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Canadiana.org

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Canadiana.org is a website also known simply as Canadiana. It grew out of the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions, a non-profit, non-governmental organization whose goal was to make Canadian sources widely accessible,

History

The Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions was founded in 1978 by the Canada Council on the basis of the recommendations of the Commission on Canadian Studies. The Commission, in turn, was appointed by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, an association of institutions of higher learning. Its report was published under the title To Know Ourselves. On the one hand, this drew attention to the deteriorating condition of the archival records, and on the other, it drew attention to the fact that they were difficult for most students and scholars to access, as they were and still are scattered in numerous archives across the vast country. Initially, therefore, the older items in particular were to be collected from Library and Archives Canada as originals or copies. This vast collection was spread over a total of 85 libraries and was visited by more than 100,000 users per year. President in 2012 was Lynn Copeland, Simon Fraser University, in 2015 this position was filled by Leslie Weir, University of Ottawa.

Early Canadiana Online (ECO) is a digital collection of more than four million pages of sources catalogued in ten digital collections. The associated database was built in 1999 by the University of Toronto’s library, the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. A search engine was programmed at the University of Waterloo.[1] Initially, four main topics were entered. These were English Canadian literature, travel and discovery, women’s history, French Canadian history, and aboriginal history. Meanwhile, Jesuit relations, the Hudson’s Bay Company archives, early official Canadian publications, then newspapers, medical journals, and the Governor General’s papers are added. The material has grown to some 60 million pages, spread across 33 research institutions and accessible to the public through search screens.

Literature

  • N.N.: Preserving and Providing Access to Canada’s History. The Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions at 25 Years, 2003.

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Notes

  1. Val Ross: Step right on-line for your early Canadiana, in: Globe and Mail, 6 October 1999.