Thursday, 22 November 2018

LAC in 2017-2018

Library and Archives Canada's recently issued Departmental Results Report for 2017-2018 documents another year of achievement.

Here's what LAC considers the highlights for the $127,416,749 and 941 FTEs of resources at its disposal.

  • In 2017–18, LAC launched two new major initiatives to preserve and revitalize Indigenous languages and cultures with funds allocated under Budget 2017. The first initiative will focus on digitizing documents in the LAC collection on First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. The second will offer Indigenous communities the support and expertise needed to preserve recordings of Indigenous languages.
  • To support national activities commemorating the 150th anniversary of Confederation, LAC produced #OnThisDay historical capsules that were published daily and viewed by over 10 million people. It also worked with partners to present a wide variety of events and exhibitions, enabling Canadians to discover their rich heritage and gain more self-knowledge in the process.
  • LAC launched Voilà, the new National Union Catalogue library management system. This is a milestone in implementing the new system for managing its published heritage collection.
Without in any way discounting the essential work of other aspects of LAC's operations, necessary for continuing service, the concentration in this post is the activity of Program 2.3: Access to documentary heritage which is of most immediate pertinence for the user community. It accounts for nearly $36.5 million of expenditure, an increase of more than $4 million from the previous year.

LAC is perusing Indigenous initiatives building on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report. An international award given to Project Naming which enables Indigenous peoples to engage in the identification of photographs from Library and Archives Canada is highlighted.  One does wonder why, after the project has been underway for more than a decade it has not been extended to the many other images in the collection with unidentified individuals, alone or in groups, such as those from the FWW and SWW.

Indigenous Canadians are the focus for two other activities. One was a newspaper digitization project undertaken with external funding.
"As part of the National Heritage Digitization Strategy (NHDS), LAC consulted national experts to identify best practices in newspaper digitization. LAC then digitized three series of Indigenous newspapers ("Windspeaker", "Ha-Shilth-Sa" and "Turtle Island News"), a total of more than 1,600 issues. The project was made possible through funding from the Salamander Foundation."
Outreach beyond the National Capital Region is increasing. A significant initiative during the year involved establishing or renewing regional service outlets in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Halifax where approximately 3,000 clients were served, an increase of 48% over 2016–17. That's just part as LAC materials go out to exhibitions, partnerships with institutions large and small Canada-wide increase and online initiatives extend service wherever there's an internet browser.

According to a Results Achieved summary the amount of material downloaded by clients on LAC's website was 10.1 million files, just exceeding the target. That's a decrease from the previous two years. However, how seriously can these statistics be taken when the target in the previous year report was 100 million files and the actual result that year reported as more than 90 million!

Again this year there is no mention of the largest client group, family historians, and Indigenous newspaper digitization is the only mention of newspapers or directories.

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