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Digital and Metadata Initiatives at Library and Archives Canada: New Approaches for a New Institution Dr. Ian Wilson Librarian and Archivist of Canada Canberra, Australia 10 November 2004


Outline Transformation The collections New legislation Challenges The future Questions?


Our transformation into Library and Archives Canada as a new knowledge institution ensures more awareness and better understanding of, and easier access to, Canada’s documentary heritage, the unique record of our experience together. This is critical to respond to the needs of Canada as a successful knowledge society. The Transformation A Leading-Edge Knowledge Institution


Our holdings are complementary and converging The digital environment blurs the distinctions between our holdings Skills and competencies of staff are highly complementary, extremely valuable, and yet underused as a strategic resource Towards A Single Institution It Makes Sense


This initiative is recognized as a first in developed countries Generating a lot of international interest A New Kind Of Knowledge Institution “I believe you are blazing a path that all of us in the cultural heritage field will ultimately follow.” Dr. Robert Martin Director, Institute of Museum and Library Services, USA




19 million books, periodicals, newspapers, microfilms, government publications 156 km of unique textual records 21 million photos; 350,000 works of art Portraits of Canadians since 1710 Canadian theses and dissertations Gigabytes of electronic publications & official records Outstanding collections of Canadian Maps and architectural drawings Film, video, sound recordings & broadcasts Music, stamps, editorial cartoons, posters & pamphlets Both traditional and new media Extraordinary Consolidated Collections


NEW LEGISLATION Library and Archives Canada Act


New concept: Canada’s documentary heritage – includes both publications and records Modernization of mandate Enable collection and preservation of documentary heritage, in any medium Legal deposit to include online publications Authority to archive a sampling of Web sites of interest to Canada The Legislation Protecting Canada’s Heritage


CHALLENGES: A New Approach


Progress to date: Two institutions are combined Legislation is in place to enable web archiving Web archiving pilot 2002/2003 is completed and lessons learned have been shared (Symposium 2003) International partnerships are under consideration Library and Archives Canada is positioned to lead in life cycle management with the goal of improving access to Canadian documentary heritage resources in all formats CHALLENGES: Facing Change


To address the realities of the digital world in which we live, Library and Archives Canada must change and adapt at every functional level – organizationally, technologically and culturally. CHALLENGES: Facing Change


Library and Archives Canada must explore, invest and innovate to realize its vision of the future Digital collections Metadata Service transformation AMICAN CHALLENGES: Catalytic initiatives to lead change


CHALLENGES: The Digital Collections Catalytic Initiative Through this initiative, Library and Archives Canada will develop and implement new methodologies, systems, tools, policies and procedures to streamline and enhance the acquisition, management, preservation and accessibility of Canada’s digital documentary cultural heritage. These efforts will serve to inform a national and global process of partnership and collaboration in the challenge of continuing use of our digital resources.


The Initiative will address: Born digital Canadian documentary heritage including government and private digital records such as textual documents, databases, maps, photos and digital video acquired off-satellite as well as digital publications, theses and websites. Digital copies of analog originals such as audio-visual records, the Canadian Expeditionary Force records of the First World War and the music recordings of the Virtual Gramophone. CHALLENGES: The Digital Collections Catalytic Initiative


Pilot Projects 2004/05 Develop an LAC Digital Content Management Infrastructure: To consolidate and enhance the disparate technical strengths of LAC, this project will address the digital continuum of acquisition and harvesting, storage, housekeeping, preservation, metadata, rights management, security, persistence and access. Acquisition, Preservation and Access to the Canadian Web: This project is intended to harvest and make accessible Canadian websites selected by domain, individually or thematically. Includes cataloguing with “access” level description. Automatic Ingest of Electronic Records and Publications: Library and Archives Canada will launch pilot projects to automate the ingest and receipt of documents along with their respective metadata for loading to corporate digital and metadata repositories. Digitization of high-demand and on-demand collections: To enhance access, this project will reduce redundancy and create cost-saving workflows for digitization, description and re-purposing of resources which are requested by users. CHALLENGES: The Digital Collections Catalytic Initiative


Access is Library and Archives Canada’s primary driver Our goal: harness harmonized metadata and seamlessly deliver the products and services our clients want CHALLENGES: The Metadata Catalytic Initiative


Development of a Metadata Framework Enhancement of Library and Archives Canada’s awareness of current issues and challenges in description: User-focused description Exposing bibliographic and archival descriptions on the Web Study of the integration of externally created metadata Leadership in standards development for records management metadata within the Canadian federal government CHALLENGES: The Metadata Catalytic Initiative


Expected results by March 2005: Identification of elements key to resource description and discovery; linking mechanisms Enhancement of some descriptions by incorporating publisher-provided metadata Alignment of records management metadata requirements with government-wide shared solution and international activities First steps to conceptualization of user-focused descriptions CHALLENGES: The Metadata Catalytic Initiative


Library and Archives Canada’s impact by 2006: A premier source for authoritative, user-focused Canadian information Effective contribution to metadata standards application and development Showcase for Canadian heritage collections and resources by using a collaborative approach to description providing integrated access CHALLENGES: The Metadata Catalytic Initiative


THE FUTURE: What is in store?


Unparalleled access – in breadth and depth – to information about Canada and sophisticated information architecture and systems to support it Client focus – meeting the needs of Canadians with multi-channel service – reaching them where they live (digital content, virtual reference, digitization on demand) with individualized content Innovative programs to make known and interpret our heritage (youth & school material, genealogy, Portrait Gallery) What the Future Holds A Leading-Edge Knowledge Institution


Fostering life-long learning – customized learning experiences tailored to the needs of the learner Partnerships with libraries, archives and museums across Canada to provide access to all of Canada’s documentary heritage Preservation – sustainable solutions to challenges of preservation of the ever-growing documentary heritage of Canada (risk management) What the Future Holds A Leading-Edge Knowledge Institution


What the Future Holds A Leading-Edge Knowledge Institution Advancing nation building – contributing to a strong sense of identity Making a real difference to the quality of life of Canadians Creating and sustaining a nation of learners Contributing in a measurable way to the economic, social and cultural success of Canadian society Our Ultimate Goal




Thank you! www.collectionscanada.ca

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