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Our Programs

Licensing and Negotiations

Working with librarians, researchers, administrators, funders, and publishers, CRKN undertakes large scale licensing of scholarly content for academic institutions in order to expand research capacity in Canada. Currently, CRKN negotiates and manages over 50 licenses on behalf of its member institutions.

Preservation and Heritage Collections

CRKN provides access to over 60 million pages of Canadian documentary heritage through the Canadiana and Héritage collections and preserves this heritage through the Canadiana Trustworthy Digital Repository (TDR), ensuring its integrity and accessibility as technologies change over time. CRKN also provides digitization services to our member and stakeholder community, providing best-quality digital reproductions of materials that adhere to metadata and technology standards.

Financial Oversight and Sustainability

CRKN’s professional finance staff, under the policy framework maintained by the Finance & Audit Committee (FAC), continue to administer over $130M in annual expenditures on behalf of member institutions. The FAC also reviews and supports CRKN’s internal risk management framework and budget development and monitoring process. This includes recommending budget and fee models which support CRKN’s ongoing sustainability, and projecting budget decisions out over a five-year horizon.

Statement on COVID-19

CRKN is fortunate to benefit from a flexible work arrangement, strong financial expertise, and resilient staff and committee members who have continued to keep our organization running smoothly. These traits were certainly highlighted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the announcement of the first Ontario lockdown in March 2020, which affected the majority of CRKN staff, CRKN immediately moved into a remote work arrangement. With remote work already a feature of CRKN’s office planning, staff were well-equipped to complete nearly all their duties from home. Despite the rapid transition to a new work environment and, for some, the challenges of working from home, the flow of CRKN business remained uninterrupted thanks to the flexibility and commitment of our team. 

CRKN was also able to continue its governance activities uninterrupted. A pre-existing model of holding committee meetings via video teleconference, and the quick action of staff to convert the 2020 CRKN Conference and Meeting of the Members to a virtual model, meant that committee business and member voting could take place on schedule. We thank our Board, committee, and task group members for their unwavering support of CRKN during this uncertain year.

Meanwhile, CRKN prepared for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on member institutions. In collaboration with global consortia, information was shared with members in March 2020 on increases to the accessibility of vendor content. Foreseeing budget impacts on member institutions, CRKN targeted and achieved significant cost reductions and open access options for 2020 license renewals. Additionally, to provide support for member staff unable to complete their usual duties due to library closures, CRKN launched the CRKN Transcription Project. This pilot transcription crowdsourcing project provided engagement for member staff while enhancing discoverability for hundreds of pages of the Héritage collection.

Ultimately, financial sustainability was the backbone supporting this work. To prepare for the 2020-2021 financial year, the Finance and Audit Committee and staff developed two budgets – a COVID-19 budget taking into account current realities, and a budget forecasted for a typical financial year. With a widened perspective on budgetary possibilities, staff could make informed decisions on CRKN operations, and members and stakeholders could feel confident that CRKN had prepared for every possibility.

CRKN joins our community the world over in looking with hope towards a future after COVID-19. We are grateful to have weathered a global pandemic unscathed, and to be able to serve our membership confidently no matter the circumstance.

Meeting our Strategic Objectives

Transforming Scholarly Communications

The work of CRKN is integral to Canada’s scholarly communications landscape. Over the past year, we negotiated cost savings and increased open access options for our members, and built the groundwork for future initiatives that will increase accessibility to scholarly and heritage content throughout Canada and the world.


2020-2021 was a landmark year for CRKN’s licensing program, which was strongly supported by bold objectives from members, dedicated leadership from the Content Strategy Committee (CSC) and Board…

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The Canadiana collections saw major improvements and enhancements throughout 2019-2020. The Early Canadiana Online portal and other thematic portals were integrated with Canadiana to create a single access point for published documentary heritage available through Canadiana.

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Heritage Content Priorities Task Group (HCPTG) Final Report

The Heritage Content Priorities Task Group (HCPTG) released its Final Report in January 2021.

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Increasing Discoverability of the Canadiana Collections

A significant priority this past year has been increasing the discoverability of the Canadiana collections by incorporating enhanced metadata into library discovery systems.

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Platform Development

The development of the Canadiana access and preservation platform is guided by Platform Technical Task Group (PTTG) who helped form the technical development roadmap that includes community and user generated features and ensures the sustainability of the platform.

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Digitization and Preservation Services

CRKN provides full lifecycle support for members and stakeholders wishing to digitize, host, or preserve their documentary heritage material.

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Trustworthy Digital Repository

CRKN established the Canadiana Trustworthy Digital Repository Audit Group (CTDR AG) in February 2021 with a membership drawn from member institutions and other stakeholders.

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Decolonizing Metadata

CRKN is committed to working collaboratively and purposefully to decolonize the Canadiana collections by building on the work of other leaders in this area…

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Rights Statement Pilot Project

Accurate and complete rights attributions, as well as information on culturally sensitive materials, are important for researchers who plan to use and re-use content from the Canadiana collections.

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Develop and Foster

As a member organization, CRKN recognizes the importance of partnerships to achieve key goals. Over the past year, we strengthened our relationships with national and international organizations to enrich our network and build towards shared strategic objectives.


CRKN continues to support the development of Canadian infrastructure for open scholarship through our partnership with Érudit.

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This year, CRKN worked with the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) to form a consortium agreement to provide NISO Library Standards Alliance (LSA) membership to all CRKN institutional members, as well as associate members participating in CRKN’s content licensing program.

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CRKN continued its collaboration with the Regional Consortia (BCI, CAUL, COPPUL, OCUL) as we collectively aim to eliminate duplication of licensing efforts and find other ways to improve efficiencies in the work we undertake.

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CRKN continues to participate in the Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) initiative.

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CRKN continued to work with Portage (via NDRIO) to manage the DataCite Canada Consortium.

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In 2020-2021, CRKN continued to support the Canadian ORCID community of practice through the work of the ORCID Canada consortium (ORCID-CA) and the ORCID-CA Governing Committee.

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In 2020-2021, CRKN provided in-kind support to the Pan-Canadian Knowledge Access Initiative (PCKAI), led by Coalition Publica.

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Representing our members, CRKN staff serve on the Advisory Board of the Consortia Collaborating on a Platform for Library Usage Statistics (CC-PLUS) project.

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CRKN, in collaboration with CARL, continued to support investments in open access infrastructure via our partnership with the Global Sustainability Coalition for Open Science Services (SCOSS).

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At the September 23, 2020 meeting of the National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS) Steering Committee, the Secretariat of the NHDS was officially transferred from Library and Archives Canada to CRKN.

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CRKN staff continued to participate in the Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative (COKI).

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CRKN staff participated in meetings with the Linked Infrastructure for Networked Cultural Scholarship (LINCS) project, which will convert and interlink Canadian research datasets on cultural identities and cultural heritage, making them accessible as Linked Open Data for the benefit of scholars and the public.

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Collaborative Advocacy

Over the past year, we continued our work advocating for our members and stakeholders. Using data to provide tangible benefits to our community and leveraging our platform to share their perspectives, we encouraged action locally and across the country.


In 2020, CRKN subscribed to Unsub on behalf of all CRKN members.

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Foreign Exchange Service

In 2020, CRKN again offered its Foreign Exchange (FX) Service, with bid and USD billing options for two products…

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CRKN Conference

The 2020 CRKN Virtual Conference was a milestone event for CRKN, representing the first all-virtual conference CRKN has offered.

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Tony Horava was recognized as the 2020 recipient of the Ron MacDonald Distinguished Service Award.

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During the year, management updated its internal risk management assessment for the effects of the pandemic.

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During the 2020-2021 year, and supported by input from the Finance and Audit Committee, management extended CRKN’s budget model to anticipate the continuation of effects from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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During the year, management continued to advance CRKN’s information security initiatives.

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