Policy on Holdings Management

1. Effective Date

This policy has been approved by the Management Board of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and takes effect on July 28, 2014.

2. Application

This policy applies to LAC activities in all business areas related to the management of documentary heritage under the control and/or ownership of LAC.

This policy supports the Stewardship Policy Framework, and is to be applied in conjunction with associated directives, guidelines and tools and other LAC policy frameworks and instruments.

This policy supersedes the:

  • Library and Archives Canada Preservation Orientations (2010);
  • Library and Archives Canada Digital Preservation Policy (2008);
  • National Archives of Canada Preservation Policy (2001);
  • National Library of Canada Preservation Policy (1989).

3. Definitions

See Appendix A.

4. Context

LAC, through its founding legislation, has the mandate to preserve documentary heritage for the benefit of Canadians. Preservation is a function shared across the business areas of the institution. The Policy on Holdings Management supports the preservation of LAC holdings.

LAC holdings constitute a vast collection of materials in a wide range of formats, both analogue and digital. They include, as defined in the Stewardship Policy Framework, all documentary heritage brought under the control of LAC through the Library and Archives of Canada Act. LAC is entrusted to effectively manage them and take appropriate steps to ensure their ongoing integrity and authenticity. This is true regardless of whether the holdings are on site in LAC’s custody, or located elsewhere. 

The Policy on Holdings Management integrates the preservation requirements for all holdings. It incorporates the preservation of analogue and digital holdings and the need for effective management of associated metadata.

LAC manages its holdings in the context of a broader national collection and works with memory institutions and other stakeholders to ensure the preservation of the holdings.

5. Purpose

Under the Library and Archives of Canada Act, LAC is mandated to preserve Canada’s documentary heritage. The Policy on Holdings Management supports the Stewardship Policy Framework (July 2013) by providing specific requirements about how LAC will manage holdings using a consistent and integrated approach.

This policy and accompanying policy instruments ensure that policy direction and principles for holdings management are clear and agreed to; that roles and responsibilities with respect to holdings management are well understood by LAC employees; and that holdings are properly managed and evaluated.

6. Policy Statement

LAC demonstrates sound stewardship of its analogue and digital holdings and associated metadata by implementing the three principles of the Stewardship Policy Framework: trustworthiness, sustainability and collaboration.

The trustworthiness principle means that LAC:

  • Takes appropriate steps to preserve and to provide evidence of the authenticity and integrity of its individual holdings;
  • Maintains a contextual relationship within fonds and collections;
  • Is trusted as a repository for documentary heritage.

The sustainability principle means that LAC:

  • Follows risk management practices to ensure safe, secure long-term access to holdings and associated metadata;
  • Applies preservation actions in a progressive sequence, from global to individual and from preventive to increasingly invasive;
  • Considers both long-term and short-term stewardship requirements and impacts when making decisions;
  • Assesses the continued enduring value of holdings as required, based on content and/or physical properties.

The collaboration principle means that LAC:

  • Manages holdings as part of a broader national documentary heritage collection;
  • Takes appropriate actions to ensure that care is maintained for holdings outside of LAC custody.

7. Policy Requirements

As a trusted repository for documentary heritage, LAC carries out the following:

7.1 Preservation planning

  • Adopts a proactive management approach, including maintaining awareness of technical trends and working with creators and stakeholders;
  • Monitors its infrastructure and holdings to ensure effective security and preservation;
  • Plans preservation activities and reports on the ongoing stewardship of its holdings;
  • Develops and maintains long-term infrastructure plans for the preservation of holdings;
  • Maintains a collection response and recovery program.

7.2 Standards and documentation

  • Ensures that standards and best practices guide the management of holdings and associated metadata;
  • Receives and/or records the necessary administrative, structural and descriptive metadata required for long-term access and preservation and makes it available as required;
  • Documents essential processes for holdings management;
  • Maintains an inventory of holdings.

7.3 Infrastructure and expertise

  • Secures appropriate infrastructure and supplies for the preservation of holdings;
  • Develops or maintains access to the necessary knowledge and expertise to effectively manage holdings.

7.4 Preservation activities

  • Preserves its holdings through the effective use of appropriate storage;
  • Ensures the application of preventive care actions;
  • Applies conservation treatment actions when required;
  • Ensures implementation of preservation actions such as the migration; of formats and media at risk of obsolescence for long-term access to holdings.
  • Protects holdings by creating master and distribution copies as required for preservation and access purposes;
  • Manages administrative and structural metadata, and any descriptive metadata required for referential integrity;
  • Disposes of any redundant, unusable, unsustainable or unsuitable holdings in accordance with policies, best practices and any required authorization.

7.5 Collaboration

  • Manages the print portion of its nationally significant published heritage as a last copy in Canada of Canadian imprints;
  • Facilitates transfers of deselected or alienated holdings to other interested institutions when it is in the best interest of Canadians;
  • Considers stewardship requirements in any formal or informal arrangement that involves its holdings.

8. Roles and Responsibilities

The Librarian and Archivist of Canada approves this policy; is accountable for the overall management of LAC holdings; and has the final authority on decisions relating to holdings management.

The Chief Operating Officer oversees the management of all holdings and associated metadata.

The Director General of the Stewardship Branch and the Director General of Innovation and Chief Information Officer share responsibility for the management of LAC holdings and associated metadata. Together, they are the business owners of the Policy on Holdings Management.

The Director General of Stewardship is responsible for the management of analogue holdings. This includes related preservation planning, standards, documentation, inventory management, expertise management, storage, preventive care, conservation treatment, migration, digitization, disposition, and overall care of analogue holdings. He/she is also responsible for the management of some legacy digital media formats. He/she works with the Director General of Innovation and Chief Information Officer on digital preservation of migrated and digitized holdings.

The Director General of Innovation and Chief Information Officer is responsible for the management of digital holdings, with the exception of some legacy digital media formats. This includes related preservation planning, standards, documentation, inventory management, expertise management, storage, preventive care, migration, disposition, and overall care of digital holdings. He/she works with the Director General of Stewardship on digital preservation of migrated and digitized holdings.

The Director General of Innovation and Chief Information Officer ensures that LAC has the technological infrastructure necessary to effectively manage its holdings. He/she is responsible for liaising with Shared Services Canada to secure the necessary infrastructure for digital holdings.

The Information Management Senior Officer is responsible for ensuring that any metadata and information resources of business value associated with the management of holdings are effectively managed.

The Director General of Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Management oversees the planning and management of LAC’s real property that pertains to the storage of analogue holdings.

The Director General of Evaluation and Acquisition is responsible for the reappraisal of analogue and digital holdings. He/she is responsible for ensuring that initial preservation actions deemed necessary by directors generals responsible for holdings management are taken and that administrative and structural metadata is acquired and/or recorded during the acquisition process.

Manager, Corporate Security Services, has responsibility to support the Directors General of Stewardship Branch and ICIOB in administering security of LAC holdings.

LAC directors general, directors, managers and supervisors are accountable, within their areas of responsibility and delegated authority, for ensuring compliance with the Policy on Holdings Management.

All staff are responsible for holdings in their care.

9. Monitoring, Evaluation and Review

The Director General of Stewardship and the Director General of Innovation and Chief Information Officer monitor and analyze the implementation of the Policy on Holdings Management to evaluate the progress, effectiveness, attainment of objectives and outcomes, and potential improvements.

The Director General of Strategic Research and Policy, in collaboration with business owners, will review the Policy on Holdings Management in three years or as required.

10. Consequences

Consequences for non-compliance with the Policy on Holdings Management and its associated directives, guidelines and tools may include corrective measures from the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Management Board, or the Chief Operating Officer. Corrective measures may include any actions deemed appropriate and acceptable in the circumstances.

11. Inquiries

Please address any questions about this policy to:
Policy Division
Library and Archives Canada
550 de la Cité Boulevard
Gatineau, Québec K1A 0N4

Appendix A: Definitions

Alienation [Aliénation]
The removal of information resources from the care and control of the Government of Canada. (Directive on Dispositions Authorizations)

Authenticity [Authenticité]
The quality of being genuine, not a counterfeit, and free from tampering. It is typically inferred from internal and external evidence. (Evaluation and Acquisition Policy Framework)

Care [Garde]
Legislated or contractual obligation to protect documentary heritage. (Stewardship Policy Framework)

Collection [Collection]
A group of items, especially one that is systematically ordered. For example: the LAC collection consists of all LAC holdings; the LAC Rare Book Collection consists of all rare books in LAC’s holdings.

Conservation treatment [Traitements de conservation-restauration]
A treatment that consists of making a physical or chemical change to a holding to maintain or improve its condition (e.g., maintaining an item’s physical stability or appearance) or accessibility. Such treatment can be performed as a preventive measure or after damage has occurred. (Conservation Treatment Guidelines)

Distribution copy [Copie de distribution]
A copy of a holding made by or for LAC that satisfies client needs, and is not intended to substitute for the original holding for long-term preservation.

Enduring value [Valeur continue]
The quality of having continuing archival or historical usefulness or significance to Canadian society. (Evaluation and Acquisition Policy Framework)

Holdings [Collection]
All documentary heritage brought under the control of LAC through the Library and Archives of Canada Act and Legal Deposit of Publications Regulations, and any master copies generated thereof.

Infrastructure [Infrastructure]
Basic physical structures and facilities needed for the operation of an enterprise. Examples for LAC holdings management include buildings, shelving, servers, scanners, etc.

Integrity [Intégrité]
The quality of being whole and unaltered through loss, tampering, or corruption. (Evaluation and Acquisition Policy Framework)

Last copy [Dernier exemplaire]
Analogue and/or digital copy of publications that have received institutional commitment to be maintained in perpetuity by at least one member of a network of repositories.

Master copy [Copie maîtresse]
A copy of a holding that maintains the original holding’s essential features and information that the organization intends to manage for the long-term, and that is used for the production of a range of copies intended for specific purposes.

Metadata [Métadonnées]
Information used to contextualize, manage, preserve and provide access to documentary heritage (Policy on Making Holdings Discoverable).

Administrative metadata [Métadonnées administratives]
Information that facilitates both short-term and long-term management and processing of holdings, which includes the following:

  • technical data on creation and quality control
  • rights management, access control and use requirements
  • preservation action information, such as information or data on copying or treatment.

Descriptive metadata [Métadonnées descriptives]
Information that establishes the intellectual content, access rights and physical attributes of documentary heritage to support its discovery. (Policy on Making Holdings Discoverable)

Structural metadata [Métadonnées descriptives]
Information that describes the internal structure of holdings and the relationship between their parts. It is used to enable navigation and presentation.

Nationally significant published heritage [Patrimoine publié ayant une importance nationale]
The print portion of nationally significant published heritage includes both serials and monographs that are created by Canadians or are about Canada, wherever they were published or whatever their language of origin. It also includes material that contextually reflects, supports, or facilitates public discourse on Canada.

Preservation [Préservation]
All actions taken to retard the deterioration of holdings or to prevent damage to them; to provide access to them; and to ensure that their use and meaning, and capacity to be accepted as evidence of what they purport to record, are maintained over time. (Stewardship Policy Framework)

Preventive care [Soin préventif]
All non-intrusive actions undertaken without actual physical intervention or chemical treatment to mitigate damage to holdings. It involves establishing and implementing appropriate holdings maintenance policies and practices.
(Conservation Treatment Guidelines)

Referential integrity [Intégrité référentielle]
Referential integrity is a property of data which, when satisfied, requires every value of one column of a table to exist as a value of another column in a different table. For the purposes of holdings management, it is the link between relevant databases, such as for the description and physical control of holdings.

Supplies [Matériel]
Provisions that are necessary for people engaged in a particular project or function. For holdings management, examples include boxes, gloves, tapes, etc.

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