Wednesday, 9 March 2016

LAC Report on Plans and Priorities 2016-2017

On Monday the President of the Treasury Board tabled Reports on Plans and Priorities (RPP), Main Estimates, 2016-17 for 84 federal departments and agencies including Library and Archives Canada.

The RPP deals with funding and what will be achieved. It shows total forecast spending for 2015-16 to be $98,091,551 which increases to
$116,858,567 in 2016-17. However, that increase comes with significant new responsibilities for costs associated with the management and maintenance of special-purpose storage facilities that were previously funded by Public Services and Procurement Canada (formerly Public Works and Government Services Canada.)  Making allowance for that I'm told by LAC financial staff that the budget remains much as last year with some internal reallocations, such as occur with sunsetted programs and that routinely occur mid-year adjustments. No adverse impact on LAC services are anticipated.

No changes in staffing, which constitute a large part of the budget, are planned.

Highlighted below are some items in the RPP of particular interest to the genealogical community.

In his introductory message Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada places emphasis on serving Canadians in a spirit of co-operation.
"LAC will work with its partners to develop and implement a national acquisition strategy that places greater emphasis on the principle of territoriality, especially with regard to documents related to First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. Our partners will also help to roll out the National Heritage Digitization Strategy, designed to enable Canada to take its place among the leading industrialized nations with respect to the provision of digital access to the defining elements of its heritage."
Other initiatives highlighted are: minimizing access restrictions to government resources and making them available in a timely fashion; taking full advantage of social networks, offering quality public programming and faithfully adhering to our policy of lending documents to other organizations for exhibition purposes; continuing the $1.5 million Documentary Heritage Communities Program.

The RPP announces four new organizational priorities.

Priority 1 is to be an institution fully dedicated to serving its clients, all its clients: government institutions, donors, academics, researchers, archivists, librarians, students, genealogists and the general public.
Planned initiatives include providing greater access to documentary heritage through digitization initiatives and by increasing online content and the number of online research aids (ongoing) and; adopting a new integrated library management system to better address the needs of users and the Canadian library community (from April 2016).

Priority 2 is to be an institution that, drawing on the strength of its entire staff, is at the leading edge of archival and library science and new technologies.
Planned initiatives include to implement LAC’s Digital Strategy, particularly the adoption of a Digital Curation Platform; to play a key role in the development of descriptive standards to support the discoverability of documentary heritage and; ​to implement its long-term infrastructure plan, including planning for the construction of a new state-of-the-art preservation facility, while administering its special-purpose facilities.

Priority 3 is to be an institution proactively engaged with national and international networks, in an open and inclusive way.
This will include establishing a National Digitization Strategy with key partners and continuing the  Documentary Heritage Communities Program.

Priority 4 is to be an institution with greater public visibility highlighting the value of its collection and services.
This will include mounting exhibits and contributing materials to other's exhibits, online and social media initiatives and, to maintain a strong, active presence by renewing the service offering in the regions (as of January 2017).

Reiterating some of the items above, key activities planned for 2016–17 within Access to Documentary Heritage, of most interest for genealogists are:
  • Increase access to documentary heritage through digitization initiatives and increasing online content and search tools.
  • Develop dynamic public programming and quality services that facilitate access to documentary resources.
  • Enhance the visibility of the collection by making loans to other organizations for exhibition purposes and establishing partnerships to allow a broader audience to have access to the originals.
  • Contribute to the commemoration of the centennial of the First World War and the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Confederation.
  • Continue the Documentary Heritage Communities Program (DHCP), intended to enable private documentary heritage organizations to preserve and showcase their collections.
  • Continue to provide access to as much content as possible on LAC's social networks: blogs, Podcasts, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, to reach a maximum number of clients and make the collection known.
  • Adopt a new integrated library management system which will meet our objectives in terms of modernity and efficiency and will include a uniform search solution using the latest technological advances.
  • Renew our service offering in the regions in order to provide Canadians with access to LAC's rich documentary heritage.
  • In collaboration with LAC partners, continue digitizing content related to the First World War, the records of members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and newspaper collections.
  • Contribute to Canada's Action Plan on Open Government by providing open data sets, ensuring that access restrictions to records in its collection are lifted and developing the Government of Canada's virtual library. 
  • Ensure systematic access to federal government documents through block review of holdings to determine whether they can be opened for public access.
  • Participate in Government of Canada horizontal initiatives to renew copyright and access to information legislations.
The RPP was referred to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage for study. No date is yet announced for a hearing which would normally involve an appearance by the Minister, likely in conjunction with consideration of reports of other organizations for which the Minister has responsibility.

The report notes that this year’s RPP will be the final submission using the existing reporting framework."In the future, LAC’s report to Parliament will focus to be more transparent on how we are using our resources to fulfill our commitments and achieve results for Canadians. These new reporting mechanisms will allow Canadians to more easily follow LAC’s progress towards delivering on our priorities ..."

1 comment:

Gail B said...

Unless I am missing something, there still is no interlibrary loans of microfilmed newspapers for genealogical searchers. Too bad.

I understand microfilm is a flawed technology, but it has been useful for family historians trying to patch together that death notice, or 'social' pages with full wedding details. ...