Alouette Canada’s Official Launch

Alouette Canada, a collaborative open digitization initiative from many of Canada’s leading academic libraries, had its official launch today.  This is an exciting development that has the potential to bring thousands of Canadian titles to the Internet.  In order to bring millions of titles to the Internet, however, it seems to me that we need to expand Canada’s fair dealing provision and convince the federal government to provide some backing to a national digitization project that has as its mission digitizing all Canadian works, not primarily those in the public domain.  Such an approach is hardly unique – with the commercial digitization backed by Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft as well as the public digitization programs in Europe taking flight, Canadian content will be relegated to digital obscurity if Canada fails to move quickly.


  1. And….
    We also need not only a bulwark against term extension, we need certain existing terms (hellow, term for unpublished works by authors who died in the fifty years before 1999) to be rolled back, the fringes of term, where it can’t easily be determined on the facts, to be trimmed, and Crown copyright to be severely curtailed, if not outright abolished.

    That would help kickstart the digitization effort.

  2. Exciting? More like completely vacuous.
    After reading what you wrote, I visited the site and grew more and more frustrated. No where to do actually say what they plan to archive. Instead, plenty of hopelessly broad terms like ‘cultural heritage’ and ‘knowledge resources’ are tossed about, with the odd meaningless term like ‘regional synergies’ thrown in for good measure.

    Even more ridiculous is the ‘contribute a project’ link. What’s a project? Don’t ask me, and they’re not telling either. They ask for a description, but give no clue what it is they’re looking for.

    I’d estimate more than half the text on the site is given over to in-depth bios of many of the 38 members of the seven listed committees running this organization.

    The charter projects committee is of the most interest to me. The first two points on their mandate list are “To develop a work plan to implement and manage the digitization activities that will achieve a comprehensive, collaborative, accessible and linked digital collection” and “To refine the criteria regarding selection and process for the above content”

    If they’re working at refining the criteria regarding the selection of what they want to include, it sounds like they have some idea of what it is they want to include. Would it be so hard to give *us* an idea?

    If they want us to buy into it, they need to tell us what it’s about. After reading your post and then seeing their site, I feel like I saw an advertisement for a fabulous store, and arrived to find the place just having the carpet installed with no merchandise to be seen.

    Putting up a site and plastering it with vanity photos of the committee members is ridiculously premature given that they seem to have no idea what the archive will include.