Sunday, 29 May 2016

User Priorities, Impressions and Ideas for Library and Archives Canada

Back last summer, just before the election, I was one of 28 people consulted by Nanos Research for Library and Archives Canada, 19 in focus groups, 9 by telephone consultation. Genealogists accounted for 11 of those involved, the others were described as walk-ins.

The purpose of the qualitative research was to gain insight from clients concerning the products and services offered by LAC, as well as clients’ impressions and recommendations, to aid in the organization’s future planning.

All involved were clients of LAC who use the facility at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa. Another much more extensive online survey addressed the views of the larger community of users.

The bottom line, as summarized by Nanos, was:

Satisfaction – The qualitative research suggests that users were satisfied with the overall quality of their recent interactions with LAC. Regarding LAC services, the research suggests that they met or exceeded users’ expectations.

LAC’s Primary Responsibilities - Users believe that LAC’s primary responsibility should be to acquire new materials, followed by ensuring access to collections (ranked second and third place).

New Fonds Priorities - In terms of priorities for future funding to acquire and preserve new fonds to add to the collection, users believe that fonds relating to Aboriginal Peoples (ranked first and second place) are the top priority followed by fonds relating to Atlantic, Western, and Northern Canada.

Digitization Priorities - Finding aids were users top priority when it comes to future digitization efforts by LAC, followed by military information, and genealogical information.

In addition Nanos choose to highlight the following individual comments:
“I am very satisfied; however, there is some work to be done in terms of teaching individuals outside of Ottawa about LAC. Given the current funding of the services offered, I think it is normal to have the quality of services we have.”
 “The LAC charges the same to a multimillion dollar company as it does for civilians. I know the LAC is all about access; however publishers can afford to pay more.”
and the following as top user comments

  • LAC should make digitization a top priority (4 of 22)
  • There should be better parking and access to the facility (3 of 22)
  • Awareness of LAC services, especially outside Ottawa, is a priority (3 of 22)
  • Make things simpler for researchers to quickly access materials (2 of 22)
  • Collaborate with other libraries and archives (2 of 22)
It's worth remembering that these are based on a small sample of those who use the facilities at 395 Wellington. I understand the results of the later and larger cross-Canada survey should appear soon.

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