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Report on the Review of Acquisition Processes for Collections

December 2010

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Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has a mandate to preserve Canada's documentary heritage and make it accessible to all, and to serve as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions. One major initiative in the LAC modernization project is to prepare a new acquisition management framework based on the three pillars of documentary heritage: acquisition, preservation, and resource discovery. This framework will rely on the four guiding principles for determining the value of acquisitions: significance, sufficiency, sustainability and society.

Essentially, making acquisitions means locating the most significant documents in an overabundance of information. The LAC branches, divisions and sections involved in the collection acquisition process are as follows:

LAC Business Lines Linked with the Collection Acquisition Process

Documentary Heritage Collection Sector

  1. Government Records Branch
    1. Economic, Social and Federal Libraries Division
      1. Legacy Records Management and Democracy
      2. Economics, Science, Society and Cultural
    2. Infrastructure, Aboriginal and Natural Resources Division
      1. Digital Office
      2. Government, Aboriginal, North, Natural Resources and Transport
    3. Government Operations Division
      1. Security, Military, International and Justice
    4. Regional Services Centres
  2. Canadian Archives and Special Collections Branch
    1. Political and Social Heritage Division
      1. Economic and Governance Archives
      2. Political Archives
      3. Social Archives
      4. Jean-Chrétien Archives Project
    2. Cultural Heritage Division
      1. Literary Arts
      2. Film/Broadcasting
      3. Music Section
    3. Visual Heritage Division
      1. Art and Photography
      2. Cartography, Architecture and Geomatics
      3. Philatelic Collection
    4. Intellectual Control Services
  3. Published Heritage Branch
    1. Digital Office
      1. Legal Deposit
      2. Digital Unit
    2. Resource Description
      1. Monograph Cataloguing
      2. Government Publications and Serial Cataloguing
    3. Acquisitions Division
      1. Acquisitions
      2. Legal Deposit
    4. Database and Product Management
    5. Theses Canada

Programs and Services Sector

  1. Portrait Gallery of Canada
    1. Acquisitions and Research

Through the modernization project, the collection development process is currently undergoing an extensive review in order to improve decision making for purchases and the justification of acquisitions. The following initiatives were underway in 2009:

  • development of an acquisition strategy by the Collection Development Committee (CDC) based on a collection development modernization framework that covers the following: sufficiency, significance, sustainability, intervention, and governance;
  • justification of periodical subscription renewals;
  • development of a communications plan;
  • implementation of a priority acquisitions process requiring Management Board authorization.

The documents in the Canadian collection essentially come from three sources. Publishers have a legal obligation to provide copies of all works published in Canada to LAC (legal deposit). The Government of Canada's departments and agencies transfer any of their documents that have operational or archival value. Numerous documents are donated; LAC also purchases a number of documents and retrieves a large volume of them directly from the Internet.

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