Monday, 30 January 2017

Could LAC digitize one item per resident per year

For a small country, only a bit over 3 million population, the National Library of Wales has big plans. The new strategic plan, Safeguarding Wales’ Culture and Heritage for All: Moving the National Library Forward 2017 – 2021 calls for 15 million items to be digitized in five years. That breaks down to one item per year for each resident.

In Canada that same commitment would see 36.5 million items digitized by or on behalf of Library and Archives Canada each year. How's it going?

LAC's flagship digitization project, the service files of Canada's  640,000 men and women who served in the Great War, will see 32 million images digitized over 5 years. Another total 40 million pages of archival material on microfilm have been digitized by partner Canadiana.ca since 2005, and 3 million by Ancestry.ca. The numbers are updated from a May 2016 speech Saving the world: one record at a time by the Librarian and Archivist of Canada. It's probably missing some items, like photos.

The NLW has already digitized and made searchable 1.1 million newspaper pages which is 1.1 million more than LAC.

In his May speech  Dr. Guy Berthiaume said "Business is digital, government is digital, and, to put it bluntly, Canada is a digital nation.". Will LAC's digital initiatives match those of Wales? In numbers, what is LAC's goal for digitization of Canada's heritage?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If you expect LAC to focus on digital, I fear you will be disappointed. Despite some progress on the FWW files, its painstakingly slow.

LAC is still focused on analogue. Just look at its plans:

1) Build a new glorified super warehouse with robots in Gatineau. It will store boxes. Cost - almost $250M
2) Co-locate its Library storefront with the City of Ottawa in a new library facility. Cost - looks like around $70M
3) Propose to use the old US embassy for the portrait gallery. Cost - who knows.

Meanwhile, back in digital land, LAC can't even receive electronic files from the Government's standard recordkeeping system (and were called out for this by the OAG in 2014).

I'm just saying - don't hold your breath!