Sunday, 16 July 2017

Library and Archives Canada: DHCP for genealogy

In June I posted on awards through the LAC Documentary Heritage Communities Program. Thanks to an access request I've received information beyond that given in the funding announcement for 35 projects approved and funded in 2017-18. The new information is a brief description of each project.

Somewhat surprisingly only one, from the Manitoba Historical Society, uses the word geneal*. Here's their summary.

Manitoba Local Histories Digitization Project
This project aims to digitize hundreds of Manitoba’s local histories and make them accessible online, not only for native Manitobans, but for all Canadians with ties to the province. The Manitoba Historical Society, in partnership with its fellow members of the Manitoba Library Consortium, will locate and digitize approximately 400 volumes that detail the genealogical and geographic histories of the people and places of Manitoba throughout its history. These local histories will then be uploaded to Manitobia, a website devoted to providing access to digitized resources documenting Manitoba's heritage, such as local newspapers and an already existing collection of local histories, in addition to the Manitoba Historical Society website. This project aims to augment this existing collection of local histories through the compilation of a list of resources yet to be digitized, ensuring the clearance of copyright for those resources, scanning the books, appending metadata to the scans, performing quality assurance procedures on the content, uploading the content to Manitobia and the Manitoba Historical Society websites, and promoting the completion of the project widely. The final result would be a highly accessible and discoverable online resource to facilitate for all Canadians the searching and browsing of a key component of Manitoba 's documentary heritage, in a year in which many Canadians will celebrate this sesquicentennial by learning more about themselves through researching their genealogy.

Several other projects deal with topics of genealogical interest, interpreted to include family history. Many mention digitization, but too many without a commitment to online access. It's as if they never heard that "if it's not online it doesn't exist" and want to do their bit to retain the ability to say "not everything is online." In the words of the description above too few emphasize making the material "highly accessible and discoverable." 

DHCP should make it a requirement that projects funded make their materials broadly discoverable beyond the physical organization and its own website.

It was disappointing that none of the projects funded were for newspaper digitization. There were projects for digitization of photographs from newspaper collections.

Genealogists, LAC's largest user group, want access to digitized and OCRd newspapers. While it's possible no such projects were proposed I doubt it. I'm awaiting information on projects not funded and live in hope for a Canadian coordinated newspaper digitization program.

1 comment:

Lesley Anderson said...

John, glad to see you are just as passionate about newspaper digitization and I fervently hope that LAC does something about their own newspaper collection!

What about this - couldn't we round up 100 of us and ALL ask LAC for access to their original newspapers (I for one would like the Bobcaygeon Independent) and have it digitized through their new camera project like you did for those weather documents? I asked over 10 years ago and was able to still touch it and take pics of it. There were binders on the 2nd floor which indicated all of the original copies they had. It's so frustrating - We've been waiting and waiting for the purchase of an oversized camera/process to preserve this excellent resource, but at some point they will simply say "too bad for you, its too fragile to digitize"! Wondering why they didn't budget for this...