With the headline The memory-keeper's dilemma Saturday's Ottawa Citizen reports on the changes at LAC being implemented following a vision of the requirements of the internet age and the government-imposed 10% budget cut.
The focus of a 21st-century Library and Archives Canada must be to give as many Canadians as possible the chance to access the information they want online.Daniel Caron should go back and read the preface to the Library and Archives Canada Act.
The government agency's research shows that in-person visits to the marble-floored building are down to 2,000 a month, whereas, online visits to the Library and Archives website are at an all-time high, consistently reaching half a million in the same timeframe. Caron's plan is to ramp-up digitization – at the moment, only 5% of the collection is available in a digital format – so anyone, anywhere can see the collection.
To preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations;M. Caron has taken part of one of these "To be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all ..." and chosen to elevate it above the rest. Nowhere does it say that the mandate of the organization is to serve the maximum number of people directly. That's a metric that would appeal to a bean counting economist bureaucrat, one with little appreciation for the work of libraries or archives.
To be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada;
To facilitate in Canada cooperation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge; and
To serve as the continuing memory of the government of Canada and its institutions.
The fact is that most Canadians have never and will never receive service directly from LAC. More often it's through an intermediary as when LAC resources are used in preparing a book, film, radio or TV program, or, increasingly, when LAC information is processed into more accessible formats such as those provided by Ancestry.ca and Early Canadian Online.
Read the Citizen article at: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/memory+keeper+dilemma/6899442/story.html