Infographic - Evaluation of the Access to Documentary Heritage Program, 2011–2012 to 2015–2016

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Program Description

The purpose of the Access to Documentary Heritage Program is to promote Canadian documentary resources and to make them readily available to Canadians. The program consists of two main areas of activity.

The first is related to the description and contextualization of documentary heritage. This process includes activities through which documentary heritage is described, organized, structured, inventoried, digitized and interconnected to facilitate access. The main sub-activities include description itself, finding aids, indexing, block review (i.e.: to eliminate access restrictions to government records) and digitization.

The second area of activity is related to Public Services and consists of reference, information, consultation, reprography, research services and website services. The Public Services is offered a diverse range of clients and through multiple channels, including in person, by telephone, by mail or email and via the Internet.

Annual financial resources of access program

This table shows the Access to Documentary Heritage Program financial resources between 2011-2012 and 2015-2016.
Fiscal year

Financial resources

2011–2012 $36,826,100
2012–2013 $35,649,500
2013–2014 $31,959,088
2014–2015 $33,220,247
2015–2016 $25,694,773

Source: Departmental Performance Reports, 2011–2012 to 2015–2016.

The Access Program’s financial resources decreased significantly between 2011–12 and 2015–16, from $36.8 million in 2011–12 to $25.7 million in 2015–16, representing a total decrease of $11 million. This was due to the implementation of the federal government Deficit Reduction Action Plan in 2012–13.

Human Resources (per year)

This table shows the Access to Documentary Heritage Program human resources between 2011-2012 and 2015-2016.
Fiscal year Full-time equivalent (FTE)

2011–2012

376

2012–2013

298

2013–2014

329

2014–2015

360

2015–2016

311

Source: Departmental Performance Reports, 2011–2012 to 2015–2016.

Human resources were also affected by a decrease of 65 FTEs during the five-year period, from 376 FTEs in 2011–12 to 311 FTEs in 2015–16. The decrease was due to the implementation of the federal government Deficit Reduction Action Plan in 2012–13. Analysis tools used: documents reviews, interviews and case studies.  Evaluation period: 2011-12 to 2015-16.

Objective and evaluation methods

The main objective of this evaluation was to review the relevance and the performance of the Access to Documentary Heritage Program. Analysis tools used: documents reviews, interviews and case studies.  Evaluation period: 2011-12 to 2015-16.

Analysis tools used

Evaluation period: 2011-12 to 2015-16.

  • Documents Reviews
  • Interviews
  • Case Studies

Results: Description and contextualization

Activities that reached their outcomes:

  • Indexing
  • Block review

Activities that made progress toward reaching their outcomes:

  • Description
  • Digitization

Activities that need improvement:

  • Finding Aids

Indexing

In addition to description and digitization, another important aspect of facilitating access to the collection is indexing. This activity is successfully achieved in collaboration with partners and the public.

Block review

The institution made 18 million pages of government records available for consultation from 2011–12 to 2015–16.

Descriptions

LAC increased the amount of digital content available—and made it easier to find—with nearly 271,000 descriptions of archival documents and almost 58,000 descriptions of published documents between 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Digitization

Digitization increased progressively until 2014-15 notably with the contribution of external partners. It should be noted that LAC is developing and implementing a content digitization strategy that reflects the topics of interest of its client and which is carried out in accordance with available resources. Digitization should continue to promote access to LAC’s collection.

This table shows the number of pages/images (in millions) digitized between 2011-2012 and 2015-2016
Fiscal year Number of pages/images
digitized (in millions)

2011–2012

4.5

2012–2013

2

2013–2014

17

2014–2015 (With the contribution of external partners)

35

2015–2016

12

Source: Departmental Performance Reports from 2011-12 to 2015-16.

Finding aids

Finding aids make documents easier to locate. However, the format is not standardized and are mostly paper based. Finding aids that are accessible online would facilitate the identification of documents or items in LAC collection.

Results: Public services

Activities that reached their outcomes:

  • Reference Services
  • Access to information service

Activities that made progress toward reaching their outcomes:

  • Reprography

Activities that need improvement:

  • LAC website

Reference services

The number of annual contacts to Reference Services has decreased between 2011–12 and 2012-13 but stabilized starting in 2013–14. These results are linked to LAC’s commitment to improve access to its holdings by the implementation of a new digital service delivery model and to help clients with self-serve services to make documentary heritage more accessible.

Number of Contacts at Reference Services

This table shows the number of contacts at Reference Services between 2011-2012 and 2015-2016 by type of contact: in person, by email or Internet, by telephone or by letter/fax.
Type of contact 2011–2012 2012–2013 2013–2014 2014–2015 2015–2016
In person 45,989 40,584 36,788 33,398 33,862
Email or Internet 55,198 41,928 28,910 31,067 30,558
Telephone 25,901 21,493 20,608 17,991 19,249
Letter/Fax 16,628 16,076 13,861 13,418 12,950
Total 143,716 120,081 100,167 95,874 96,619

Source: Data from Access to Documentary Heritage Program, 2011–12 to 2015–16.

Access to information service

Number of annual requests for the Access to Information Act have been falling gradually between 2011-12 and 2015-16. LAC has undertaken to improve access to information through mechanisms such as block review and more extensive digitization of its collection.

This table shows the annual number of requests processed (formal and informal) by the Reference Services between 2011-2012 and 2015-2016 under the Access to Information Act.
Year Formal
requests processed
Informal
requests processed
Total
2011–2012 821 7,075 7,896
2012–2013 874 5,361 6,235
2013–2014 924 6,922 7,846
2014–2015 821 6,671 7,492
2015–2016 758 5,422 6,180

Source: Annual Report: Access to Information Act, 2011–12 to 2015–16, Library and Archives Canada.

Reprography

The transformation in 2011-12 of its reprography services for textual documents without rights restrictions resulted in a huge increase in the number of reprography. However, digital reprographies are rarely available online.

This table shows the number of digital reprographies requested to the Reference Services between 2011-2012 and 2015-2016.
Year Number of pages/images delivered to clients
2011–2012 750,000
2012–2013 1,060,916
2013–2014 1,623,221
2014–2015 1,031,176
2015–2016 1,523,634

Source: Departmental Performance Report, 2011–2012, Program 2.3: Describe and contextualize documentary heritage, Library and Archives Canada. Performance Measurement Strategy: Access to Documentary Heritage Program, from 2012–2013 to 2015–2016.

LAC website

LAC’s website remains popular despite a decrease in its use since 2013–14. However, it is not easy to find what we are looking for.

This graph shows the number of visits on LAC’s website between 2012-2013 and 2015-2016.
Year Number of visits
2012–2013 17,073,646
2013–2014 24,344,772
2014–2015 22,011,883
2015–2016 20,250,929

Source: Data from Access to Documentary Heritage Program, from 2012–2013 to 2015–2016. No data for 2011-2012.

Improvement recommended

Finding Aids Digitization

Finding: Few finding aids are accessible online on LAC website. They are mostly paper based format.

Recommendation: Efforts should be made to complete the digitization of finding aids.

Website

Finding: Searching in the LAC collection remains a complex process. It is not easy for clients to find what they are looking for.

Recommendation: LAC should improve the search tools found on its website as well as the navigation.

Roles and responsibilities

Finding: Because some access-related activities are under the administrative responsibility of various branches, there is a lack of coordination and priorization of tasks at the operational level.

Recommendation:A better coordination of activities and a prioritization of tasks among branches are needed.

Performance measurement strategy

Finding: Lack of ongoing data limits performance analysis for some program activities and their progress toward expected outcomes.

Recommendation: A review of outputs and outcomes indicators is needed.

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