Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Government blow to digitization

The following from Michael Geist's blog. I can hardly wait for the opportunity to express my view on this at the ballot box!

"Most of our major trading partners, including the United States, European Union, Australia, New Zealand, and China have already established digitization strategies that feature robust programs and ambitious plans. Those countries recognized that an effective digitization strategy yields significant domestic benefits such as wider access to knowledge for all communities, a greater appreciation of national cultural heritage, and the facilitation of lifelong learning. There are tangible international advantages as well, since digital access supports cultural exports and collaborative scientific research.

Yet the announced cuts move Canada in the opposite direction. For example, just as the government was cutting $11.7 million to the Canadian Memory Fund (which gives federal agencies money to digitize their collections and post them online), the European Union - which is currently led by the Conservative French President Nicolas Sarkozy - was committing nearly $200 million next year alone toward digitization and efforts to provide online access to Europe's cultural heritage. The European Commission has urged its member states to increase their digitization budgets, as Europe works toward the creation of a massive European Digital Library.

These program cuts seemingly guarantee that Canada will fall further behind the digitization race, leaving Canadians without online access to their cultural and historical heritage and doing precious little to promote Canadian content to the rest of the world. The decisions may provide short-term gains among some voting constituencies, but also promise long-term pain for Canada's presence in the online world."

1 comment:

Mary Anne - a former public servant said...

This indeed seems to be a backward step by our *Reform* government. Pity they think everything with Liberal cooties on it has to be reinvented (And I believe it will be - don't worry!)

Having said that, it was under the previous administration that the clever-dicks heading up Canada's Government Online initiative convinced their political masters that it would all be DONE by 2005! ...picture us all vigorously brushing off our hands and going on to the next! NOT!

They never told the truth of these initiatives - that there are millions and millions of pieces of useful data that are nowhere near to even being digitized, let alone posted online. And getting money to digitize data was always a hard sell...