- In 2017, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) received funding to support Indigenous initiatives including a three-year digitization and digital access plan. The plan focusses on LAC’s collections with First Nations, Inuit and Métis-related content to provide unrestricted and free online access to digital material via LAC website and social media.
- Mass digitization and online access of this material will ensure the long-term preservation of Indigenous language and culture-related publications and archival records through digitization.
- Increased public and community engagement through a number of mechanisms (e.g., crowdsourcing, work placement) is integral to completing this work, and will result in an overall increased public awareness of Canada’s Indigenous documentary heritage to support active reconciliation.
- The project was launched in late 2017 and will run until December 2020, with a possible extension to March 2021 depending on funds remaining.
- To date, the project has digitized 384,000 images, 140,000 of which have updated descriptions and are now available online.
- Indigenous researchers are leading the research into LAC’s collection, providing enhanced metadata for new descriptions that use accurate and culturally appropriate terminology, according to LAC’s guidelines on culturally sensitive description.
- LAC must digitize and make available at least 200,000 images each year to meet the deliverables outlined (withheld pursuant to s. 69 of ATI), totalling 600,000 images.
- Beyond scanning and description, the project also includes the development of online content products that highlight Indigenous collections. To date, the team has published five blogs and are currently writing content for the enhanced e-Book, which will be authored entirely by Indigenous staff.
Key Public Messages
- As a result of this project, Indigenous communities will be able to access content of meaning to themselves and their communities through mechanisms that are immediate and without cost.
- At the completion of this project, much of LAC’s substantial holdings of Indigenous-related content may be leveraged to the fullest extent possible by all Canadians, in support of the resolution of land claims, the validation of rights, and initiatives of reconciliation.
Johanna Smith, Director General, Public Services