31 March 2013

Library and Archives Canada Report on Plans and Priorities 2013-14

The Library and Archives Canada 2013-2014 Report on Plans and Priorities has now been tabled in Parliament, along with those for many other departments and agencies. It shows actual spending, $120.3 million for 2012–2013, falling to $98.3 million in 2013-2014.
Last year's RPP showed human resources as stable at 1,117 Full Time Equivalents, but we were told to expect a 20% staff cut as a result of last year's budget. That would be 894 FTEs. The cut turns out to have been 23%, with this year showing 860 FTEs and expected to be stable for the next three years.
Each year I produce a Wordle showing the RPP's most used words. This the word modernization is entirely absent, it had ranked with documentary and information two years ago warranting 61 mentions which reduced to 28 mentions last year. Modernizing, modernized, modernize and modern are each mentioned once. Again this year there is no mention of genealogy, newspapers are mentioned once in connection with a storage facility. The phrase whole-of-society has come into fashion appearing 14 times.
Last year I wrote that "The section of most interest to clients is Resource Discovery" and the RPP explained that "LAC understands that its clients expect to have access to Canadian documentary heritage when, where and how they want it." I doubt clients needs have changed but Resource Discovery is out, mentioned only once "LAC will put in place an institutional discoverability policy that will address resource discovery issues and the specific policy instruments that are needed as a framework for the approach." In this inferno of frameworks and policies have pity on the front line employees attempting to deliver real resource discovery and access service to real people.
What service can we expect? Performance indicators and targets are supposed to be the benchmark of service.
The expected program outcome "LAC's collection is relevant to and representative of Canadian society" targets that 75% percent of users will consider that LAC's collection represents Canadian experience by March 31, 2015.
For fiscal year 2013–14 LAC targets 75% client satisfaction with the level of services provided through their preferred channels, specifically modernized online services.
For the same period they target 60% of clients being able to find what they are looking for online. As less than 1% of LAC material is online that seems like a hugely ambitious target.

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