08 December 2018

Library and Archives Canada News

At an event at Library and Archives Canada on Wednesday afternoon it was revealed that the project to image the First World War service files cost about $20 million. A total of 622,290 files were processed, so about $32 per file. That's about a dollar a page, perhaps a bit less. Digitizing original paper records isn't cheap, especially the large format pages like pay sheets that have to be straightened and imaged individually.

The total was spread over four or five years, $4-5 per year. Will that level of commitment be continued? The statement was made the LAC's future will be increasingly online and that data mining will be supported. So far I'm told that the digitization priority is indigenous peoples records which will cater to a small yet important minority in Canada. Will there be anything for the rest of us to look forward to, in addition to the much overdue 1926 census and free access to the sixty million pages originating at LAC of canadiana.ca starting 1 January 2019?

On the margins of the meeting I was told by a usually reliable source that FamilySearch has made progress in machine reading handwriting and to expect product to become available sometime next year.

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