Meanwhile, at Library and Archives Canada … neglect

Every article like

Major project to allow digital access to 130 years of The Press archives

is rubbing salt in the wounds of the damage to Canada’s heritage inflicted by years of deliberate neglect of our newspaper heritage by Library and Archives Canada.

The article announces a major addition to New Zealand digitized newspaper content to be made freely available for searching online under a landmark agreement with the National Library of New Zealand.

Now approaching its 20th birthday, the New Zealand Papers Past site has about 30 million page views a year from about two million visitors.

Along with New Zealand, Australia and the US have active free newspaper digitization from the central government. In the UK the British Library has a free legacy newspaper digitization project and has announced some new free content will become available in a new round of digitization in partnership with Findmypast.

As President of the Ontario Library Association in December 2017 Leslie Weir, now Librarian and Archivist of Canada, wrote:

“Newspapers represent the most extensive documentation of a community’s activities. The small weekly rural publication or the long-running daily newspaper in larger urban centres bring forward a community’s priorities and perspectives in a way that no other material can. Local newspapers document the extraordinary stories that define and shape our communities and are, for all intents, historical record.”

What has LAC done on newspapers? No dedicated newspaper specialist! No current newspaper strategy! No mention in organization plans! A small collection of indigenous newspapers digitized funded by external sources.

Shame!

5 Replies to “Meanwhile, at Library and Archives Canada … neglect”

  1. John – I totally agree with you. The lack of any national newspaper digitization plan is a travesty. As noted by Leslie Weir historic local newspapers are a treasure trove of the history of our communities that is crying to be digitized. There is a historic local paper for the old Towns of Mimico, New Toronto and the Village of Long Branch, now part of the City of Toronto that I have been longing to have digitized but alas no resources to do it. There really needs to be a national program to digitize these valuable resources and have the available for free to researchers.

    Michael

  2. This calls for a large push to get the project moving. Could the Historical and Genealogical Socities lead it and call for citizens to sign petitions ?

  3. Our society even offered to pay for the digitization/microfilming of the remaining Carp Reviews, but the archives would not give us access to their copies.

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