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Preservation Activities

Library and Archives Canada Audiovisual Migration Strategy

September, 2009

8. Risk Management

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The objective of this strategy is to ensure the preservation of audiovisual content stored on obsolete audio and video formats. Maintaining the status quo and non-implementation of the Audiovisual Migration Strategy will increase risk to that portion of the collection, eventually dooming that content to inaccessibility. Ultimately, LAC will risk not being able to fulfill its mandated responsibility to safeguard the documentary heritage of Canada.10

8.1 Key Risks (KR)

LAC's Initial Corporate Risk Profile (July, 2007) identified 8 key risks that could potentially have a major impact on achieving the institution's strategic objectives. The issues addressed by this strategy can be mapped to 4 of the 8 key risks.

Key Risk Number 3: Preservation of digital and analog documentary heritage. The risk, for LAC, of not being able to assume all of its responsibilities in terms of the preservation and access to documentary heritage in electronic and analog format, due to lack of the appropriate financial, human and technological resources, or a lack of trustworthy partners.

  • There is a risk that LAC will not be able to preserve audiovisual recordings in time due to the obsolescence issue facing each of the many audio and video formats in the collection. This risk will increase over time as the technological and human resources required to guarantee access will become more difficult and more costly to acquire and maintain.

Key Risk Number 4: Long-term accommodation and technological infrastructure. The risk, for LAC, of not being able to assume all of its long-term responsibilities in terms of the preservation and access to documentary heritage under its care, due to a lack of appropriate material and technological infrastructure.

  • There is a risk that a lack of appropriate technological infrastructure will render audiovisual recordings in LAC's collection inaccessible. A wide variety of increasingly obsolete equipment will have to be maintained for the foreseeable future in order to ensure collection usability.

Key Risk Number 6: Financial sustainability. The risk, for LAC, of a lack of resources or budget to ensure its core activities or the establishment of the necessary conditions to meet its growing obligations.

  • There is a risk that a lack of financial resources will prevent LAC from implementing a program of migration of the scale and duration necessary to successfully preserve access to the audio and video collection.

Key Risk Number 7: Availability and competency of human resources. The risk, for LAC, of not being up to ensuring the transition of its institutional knowledge to its new generations of employees or not being able to recruit or renew its human capital with staff that have the appropriate knowledge and skills.

  • There is a risk that a shortage of specialized expertise will endanger LAC's ability to preserve access to audio and video recordings. Already scarce expert knowledge will have to be continually transferred between employees as it is unlikely that LAC will be able to recruit staff with the ability to operate and repair the obsolete equipment required to access audiovisual recordings.

8.2 Risk Assessment

The 8 corporate key risks were assessed and plotted on a matrix, illustrated below, to indicate their likelihood of occurrence and their impact on business. All of the key risks associated with audiovisual migration are situated in the red zone which indicates management effort is required and essential to enact measures to mitigate risks to a tolerable level.


3 Significant




KR #3: Preservation of digital documentary heritage (Loss of access to the AV Collection)

KR #4: Long-term accommodation and technological infrastructure (Lack of Technological Infrastructure)

KR #6: Financial sustainability (Lack of resources for implementation)

2 Moderate




KR #7: Availability and competency of human resources (Expertise deficiency)

1 Low





1 Low

2 Medium

3 High


8.3 Risk Mitigation

Mitigation of the risks associated with migrating a collection of audio and video documentary heritage, as outlined in this strategy and in the action plan, will rely on:

  • a strategic approach to considering the preservation and access requirements of the entire collection, within established institutional policies and approaches
  • implementing a format-priority approach to migration
  • identifying standard target preservation formats
  • applying technology to automate, wherever possible, migration and metadata capture
  • facilitating ingest and management of digital collection material by Trusted Digital Repository services
  • obtaining financial and human resources necessary to accomplish migration of the entire collection over time
  • establishing equipment and infrastructure acquisition and maintenance programs, and
  • project management and governance to ensure efficiency, economies of scale, alternate service delivery, and collaborative ventures.

10 LAC's mandate is elaborated in the Library and Archives of Canada Act (

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