09 June 2012

Archivists react to changes at LAC

The annual meeting of the Association of Canadian Archivists taking place in Whitehorse, Yukon, heard from Cecilia Muir, COO at Library and Archives Canada in place of Daniel Caron. A rather poor quality audio of her address, and the following Q/A session is available at http://www.mediafire.com/?897x4x1h7evewxl

Here is a selection tweets from the session, latest first.
From the reaction at an archives conf this am, archivists may soon be added to Harper enemy list see 4 hours ago#aca2012
Muir talk - Liked what (think it was M Gourlie) commented - "I thought I was part of a network, and not being guided by LAC." #ACA2012 
Way more engery from #olita and #aca2012 tweetstreams than from #CLAOTT2012's 
Agonizing address opened the day. LAC rep's talk promoted solidarity by inducing rage in nearly everyone. Even outsiders like me! #ACA2012 
Actually, correct that. I'm angrier that LAC agrees with aligning digitization choices w/ Gov of Can priorities (ie: war, nat'lism) #aca2012 
What made me angriest at #aca2012 plenary was assumption that archivists aren't open to change and we only want status quo #aca2012 
Muir: LAC choices on cuts were made "on priorities & core mandate" & w/ "reasoned & informed decisions to address fiscal reality" #aca2012 
Sounds like there's a hardcore smack down going on in Whitehorse at the #aca2012 conference. Clearly LAC abdicated their national leadership 
If PCDHN fails, it's because it was never anything but a rubber stamp on (bad) behind-closed-doors LAC schemes. 
If the PCDHN fails, could be due to the archival community not participating (Muir). Urges ACA to reconsider decision to pull out #aca2012 
Cecilia Muir: crowd-sourcing replaces archival description; TDR becomes people-focussed = LAC advocating return to oral culture 
#ACA2012 speaking truth to power 
Still reeling after today's plenary Q&A. Incredible. #aca2012 
Feeling enervated after the plenary today. Want to storm a fortress or a government building. Probably won't. #aca2012 
However, this just confirms my feeling that we need to figure out next step after #trek2012. #nadp #aca2012 #lac 
Wow. MT @mandahill: Muir - it's LAC's job to serve the govt, not provide leadership to the prof. community (or to stand up for it) #ACA2012 
Thanks for the support! RT @Hollingergirl: At #aca2012 archivists in black arm bands and sporting blue triangles in protest if #NADP cuts. 
LAC has lost its soul & its way. It's now an Orwellian cliché which somehow manages to be both irrelevant & incredibly dangerous. 
Feeling my rational perspective... slipping away! Oh no! I've transformed into an activist! How will I do my job effectively?! #aca2012 
You know archivists R angry (perhaps transforming into irrational activists?) when they start pounding the tables in response 2 Qs. #ACA2012 
#aca2012 plenary session. Much anger at Library and Archives Canada today. 
I was also fond of Muir's comment that LAC is taking a "simplified approach to description" Really? What does that mean? #aca2012 
@LibraryArchives If yr content doesn't fit the gov'ts commemorative agenda are U ineligible 4 funding + not welcome collaborators? #aca2012 
 I <3 Cdn archives. Atrocious that #LAC has abdicated all leadership in favour of pleasing the gov't of the day. #aca2012... 
Feeling angsty after reading all the #aca2012. 
Well, since I didn't get to ask my Q, @LibraryArchives could you please take all mention of "pilot project" off your site? @aca2012 
The tweets from #ACA2012 are remarkable; passion & frustration. Need to bridge this chasm. Need to engage Muir & Caron & LAC meaningfully 
So much doublespeak at #aca2012 which quote is my favorite? "There are other archival funding sources in the country". Really? #confused 
"No more questions please." But at least Muir came to answer our questions. I admire her fortitude. #aca2012 
Muir- we are putting resources to best fill our core mandate. #aca2012 
Muir- it's LAC's job to serve govt, not to provide leadership to the professional community (or stand up for it) #ACA2012 
q:why no phase-out? Why wasn't there any advance warning?Muir:we didn't know for certain until budget out 
GOOD, the archivists are a proud - and passionate - lot. We take our responsibilities v. seriously - unlike LAC. #aca2012 
Yikes, things are getting heated here. Don't appreciate Muir's attitude #ACA2012” Muir attitude: from patronising to hostile 
Muir-archival network is too dependent on LAC to operate - needed to be cut off #ACA2012 simply astounding 
#aca2012 Has anybody asked about NADP cut in light of 2010 audit finding it to be, in plain terms, totally fucking awesome on all fronts? 
LAC clearly does not value the archival system. At all. #aca2012 
Muir: "Stop asking why it isn't the way it used to be" and "we (LAC) can't be activists." #aca2012

It is clear that the LAC leadership have no claim to be acting as archivists or librarians, rather they are loyal public servants implementing the orders of their political masters. If told to eviscerate the organization they would apparently go about doing that with utmost efficiency.

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