Friday, 20 July 2007

As others see us

Canada and Australia have some obvious historical and geographical similarities. William Lion McKenzie King's "If some countries have too much history, we have too much geography" applies equally.

The similarities mean that scholarship and public administration benefit from Australia-Canada exchanges and visits. Often the perceptions gained from such visits fly under the radar, certainly for clients. It was refreshing to read a long blog entry by the Curator of Manuscripts at the National Library of Australia who visited Library and Archives Canada in June. Looking though her eyes makes it easier to appreciate some of LAC's strengths, and the issues with different approaches.

I was especially taken with her view of online exhibits which allow LAC to tap funds outside their budget, but need to be managed with care to ensure the organization isn't diverted from its own mission. Would genealogy benefit more if the temptations of such external funding were resisted and less internal effort divert from digitizing major record groups, notably the 1861 to 1891 censuses?

Read the LAC entry from the "Love Archives, will travel" blog here. There is also a posting on the Association of Canadian Archivists conference in Kingston, Ontario earlier in June.

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