08 November 2009

LAC departmental performance in perspective

Every year around this time a report is issued for each Canadian federal government department providing information about departmental performance and spending compared to the plans and expected results laid out in their annual departmental Reports on Plans and Priorities.

The report for Library and Archives Canada, just released, is at www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/dpr-rmr/2008-2009/index-eng.asp?acr=1493.

The report has some impressive figures. LAC is custodian of 22 million books, periodicals, newspapers, microfilms, literary texts and government publications; 167,000 metres of government and private textual records; 3 million architectural drawings, maps and plans; 25 million photographs, etc.

Focusing on the genealogy items from the report:

LAC Web traffic for genealogy purposes rose to approximately 144 million page views from 132 million in 2007–08.

Collection activity addressed demonstrated areas of interest among Canadians (e.g., expansion of online records for genealogy use).

Expanded genealogy online resources and databases generated significantly more LAC website traffic.

Re "a Canadian Digital Information Strategy" - Partnership with The Generations Network for digitization and access to federal records of interest to genealogy.

Re AMICAN - A full set of genealogical resources added to the LAC Web search functions available to Canadians.

LAC Genealogy Strategy
With support of partners, databases of genealogical importance (e.g., censuses, passenger lists, immigrants from China) were added. Page views on the LAC website rose by 62% over 2007–08, driven by the demand for genealogy materials.
Strong demand for in-person services and support to people doing family research.
Canadians are benefitting from LAC’s commitment to respond to client and citizen interest, particularly in genealogy and for education purposes, and to provide timely responses to Access to Information and Privacy requests.

There was a 26.6 percent growth of on-site visitors to the Canadian Genealogy Centre (CGC) and an increase of 75 percent in page views of our genealogy website during 2007–2008.


144 million of the 176 million total LAC page views for 2008-09, the vast majority, are for genealogical purposes. That's nearly 82%. Presumably a lot of these are displays of images of original records, censuses, passenger lists, attestation papers, etc. A substantial 7.7 million of the page views were to the Canadian Genealogy Centre website, but evidently most of the genealogical use of LAC online resources comes directly from an external partner or other referrer.

There seems to be some mix-up in the numbers. A bar graph on page 3 of the report shows the page views on the LAC website increasing from 112 million in 2007-08 to 176 million in 2008-09. That's a 57% increase, not 62% as stated.

Also, it's far from evident how LAC Web traffic for genealogy purposes could have been 132 million in 2007–08 when the total LAC page views that year were 112 million!

Although 100 million page views plus is impressive, according to alexa.com the LAC website at collectionscanada.gc.ca ranks 13th within the gc.ca domain accounting for 1.6% of the total traffic. The first three are cic.gc.ca, jobbank.gc.ca and weatheroffice.gc.ca.

According to alexa.com the whole gc.ca domain gets fewer page views than ancestry.com.

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