Friday, 10 December 2010

Library and Archives Goes Digital: LAC Announce Suite of Digital Services for Canadians by 2017

The following is a press release from Library and Archives Canada:

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- 12/09/10 -- Within the next seven years, Library and Archives Canada will put most of its services online, transforming the country's leading memory institution into a fully engaged digital organization, just in time to celebrate Confederation's 150th anniversary in 2017.
"Taking advantage of new digital information technologies will change not only the way we acquire and preserve our collection but also how we make it accessible to Canadians." explained Dr. Daniel J. Caron, Librarian and Archivist of Canada. "The digital environment is also providing us with opportunities to enhance our services to other documentary heritage institutions. This makes sense from both the client service and business practice perspectives - to stay relevant, we must move forward."
As part of an overall strategy designed to provide more online public access, LAC will take a multi-faceted approach: adapting services and transforming business processes to make access easier, and increasing online content by switching to digital formats.

Easier access:

--  Digital copies - LAC sends out about 750,000 photocopies each year in
    response to client requests. Clients are now requesting digital copies.
    To better respond to these changing client needs and to contribute to
    the preservation of our country's documentary heritage, clients will now
    be able to order digital copies of documents found in LAC's collection.
    Paper copies will be phased out by April 2011. Digitized documents will
    be made available through LAC's web site for repeat requests. By 2012,
    LAC will start responding to Access to Information requests by producing
    digitized records for clients.

--  Canadian libraries' bibliographic information - The National Union
    Catalogue provides Canadians with digital access to a vast store of
    information about items in library catalogues from across Canada. In
    order to make this information easier to access and share, LAC is
    working with contributing libraries to identify common digital search
    tools. By 2011, Canadians will be able to access the entire contents of
    the National Union Catalogue, representing more than 30 million entries,
    using popular on-line search engines.

--  Electronic theses and dissertations submission program - Electronic
    theses and dissertations offer unprecedented access to academic
    research, contributing to Canada's economic growth and research
    potential. The Theses Canada Portal at LAC offers one stop shopping for
    this area of LAC's collection, but many universities still provide their
    documents in paper form. By 2014, LAC will only accept theses and
    dissertations from Canadian universities in electronic form, saving
    money in the operation of the program and offering more comprehensive
Increased online content:
--  Digitized content - Over the next year, LAC will double the volume of
    its on-line content, mounting millions of genealogy images on its
    website in partnership with For example, by 2011, Canadians
    will be able to access digitized images of original census documents
    from 1861 and 1871, which contain the name, age, country or province of
    birth, nationality, religion, and occupation of Canadians at the time.
    LAC is also exploring ways to reuse images requested by clients in order
    to provide a broad range of digital content from the collection online.
New business processes:
--  Government e-records - Governments around the world are moving
    consistently towards sharing more information with the public in readily
    accessible formats. By 2017, LAC will acquire and preserve all borne
    digital federal archival records electronically, making them easier to
    find and use.

--  Trusted digital repository - By 2017, LAC will preserve digital material
    through a trusted digital repository that meets international standards.
    This will safeguard Canada's digital heritage and ensure that it remains
    accessible to Canadians in the long term, even after the technology
    which created it has changed.
LAC will introduce these and other changes gradually and at no additional cost by working collaboratively with other memory institutions, government departments, universities, researchers and the publishing community. More information on these and additional initiatives will be posted to as it becomes available.

Library and Archives Canada
The mandate of Library and Archives Canada is to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations, and to be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada. In addition, Library and Archives Canada facilitates cooperation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge, and serves as the continuing memory of the government of Canada and its institutions.


The announcement says "most of its services," presumably meaning more than 50%.  What is that figure now? How is it being measured? 

Already at The National Archives in the UK 221 documents are provided virtually, online through the Documents Online service, for every one produced physically. I understand that does not include information provided through partners such as 


Anonymous said...

What ACC objectives are obtained by the inclusion in this post of the one word links 'Canada' and 'environment'?

Anonymous said...

This press release from LAC is surprising in view of Dr. Caron's testimony on November 30 (as mentioned in this blog's post of December 7 - "LAC fails on consultation") and copied here from the more recently available edited transcript:

"but we aren't engaged in digitization projects."

"We aren't involved in an extensive digitization project."

"but we're not involved in digitization projects."

In repeating three times LAC's present non-involvment in digitization projects, Dr. Caron seems to be very certain of this. It will have to change soon if the predictions of the LAC press release are to come true.

WJM said...

How are they going to engage researchers and users?

Do they value our potential contribution? At all?