Saturday, 11 December 2010

Library and Archives Canada services information teleconference

I attended an LAC teleconference held on Thursday, December 9, 2010. This was billed as an information session for former Service Advisory Board members. Most participating were from the genealogical community. Jean-Stéphen Piché opened the meeting and introduced the new assistant deputy minister for LAC's Resource Discovery Sector, Cecilia Muir.

One of the more substantive topics was on initiatives the organization is developing on resource discovery. LAC is looking to increase the way it works with like-minded Canadian memory institutions, as demonstrated with the co-production of the "Lest We Forget" initiative; to improve and streamline online resource description, including working with other Canadian institutions on federated search, and; to optimize service channels through a tiered approach based on the level of expertize needed to address the issue - from simple (such as clarification on filling out a form) to complex (such as consultation with a topic expert.)

Cecilia Muir reported on LAC's thinking regarding further consultation. There will be a services advisory board, but composed of perhaps a dozen members as the present 30+ is considered unwieldy. The board grew as attempts were made to be more "inclusive." LAC also plans to convene advisory groups on other aspects of its programs within the coming year.

None of the managers present answered when asked why there have been no consultation meetings for users of 395 Wellington. Similar organizations, such as NARA (the report on their latest meeting is here, and  TNA (report here) find such meetings helpful in keeping communication channels open.

Some members of the board expressed concern that meeting agendas had not given members the opportunity to express their views, and have discussion on, items not proposed by LAC. There was also concern with the limited feedback given and to what extent the advice provided actually had any impact.

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