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What's New

Library and Archives goes digital

For immediate release

Library and Archives Canada Announces
Suite of Digital Services for Canadians by 2017

OTTAWA, December 7, 2010 – Within the next seven years, Library and Archives Canada will put most of its services online, transforming the country’s leading memory institution into a fully engaged digital organization, just in time to celebrate Confederation’s 150th anniversary in 2017.

"Taking advantage of new digital information technologies will change not only the way we acquire and preserve our collection but also how we make it accessible to Canadians." explained Dr. Daniel J. Caron, Librarian and Archivist of Canada. "The digital environment is also providing us with opportunities to enhance our services to other documentary heritage institutions. This makes sense from both the client service and business practice perspectives – to stay relevant, we must move forward."

As part of an overall strategy designed to provide more online public access, LAC will take a multi-faceted approach: adapting services and transforming business processes to make access easier, and increasing online content by switching to digital formats.

Easier access:

  • Digital copiesLAC sends out about 750,000 photocopies each year in response to client requests. Clients are now requesting digital copies. To better respond to these changing client needs and to contribute to the preservation of our country's documentary heritage, clients will now be able to order digital copies of documents found in LAC’s collection. Paper copies will be phased out by April 2011. Digitized documents will be made available through LAC’s web site for repeat requests. By 2012, LAC will start responding to Access to Information requests by producing digitized records for clients.

  • Canadian libraries’ bibliographic information – The National Union Catalogue provides Canadians with digital access to a vast store of information about items in library catalogues from across Canada. In order to make this information easier to access and share, LAC is working with contributing libraries to identify common digital search tools. By 2011, Canadians will be able to access the entire contents of the National Union Catalogue, representing more than 30 million entries, using popular on-line search engines.

  • Electronic theses and dissertations submission program – Electronic theses and dissertations offer unprecedented access to academic research, contributing to Canada’s economic growth and research potential. The Theses Canada Portal at LAC offers one stop shopping for this area of LAC’s collection, but many universities still provide their documents in paper form. By 2014, LAC will only accept theses and dissertations from Canadian universities in electronic form, saving money in the operation of the program and offering more comprehensive access.

Increased online content:

  • Digitized content – Over the next year, LAC will double the volume of its on-line content, mounting millions of genealogy images on its website in partnership with Ancestry.ca. For example, by 2011, Canadians will be able to access digitized images of original census documents from 1861 and 1871, which contain the name, age, country or province of birth, nationality, religion, and occupation of Canadians at the time. LAC is also exploring ways to reuse images requested by clients in order to provide a broad range of digital content from the collection online.

New business processes:

  • Government e-records – Governments around the world are moving consistently towards sharing more information with the public in readily accessible formats. By 2017, LAC will acquire and preserve all borne digital federal archival records electronically, making them easier to find and use.

  • Trusted digital repository – By 2017, LAC will preserve digital material through a trusted digital repository that meets international standards. This will safeguard Canada’s digital heritage and ensure that it remains accessible to Canadians in the long term, even after the technology which created it has changed.

LAC will introduce these and other changes gradually and at no additional cost by working collaboratively with other memory institutions, government departments, universities, researchers and the publishing community. More information on these and additional initiatives will be posted to www.collectionscanada.gc.ca as it becomes available.

Library and Archives Canada

The mandate of Library and Archives Canada is to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations, and to be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada. In addition, Library and Archives Canada facilitates  cooperation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge, and serves as the continuing memory of the government of Canada and its institutions.

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For media inquiries, please contact:

Pauline Portelance
Media Relations Officer
Library and Archives Canada
819-994-4589