Wednesday, 14 November 2012

LAC 2012-13 Report on Plans and Priorities: first look

Every year in November government departments and agencies have their Report on Plans and Priorities for the year that started in April tabled in Parliament.
This Wordle gives an overview of the 2012-13 RPP for Library and Archives Canada. In comparing it to that for last year at http://goo.gl/f5zft there is less emphasis on modernization and institutions, more on digital.

The department spending trend in the graph shows a sharp drop in overall spending. Permanent authorities (A-base) has declined from about $102 million to $95 million, part of which is accounted for by a transfer to the new Shared Services Canada department for services provided.

The department defines six program activities, two of which, 'Collaboration in the management of government records", and "Internal Services", see large reductions in 2012-13. There is a smaller drop for "Exploration of Documentary Resources". The program activity "Documentation of the Canadian Experience" sees a continuing increase, and "Preservation of Continuing Memory" a large one-time increase for 2012-13 then declining below the previous level.

What accountability measures are there for the organization?

For strategic outcome "Canada's continuing memory is documented and made accessible to current and future generations", a performance indicator of "Percentage of the collection used by clients" is selected but will be of little value for the near future as a baseline figure is to be set in 2012–2013, and it will only be measured every 2-3 years.

For the program activity "LAC's collection is relevant to and representative of the Canadian society" the performance indicator is "Percentage of users who consider that LAC's collection represents Canadian experience", but again the target is "Next Survey will be conducted in 2013–14".

A specific target mentioned for 2012–2013 is to migrate more than 40,000 hours of audiovisual recordings in 2012–2013 to digital file formats to ensure their continued accessibility.  Will LAC report on the extent to which this is achieved?

A program activity of most user interest is "Canadians have access to Canada's documentary heritage". There are two performance indicators.

First, "Level of client satisfaction with modernized services across channels" has the targets "By March 2013: In-Person: 80%; Telephone: baseline; Mail: 80%; Online: 75%; At exhibitions: baseline".

Second, "Percentage of clients who report being able to find what they are looking for by channel" with targets "Online: 60%; In-Person: 60%. Baselines by March 2012 for telephone and mail channels."

Comment

60% is a very modest target for user satisfaction in finding what they're looking for, more like aiming to achieve mediocre performance.
As so much emphasis is placed on digitization it's reasonable to ask why there is no more commitment to it evident than for the conversion of audiovisual recording. There was a time when LAC released lists of its digitization priorities. Why no longer?

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