Canadiana — to be privately owned?

Great seal of CanadaAccording to the Ottawa Ctizen, Library and Archives Canada  has brokered  a secret deal  with a  “private high-tech consortium Archive“

And officials  say the deal is a good one, says the story.

Under the deal, Library and Archives  would,  “hand over millions of publicly-owned books and documents to Canadiana.com which, in exchange, will get a 10-year exclusive licence to sell it in sophisticated digital format,”   writes Michelle Cochrane, going on on »»»

LAC says the so-called Heritage Project, to be launched with an initial $2 million from Canadian university libraries, is misunderstood.

Until Tuesday both sides were refusing to discuss the deal publicly and held everyone in the know under non-disclosure agreements — gag orders — pending an official announcement planned for Friday.

It is now unclear when the official announcement will happen but it won’t be Friday.

Archivists, currently holding a convention in Winnipeg, are angry that they weren’t consulted when the deal was being negotiated and say the secret nature of the deal makes it impossible to know whether it’s good for Canadians.

And in the House of Commons Wednesday, NDP heritage critics Andrew Cash and Pierre Nantel again challenged Heritage Minister James Moore, who agreed that Canadians shouldn’t pay to access their own archives.

But Moore, who apparently wasn’t told about the LAC-Canadiana project until Tuesday, defended the institution’s digitization policy and accused the opposition of being against outsourcing digitization because it meant fewer union jobs at LAC.

“Our job is to ensure that Canadians have access to Library and Archives Canada when and where they live, and in the digital format that they want it to be in,” he said. “It is about serving Canadians, not serving the unions. The digitization of our archives is important for all Canadians, so Canadians can better understand their personal and our collective history.”

In an interview Wednesday, LAC’s director general of content access, Fabien Lengellé, said Canadians would have free access to the basic images during their decade of ‘privatization’ and for $10 a month will be able to access the full, sophisticated metadata version from their home computers.

But “This premium domain name s may be listed for sale or lease, says  a placeholder for Canadiana.com.

Canadiana.com is among the top domain names out of the 550,301 we have listed in the travel category, says DomainNameSales.com, stating:

 “Canada is a long way from Paris, but canadiana.com is in the busiest and most upscale part of the internet.”

Meanwhile, under the catchline digitization,  preservation, access the  non-profit Canadiana.ca says

Canada’s history in the form of books, magazines, and government records from the earliest settlers to the 20th century. Search the collection or sign up to help us preserve Canada’s stories.

Canadiana

It adds,

 The organization acts as a coordinator, facilitator and advocate for digitization initiatives, while providing access services and preservation infrastructures.  Our flagship service, Early Canadiana Online, delivers 4 million pages of published heritage to Canada’s major research institutions, schools, and public libraries.

As a non-profit and charitable organization, Canadiana.org applies all revenues to operating and improving its services.

The Ottawa Ctizen  doesn’t say what the other Canadiana  thinks about the deal.

Stay tuned?

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Jon Newton — myblogdammit

Follow me on identi.ca

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It’s My Blog, Dammit! content is licensed under Creative Commons, unless otherwise stated.

 Comments are the responsibility of  whoever posts them. Dammit  is not liable for them in any way, or at any time

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