OPL-LAC Service Transition: Newspapers

In an obscure corner of the LAC website is a document Transition 2019 – E-binder. Leslie Weir, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, August 30, 2019. It provides a nearly two years old snapshot of the organization, its scope and a base on which to view subsequent developments.

The Operations Sector is of most interest for researcher clients. An organization chart at the time is here.

I looked particularly at the mention of newspapers.

The Newspaper Strategy section mentions a strategy  not found on the LAC  website.  The considerations section is:

  • Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has a strong retrospective collection of selected Canadian dailies, community newspapers, Indigenous and ethno-cultural papers in print and microfilm; print newspapers do not fall under Legal Deposit (LD) and have not been actively collected, aside from first and last copies, since 2007. LAC purchases microfilm, when it is available, to fill collection gaps. Electronic newspapers fall under LD and have been collected sporadically; this will become more routine once Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) is implemented.
  • The Newspaper Strategy focusses primarily on publications; stakeholder response suggests it should be broadened to include news archives.
  • A newspaper summit is under consideration at LAC. A decision whether to hold a summit, and its format, will be made in the third quarter of 2019-2020.
  • No resource(s) at LAC are dedicated specifically to this file.
  • If decided that newspapers become an area of emphasis, the file will need at least one Full time equivalent (FTE).
  • Digital ingest, access and preservation standards vary amongst multiple stakeholders and communities nationwide.
  • There are many community-based projects underway with their own access points; LAC is working with Ontario Library Association, Archives of Ontario and others, together with TorStar and PostMedia, to provide access to 36 shuttered Ontario community newspapers.

No newspaper summit was held. Apparently little has changed at LAC since this document was written.

The section Digitization mentions

The division is currently composed of 43 indeterminate positions, which are not always fully funded. As a result, it is difficult to plan long-term projects and commit to the Preservation Plan for purposes of long-term digitization.

  • In 2018-2019, DSD produced 5 million digital images from analog surrogates.
  • In 2019-2020, while continuing to serve internal and external clients, digitization efforts are supporting the Indigenous initiatives, litigation cases, the conversion of reference collections into digital format as well as other LAC priorities that may arise.

LAC is conducting less digitization!

A section OPL Collection Preparation and Move mentions that RFID technology will be employed to secure the collection after the move and that “Four Library and Archives Canada (LAC) collections will be featured in the new OPL-LAC joint facility set to open in 2024: Genealogy, Reference, Curated, and Lowy collections. Approximately 150,000 items will be relocated to OPL-LAC’s joint facility.”

A separate section OPL-LAC Service Transition includes in a list of seven projects to be undertaken “Digitization of reference materials: To save space and to enhance access to LAC reference materials in Ottawa and across Canada, LAC is digitizing finding aids, directories, newspapers and other materials.”

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