22 May 2019

Comments on the LAC 3-Year Plan

This word cloud is based on the new Library and Archives Canada 3-year plan released on 13 May.

After the introductory material, the content is organized by:
Section 1. Our organization, our clients, our employees
Section 2. Our strategic insights: considering current trends and targeting client needs
Section 3. Our strategic priorities 2019–2022
Section 4. Our success: measuring results and impact.

In his Forward Librarian and Archivist of Canada Guy Berthiaume writes:

"I take the main message to be that the relationship between our institution and its users is being radically redefined. The digital revolution has led to the rise of a culture of citizen participation: our users now see themselves more as partners than as consumers of services."


"...under the influence of models developed by Amazon, Google and Wikipedia, our users are now ready to transcribe, translate, tag and describe our documents."

Section 3 sets three strategic priorities.
  • Engaged citizens. Accessible holdings.
    Goal: We will increase access to our collection and expand opportunities for the public to enhance LAC's holdings.
  • Adaptable organization. Sustainable collection.
    Goal: We will steward responsible growth of the collection and implement safeguards to preserve it for future generations.
  • Collaborative efforts. Magnified results.
    Goal: We will seek out and support collective solutions for a more cohesive and impactful documentary heritage community at home and abroad.

Each of these lists strategies to be pursued, 13 in total, including "We will increase access to LAC collections (Government of Canada's records, published heritage, private archives and web resources) and services, both digitally and in physical locations across Canada and through increased and improved public services, exhibits, and events."

The document lists the collection contents, presumably as of 2019:
  • approximately 30 million photographic images
  • 90,000 films
  • 550,000 hours of audio and video recordings
  • 425,000 works of art
  • 20 million publications
  • 250 linear kilometres of government and private textual records
  • 3 million architectural drawings, plans and maps
How much of that is not subject to copyright or other access restrictions? Of the unrestricted remainder how much is online? We don't know, if LAC has that information it's not shared — yet. Measurable performance indicators and quarterly reporting is part of a commitment to transparency and openness in the plan.

LAC is part of the Public Service. Is downloading to clients the work "to transcribe, translate, tag and describe our documents" what public service is about? Success will be dependant on the willingness of partners and clients to do so although there are lessons from the experience at TNA with an innovative approach to digitization of handwritten material. Read How to teach a computer to read. It experimented with a gamification approach.

As Mary Poppins said  In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and - SNAP - the job's a game."

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