Friday, 4 May 2007

Canada's Federal Genealogy Strategy

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and their Canadian Genealogy Centre (CGC) are good reasons for a genealogist to live in Ottawa. From a national perspective they have simply the best collection of genealogical and related resources. The knowledgeable and usually helpful staff can be reached by telephone at 1-866-578-7777 (toll free in Canada and the US). There are good research and meeting facilities. Their web site has a selection of free online resources serving wherever the web reaches, still, nothing like the range conveniently available on-site.

CGC have a lot to offer. I'm a booster, but don't hesitate to express what I hope is constructive criticism. For example, look at the main page of the web site and you'll see statements of mission, vision and policy. That's content that only a policy wonk could love. It's not what a typical user comes to the site to learn. I'm told a new front page presentation is coming soon.

What are the organization's plans for development? There is a Genealogy Strategy in the works. In the meantime the official word is in the LAC Report on Plans and Priorities 2007-2008. It's full of bureaucratize and non-specific commitments.

Whatever the Strategy eventually says, the fact is that when it comes to what most genealogists would like, more digitized content online, especially major records like the census, city directories and newspapers, LAC and the Department of Canadian Heritage mostly choose not to fund it. That's despite genealogy being the largest user group. CGC/LAC struggles to find external funding sources for digitization projects that usually have other agendas.

1 comment:

Hana Hruska said...

Thanks for the moral support for genealogy at Library and Archives Canada (LAC)getting funding!

FYI, LAC's Genealogy Strategy should be posted on the Canadian Genealogy Centre web site by the end of May. Happy to receive comments on its implementation, next steps, etc. from your readership.

Hana Hruska, LAC