04 March 2020

LAC 2018-19 Departmental Results Report

Finally, after much delay, the government got around to tabling the annual results reports in the Commons last week. They are normally tabled in the fall, but the election and Christmas/New Year recess meant an exceptional delay. It did not seem as if accountability was a priority even though the reports must have been prepared on the normal timetable.

Providing access to documentary heritage
As in previous years, the focus of this post is the section of the report on the service it supplies to users.

The word cloud shows a big focus on indigenous and digital.

LAC met or exceeded four out of five departmental result indicator targets.

However, the one where it fell behind Amount of Library and Archives Canada holdings digitized for access it did so by a big margin. The target was 10 million images, the achievement was 4.8 million. A footnote explains that — "With the completion of the CEF files digitization project in August 2018, digitization activities have slowed down. The digitization of Indigenous content requires much more extensive research, preservation, description and consultation."

Given the importance of making LAC materials more widely available across our vast country though digitization this must be counted as a significant failure. It's not as if there's a lack of material to digitize. Many newspapers in the LAC collection are unique. Having completed the WW1 service files project LAC has/ or had, equipment, expertize and staff that could have been deployed. Sadly LAC management appears unwilling to allocate the resources necessary.

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