Post Tagged with: "lac"

google book search notification at Art & Architecture library, Duderstadt Center by Timothy Vollmer (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/42Ls8i

Canada’s National Digitization Plan Leaves Virtual Shelves Empty

Imagine going to your local library in search of Canadian books. You wander through the stacks but are surprised to find most shelves barren with the exception of books that are over a hundred years old. This sounds more like an abandoned library than one serving the needs of its patrons, yet it is roughly what a recently released Canadian National Heritage Digitization Strategy envisions.

Led by Library and Archives Canada and endorsed by Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly, the strategy acknowledges that digital technologies make it possible “for memory institutions to provide immediate access to their holdings to an almost limitless audience.”

Yet it stops strangely short of trying to do just that.

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July 26, 2016 8 comments Columns

The Untold Story Behind the LAC-Canadiana Digitization Plan

The need for a large-scale Canadian digitization strategy has been readily apparent for many years, with experts repeatedly pointing to the benefits that would come from improved access to Canadian history and culture. While other countries have marched ahead with ambitious projects that often incorporate historical text records, photographs, and video, Canada has fallen behind. 

Library and Archives Canada, which is charged with preserving and making accessible Canada’s documentary heritage, has led the digitization effort, but most of its work over the past decade has failed to bear much fruit.

Given the past disappointments, my weekly technology law column (Toronto Star versionhomepage version) notes the launch a massive new digitization project should have been a cause for celebration. Last June, the LAC and Canadiana, an alliance of public and academic libraries focused on digital preservation, announced plans to digitize and create metadata on 60 million historical Canadian documents. The documents are currently in microfiche and the project envisions digitizing the images and adding transcriptions and metadata (data about data content) to improve their searchability.

Yet as the details of the project dubbed Héritage leaked out, controversy arose with concerns that the historical documents would be placed behind a paywall that would require individual Canadians to pay monthly fees for access. That generated a significant outcry from many groups, with then-Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore assuring the House of Commons that the new head of LAC would closely examine the project.

After the outcry subsided, however, H̩ritage began to proceed largely as planned. The key supporters of the project РCanadiana, the major library associations, and the LAC Рtried to assure critics that their concerns were unfounded, promising to make the digitized microfiche copies freely available to all and restricting additional fees to value-added services such as transcription or metadata. However, newly obtained documents under the Access to Information Act raise troubling questions about public access and promises of exclusivity made by the LAC.

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October 1, 2013 12 comments Columns

The Untold Story Behind the LAC-Canadiana Digitization Plan

Appeared in the Toronto Star on September 28, 2013 as The Untold Story Behind Canada’s Digitization Plan The need for a large-scale Canadian digitization strategy has been readily apparent for many years, with experts repeatedly pointing to the benefits that would come from improved access to Canadian history and culture. […]

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October 1, 2013 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

Library and Archives Canada Delays Paywall Plans

Library and Archives Canada has delayed plans for a major digitization initiative with Canadiana.org. The plans leaked online earlier this week, attracting considerable criticism for the creation of a paywall.

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June 12, 2013 2 comments Must Reads

Federal Librarians Muzzled Under New Code of Conduct

The National Post has a disturbing story on a new code of conduct at Library and Archives Canada, which appears to muzzle librarians, going so far as to describe teaching or speaking at conferences as “high risk”.

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March 18, 2013 7 comments Must Reads