Thursday, 13 November 2008

More on the LAC Ancestry.ca partnership

Earlier in the week I blogged on the LAC - Ancestry.ca partnership. It was also announced at LAC's web site.

Several people, myself included, have had questions about the nature and terms of the partnership. The following, from Doug Rimmer, LAC's Assistant Deputy Minister, Programs and Services Sector, provides some clarification.

"We are very excited about this partnership which will allow us to provide much greater access to records than if we simply worked alone.

From the perspective of the census records (which is the starting point for the partnership but not the exclusive focus), we intend that over a three-year period ALL of the publicly available Canadian census records will be digitized, and put online with a nominal index both on LAC's website, free of charge, and on Ancestry.ca's website. It won't all happen at once and some material will show up first on our website (such as the 1881 census) and some will show up first on the Ancestry.ca website. The agreement specifies how and when material (both images and indexes) are to be exchanged between the partners. Each partner is then free to put the material on their site as and when they choose. The reality for us is that LAC might not always post it as soon as possible due all of the other material that is being digitized and put online. We have to balance our priorities and that may mean some material has to wait. Of course, we will be making best efforts to ensure that any wait is minimized but we know that we have a lot of material coming on stream and finite resources.

This agreement meets LAC's goals of free access, non-exclusivity and value to the taxpayer. It is a non-cash agreement in which we are both sharing digital resources but neither of us is paying the other for work that is done. LAC will retain full ownership of its original records (in microfilm and any other format). This agreement will not prevent LAC from continuing to work with other genealogical partners."

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