Saturday, 18 March 2017

National Heritage Digitization Strategy Update

The following is especially for the attention of directors of genealogical/family history societies across Canada.

On 16 March an update was posted by Sandra Singh, Chair, on behalf of the NHDS Steering Committee.
The strategy was launched at a foundation assembly last October. The steering committee has produced a draft action plan now open for comment.
The update includes "we appreciate the patience demonstrated by our colleagues across the country" which suggests stakeholders are anxious for something beyond organizational process.

A reminder, from the strategy document, that the following goals could be achievable over the next ten years.

90% of all published heritage before 1917 and 50% of all monographs published before 1940;
Focusing on published heritage leverages the roles of generations of editors and cataloguers. It allows for efficient collection management practices such as last copy approaches. Most works published over a century ago are in the public domain; this allows their dissemination through union catalogues or simple web portals. A broad and collective approach to works published prior to 1953 would also help secure the social objectives of legal deposit before it was created in Canada. These objectives also build on past investments made by the library community through Canadiana and its parent institutions.

All scientific journals published by and theses accepted by Canadian universities before 2000;
Preservation and access to collections of scientific publications and scholarly journals is broadly distributed in Canada. This objective would consolidate them and respond to growing demand as the knowledge-based economy expands.

All microfilm from memory institutions;
Microfilm and microfiche digitization maximizes digital output and minimizes costs by leveraging access and preservation investments made over the past 60 years. This will also free up dedicated reading room space, shift printing costs, and reduce consultation equipment.

Selected audio and audio-visual recordings;
A significant portion of our audio and audio-visual recordings are on obsolete analog carriers. Digitizing the most significant ones will reduce the amount of material at risk.
Aboriginal oral histories recorded on analog audio carriers are particularly at risk of disappearing.

Selected archival fonds and finding aids;
Digitization of high-interest archival fonds that are split between various institutions, as well as finding aids, will help plan and/or reduce travel expenses for researchers.

All historical maps;
Historical maps are among the most fragile, precious and significant holdings. Digitizing them is as much a preservation measure as an access one.

All archival material of genealogical interest.
Genealogical resources are the most popular holdings and, therefore, the most likely to interest a private partner.

Directors of genealogical societies, as well as individuals, can help ensure materials of genealogical interest are given appropriate priority by providing comment on the draft action plan as requested by the Steering Committee.

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