Monday, 9 April 2012

Look again LAC

"Family history now figures on the agendas of Government departments in a way that was scarcely imaginable then. All ***** record-holding institutions—local and national archives, libraries and private institutions—have now recognised that genealogists are one of their largest constituencies, and they are providing dedicated research rooms, personalised consultations, expanded finding aids and, above all, digitised records."
Nobody would write those words in praise of Library and Archives Canada.

They are written about Ireland, ***** stands for Irish, and "then" refer to twenty years ago and the first edition of John Grenham's book Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, the fourth edition of which has just been published.

Those words are from an item Twenty-year stocktaking on Grenham's blog for the Irish Times. The article ends:
Even in the last four years, profound changes have taken place in the link between Irish research and the internet. Before then, any online transcripts of records were piecemeal and amateur—very welcome, but afterthoughts to the main business of hands-on research in Irish repositories. Now the internet is at the heart of any Irish family history.
It's time Library and Archives Canada looked again at it's approach to genealogy and how it serves this largest and important sector of it's clientele.

2 comments:

Archivus said...

Thank you for your incisive comments about LAC and genealogy. It seems to me that genealogical initiatives at LAC are separate from other archival and records acquisition activities. Until they are merged or, at the very least, coordinated, valuable records will not be acquired. Those in the genealogy centre and archivists should be working together for the benefit of LAC's key user group ... I suspect they are not, but the lead should really come from senior management. It is time for them to step back and take a good look at what LAC has done, is doing and should be doing for the genealogy community in Canada.

Anonymous said...

As a researcher for the past 20 years who consults LAC collections regularly, I've only noticed only a few staff members who work at the genealogy centre. I suppose they've been hit by massive cutbacks over the past couple of years. Certainly something is going on behind the scenes giving rise to the odd change of hours.

From my own experience of lodging a complaint about the LAC website, it is certainly senior management who have dropped the ball. Whatever priorities the senior management have, the clients who use their LAC-luster website, and those at 395 Wellington, are certainly on the bottom of the list.