Acquisitions Advisory Committee

Acquisitions Advisory Committee

Acquisitions Advisory Committee


The mandate of the Acquisitions Advisory Committee is to provide advice and recommendations on acquisition policies, strategies, orientations, plans, tools, and select acquisitions, taking into account Library and Archives Canada’s (LAC) mandate and major client groups.


The Committee members represent diverse perspectives from across Canada, coming from the archival, library, museum, academic, Government of Canada, historical, and art history communities.

LAC has three ex-officio members: the directors general responsible for Private Archives, Government Records and Published Heritage.

The committee is chaired by LAC’s Chief Operating Officer.

Catherine Arseneau Beaton Institute
Gwen Bird Simon Fraser University
Tim Cook Canadian War Museum
Michèle Dagenais Université de Montréal
Victoria Dickenson Volunteer
Anne Dondertman University of Toronto
Robin Jarvis Brownlie University of Manitoba
Michel Lalonde University of Ottawa
Michel Lessard Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Ian Milligan University of Waterloo
Marianne Scott Friends of Library and Archives Canada
Pierre Gamache Library and Archives Canada
Chantal Marin-Comeau Library and Archives Canada
Robert McIntosh Library and Archives Canada
Normand Charbonneau Library and Archives Canada


The committee meets a maximum of 4 times per year, with one in-person meeting annually.

Meeting in Ottawa on January 13, 2016

  • Agenda, January 13, 2016
    8:45 a.m. – 9:00 a.m​ ​Greetings
    9:00 a.m. – 9:20 a.m.​ Welcoming remarks and Terms of Reference Normand Charbonneau
    Chief Operating Officer
    9:20 a.m. – 9:40 a.m.​ Introduction​ All participants​
    9:40 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. ​LAC's Acquisition Domains ​Pierre Gamache
    Director General, Operations Integration
    Chantal Marin-Comeau
    Director General, Evaluation and Acquisitions
    Robert McIntosh
    Director General, Task Force on Government Records
    10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.​ Break​
    ​10:45 a.m. – 11:20 a.m. ​Policy Framework on Evaluation and Acquisition Lucie Séguin
    Director general, Strategic Research and Policy
    Dara Price
    Director, Strategic Policy and Advice
    11:20 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Private Archives Acquisition Orientation Antonio Lechasseur
    Director, Culture and Society
    ​12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Lunch​
    ​1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Documenting the Web Tom Smyth
    Manager, Digital Capacity
    ​2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Political and Governance Records Elizabeth Mongrain
    Manager, Political Affairs and Governance
    3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Break
    ​3:15 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Reappraisal Program for Government Records Tina Lloyd
    Project manager, Reappraisal
    4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Conclusion and next meetings Normand Charbonneau
  • Summary of discussion, January 13, 2016

    Attendees: All members were present for this inaugural meeting.

    • 1. Introduction
      Mr. Normand Charbonneau, Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Operating Officer at Library and Archives Canada (LAC), welcomed the committee members to the first meeting of the Acquisitions Advisory Committee (AAC). This committee is the second of three committees established to provide LAC with an outside view on key areas of its own mandate. One committee is dedicated to Services (first meeting held in December 2015), one to Acquisitions and the last, to be launched in 2016, will be dedicated to Public Programming.

      Mr. Charbonneau advised that, although members sit on the committee as individuals, they are encouraged to share documentation with their colleagues and professional associations.

    • 2. Published Heritage Acquisition at LAC
      Mr. Pierre Gamache, Director General of Operations Integration, gave a presentation on the acquisition of published heritage. Members were particularly interested in the application of legal deposit regulations to web content. Members encouraged LAC to consider expanding its theses program.

    • 3. Private Archives Acquisitions at LAC
      Ms. Chantal Marin-Comeau, Director General of Evaluation and Acquisitions Branch, gave a presentation on the acquisition of private archives. Members pointed to the common issues of formats and readability in acquisition and the need for innovative solutions to address them. They also underscored the importance of collaborating with donors prior to the transfer of documents. Members sought clarification about LAC's collaboration with other archives and the National, Provincial and Territorial Archivists Council (NPTAC), and about the concept of national significance. Ms. Marin-Comeau gave additional details on a project with NPTAC member organizations to develop "best fit" guidelines for placing records in appropriate repositories. Members of the committee were especially interested in First Nations archives as an area of focus and in pursuing initiatives related to oral history archives at the national level.

    • 4. Government Archives Acquisitions at LAC
      Mr. Robert McIntosh, Director General of Government Records Branch, gave a presentation on the acquisition of government archives. Members were interested in the particular context in which government records are acquired by LAC and stressed the need for a broader view of the information lifecycle in the government context. Mr. McIntosh reiterated the importance of LAC in the Government of Canada context and its role in Open Government initiatives.

    • 5. Evaluation and Acquisition Policy Framework (EAPF)
      Ms. Lucie Séguin, Director General of Strategic Research and Policy, and Ms. Dara Price, Director of Strategic Policy and Advice, presented the principles and key elements of the revised Evaluation and Acquisition Policy Framework. Members inquired as to how LAC intends to collaborate with other memory institutions. The presenters explained that such collaboration is usually already in place among professionals when LAC receives offers of donation, whether by informal phone inquiry, referrals, exploring alternative access options, etc. Members sought clarity on the concept of complementarity of collections. They discussed the possibilities digital archives afforded for innovative practices in areas such as indexing and cross-referencing material. LAC underscored its commitment to partner with other organizations for acquisition and other purposes.

      The committee explored the concept of national significance together with the regional significance of some federal government records. Members also discussed the importance of balancing the wishes of donors of archives with those of users of archives. The committee recommended that capacity be a consideration, not a principle, and that access also be included in the framework.

      Action item: LAC accepted the committee's recommendations and will amend the current EAPF accordingly.

    • 6. Acquisition Orientation
      Committee members questioned the division of acquisition fields and the relative importance of some facets of Canadian society, as well as how First Nations were presented in the model. Discussions focused on the contemporary nature of the model and its potential for political bias. They also wondered how user requests were taken into consideration and about LAC's approach for seeking donations. Committee members recommended that social media also be reflected in the Acquisition Orientation. Finally, the committee recommended that the Orientation be renamed "Acquisition Strategy".

      Action item: LAC agreed to revise the Acquisition Orientation document to reflect the discussions.

    • 7. Web archiving
      The committee inquired as to whether LAC intends to document the broad Canadian web domain and how copyright and access would be handled in this case. They were also interested in how LAC documents the perception of Canada elsewhere and encouraged LAC to collaborate in university-led initiatives aimed at reducing the duplication of efforts. Technological obsolescence, disappearing websites, opportunities for improved presentation of archived websites, and frequency of website captures were all discussed. The committee supported the collection of materials by Aboriginal authors, newspaper comments sections, and twitter feeds related to key events.

    • 8. Political Archives
      The committee was in favour of LAC being as proactive as possible working with Cabinet and public service officials to preserve political archives. Members were curious about the criteria used to offer LAC's deposit service to politicians, and about the relationship between House of Commons records and political archives.

    • 9. Reappraisal Program
      Committee members suggested ways of avoiding potential pitfalls regarding reappraisal. The possibility of relocating records of regional interest with partners in areas outside the National Capital Region was discussed, as well as the use of sampling techniques and research use as a criterion for reappraisal. Members suggested the possibility for LAC to engage with citizens or former public servants to assist in reviewing material. The Committee concluded that, while LAC was not obliged to consult or inform stakeholders of the reappraisal of collections, it should be mindful of the possibility of negative reactions to this activity.

    • 10. Conclusion
      In a final roundtable, the committee members expressed positive feedback about the inaugural meeting and the topics covered. They insisted on the need for a more transparent relationship between LAC, its partners and users.

      Mr. Charbonneau thanked members for their contribution to what were valuable discussions and reaffirmed LAC's commitment to consider the different points of view that were expressed.

The next meeting is scheduled to take place in June 2016.

Contact Information

Should you have questions, comments, would like to obtain a document presented during one of these meetings, please contact us at:

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