April 15, 2014

A Very Sad Story: The Ottawa Citizen Provides In-Depth Look at Current State of Library and Archives Canada

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The Ottawa Citizen has published a 3000+ word article about a troubled organization, Library and Archives Canada. A very sad story.

From the Introduction:

National libraries and archives are not the sort of institutions that traditionally stir passions. At their best, they go quietly and efficiently about the business of gathering, cataloguing and sharing a nation’s cultural and political history.

And yet librarians and archivists everywhere now find themselves at a crossroads, caught between their mandate to preserve the best of the analogue past, and the growing need to capture the vital ephemera of the digital world, from photo sites to Twitter exchanges between politicians to websites devoted to political movements such as Occupy and Idle No More. Add to this the inevitable constraints in an age of austerity, and you have what appears to be an unlikely scenario for war — over pride, passion, and the very meaning of the past.

Current management, say the legion of critics, has turned a traditionally outward-looking institution into an insular, user-unfriendly place that no longer offers regular public exhibitions and other events that were once a community staple; has become unacceptably slow at responding to any request for information be it from researchers or through federal access to information law, and is allowing artifacts crucial to the country’s history to fall into the hands of foreign buyers or private Canadian collectors.

A “modernization” strategy spearheaded by chief librarian and archivist Daniel Caron is focusing on digital preservation but librarians, archivists and other professionals say LAC isn’t doing that too well either.

Read the Complete Article

The article also inclues two sidebars:

See Also: (Audio) Recent Lecture by Daniel Caron at Harvard

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Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.