Thursday, August 01, 2013

Outsourcing History

On June 17, 2013, SLIS assistant professor Michael McNally and Carolee Pollock from MacEwan University appeared on Alberta Primetime to discuss Library and Archives Canada (LAC)'s recent decision to outsource its digitization project to, a private company. According to Canadiana, the project is a:

10-year initiative to digitize and make accessible online some of Canada’s most popular archival collections encompassing roughly 60 million pages of primary-source documents.

 In the wake of the decision to outsource the project, questions about access to the archival materials abound. Given that Canadiana is a for-profit business, what are the implications for Canadians who want access to the digital archives? How much validity is there in the claims that taxpayers will be paying again for something they've already paid for? Does outsourcing this project raise the possibility that the digital artifacts will only be available to those who can pay for access?

McNally and Pollock share their thoughts here.