Thursday, 27 September 2012

Digitization at LAC

Based on information gained from an information request by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) LAC internal estimates indicate that approximately 0.5% of LAC holdings (both textual and non-textual) have been digitized to date.

  • "Based on LAC’s estimated costs for the digitization, from January 2012, we can calculate the following:
    • Digitization of the published books, journals, and newspapers in LAC’s holdings (which in 2004, Ian Wilson indicated numbered about 19 million) would cost between $1.5 billion and $3.5 billion
    • At the current rate of spending on digitization (approx $5 million annually) it would take LAC 300-700 years to digitize its published holdings (acquired pre-2004).

NB: These are only the costs incurred for the physical process of digitizing the material. These numbers do not reflect the time, labour, and technology involved in cataloguing and preserving the material once it has been converted into a digital file format."

This is information from the CAUT September update at

1 comment:

Archivus said...

Clearly, LAC needs to reach out to those in the commercial and non-commercial sectors, create partnerships and find the means to digitize a meaningful portion of its collection. There is still little to attract those (students and others)who need to research subject matter, i.e., the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway, our trade relations with Far East in the 1950s, Arctic exploration, etc. And this is only on the archival side of things ... what about Canadian newspapers and journals that may only be available at LAC? We lag behind other national archives and libraries in this regard, but then I wonder if we still have a "national" archives or a "national" library ... LAC has been gutted and is quickly losing relevance and its expertise in so many areas.I doubt whether the current management and what is left of the staff will ever be able to recover from what seems to be a serious self-inflicted wound.