Landing : Athabascau University

BoingBoing | "Canada's national archives being dismantled and scattered" [reader submission letter and comments]

The CAUT update, already bookmarked here somewhere, is useful, but I also appreciate the submitter's commentary, especially their focus on the fact that Daniel Caron, who is directing the cuts, has a degree in economics, not history, library science, or archival studies.

The Canadian government is slowly doing away with Canada's ability to access its own history.

Library and Archives Canada's collection is being decentralized and scattered across the country, often to private institutions, which will limit access, making research difficult or next impossible. It should be noted that Daniel Caron, the new National Archivist hired in 2009, doesn't even have a background in library nor archives but, a background in economics.

"The changes and cuts are being justified by reference to digitization. A generous estimate is only 4% of the LAC collection has been digitized to date -- a poor record that will be made worse by the cuts announced on April 30, 2012, which reduced digitization staff by 50%."

If, as Tamara de Szegheo Lang argued in her talk on queer familial archives this afternoon, the archive should be read as the production of knowledge, not as a respository for knowledge from which it can be extracted, then it's pretty important to know what the archive is actually aiming to produce. 

Obviously they are working hard to produce a bottom line, and the comments that follow suggest, especially as the LAC cuts come at the same time as a federal budget full of very targeted cuts and restructuring and at the same time as cuts to Stats Canada, they're producing only an altered public memory, but a drastically altered public capacity for memory.

Funk Daddy: Since the practical destruction and deliberate takeover of StatsCan I have not been surprised at one thing this govt. has done.

When the first thing a govt does is a takedown the most credible and comprehensive tools for an accurate reflection of the effect and response to it's policies over sizeable timeframes you know you are in for a very rough ride.


See, Mark? I'm not just here to drink and nap. 


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