain a goal. They are the external effects or consequences of the project that are considered significant in relation to its initial commitments. Outcomes must be measurable and may occur within organizations, communities and individuals. They may relate to behaviour, skills, knowledge, attitudes, values, conditions or other attributes. While there is less degree of control over outcomes, there should be a direct relationship between outputs and outcomes.


A partner must be a documentary heritage organization that meets the Program eligibility criteria, and that agrees to pool efforts and resources with others to achieve a common objective while keeping its independence. Organizations are not recognized as partners unless they contribute directly in cash or in-kind to the accomplishment of the project.

Library, archival and museum associations

Incorporated bodies that represent the interests of archivists, librarians, historians, authors or information managers and/or that are dedicated to their professional development.


An organization that receives financial assistance.


A set of activities or functions that a recipient proposes to undertake with the financial assistance provided by a department. A project has a clear start and end date, occurs within a reasonable period, and demonstrates measurable outputs and outcomes.

Performance measures

Indicators that provide qualitative and/or quantitative information needed to measure the extent to which a project is achieving its intended outcomes. Qualitative data can be expressed in terms of change or comparison between two states, while quantitative indicators can be in the form of a ratio, percentage, comparison or figure.


Most immediate results of a project. Outputs are the direct products or services produced and delivered to a target group or population, such as an exhibition, the preservation, digitization/conversion and access to a collection, a workshop or seminar, etc.


A group of people with an arrangement of responsibilities, authorities and relationships (corporation, association, institution, etc.).


An organized collection of published materials, including books, serials, sound and video recordings, and other formats.