23 March 2020

In charge of the world's third largest national library

The McGill News Alumni Magazine runs a friendly profile of Librarian and Archivist Leslie Weir in its March issue.

One question was pointed:

Only about 2.5 percent of the LAC’s holdings have been digitized to date. Why is that?

The response set me back.

Year upon year our analog collections keep increasing, which is why we never seem to be able to move the digital percentage very far above about 2.5 or three percent of our collections. We're hoping that will plateau in 2030, as we start receiving what people call big data, because more and more of our [government] records will come in digital form.

I hope 2030 is a typo. LAC has been working for several years on receiving new materials in digital form. If 2030 is correct a more complete explanation is due.

Another reason, as pointed out previously, could be that LAC's Departmental Plan 2020–2021 reduces the target for images digitized below that achieved in recent years.

The "result indicator" for "Amount of LAC holdings digitized for access" shows a target of 3.5 million images. Compare that to the achievement of 4.8 million images in 2018-19  (the last year reported),10.2 million images in 2017-18 and 9.3 million images in 2016-17. The target for 2019-20 was 10 million.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A little context for The Librarian... As early as 1975 the Machine Readable Archives Division of the then National Archives was responsible for the appraisal, acquisition and preservation of nationally significant social science research datasets.