Genealogy Insider: Canada’s Past in Peril

Genealogy Insider: Canada’s Past in Peril

As Library and Archives Canada faces budget cuts, can a digitized collection and new technology innovations save the records of your ancestors?

Library and Archives Canada (LAC), that country’s national gold mine for genealogists and historians, will see cuts of $9.6 million over three years as part of the federal government’s 2012 budget.

 
LAC will lose 20 percent of its workforce. According to the Canadian Library Association (CLA), it also has ended interlibrary loan participation, trimmed acquisitions, and terminated a funding program for records preservation projects.
 
Archivists from across the country responded with a mock funeral at LAC’s Ottawa archives in June. The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) started a Save Library & Archives Canada campaign and CLA members met with government officials during the association’s annual conference.
 
Minister of Canadian Heritage James Moore believes efforts to digitize LAC’s collection will save money while allowing greater access. In-person visits to the library—about 2,000 in a month—are declining, while its website gets half a million visits per month.
 
Without referring to budget restrictions, the LAC has announced 12 “modern innovation initiatives” designed to “manage [LAC] functions in a way that works for the digital age and meets the needs of Canadians in an information-centered world.” CAUT claims the initiatives will erode LAC’s on-site services and fragment its collection.
 
From the September 2012 Family Tree Magazine.

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