Questions for Budget-Makers/Resource-Choppers
When communicating with Members of Parliament or others about your dismay over the NADP and LAC cuts (whether by writing letters, making phone calls, posting on the web, or in person), here are some questions for which you might want to request answers:
What, exactly, is the federal government’s proposed solution that they claim will improve services? Can they define what it is?
How can officials say that cutting the archivists with expertise in the processing of special media and private records from 41 to 27 is going to improve services to Canadians, when we know through decades of scholarship in the field of archival studies (cite peer-reviewed papers) that 1) the archivist’s knowledge of the records enables them to be better preserved and made available to the public, and 2) government records and private records are different and require different approaches?
Does the government intend to replace the archivist’s professional judgment and skill with some kind of automated computer application? Private contractors? Other archivists who will now do twice the work? Civilians? Can the Ministers responsible please clarify this?
Why did taxpayers spend $89 million on a state-of-the-art facility to house the documentary heritage of the nation a few years ago when LAC is now cutting 20% of its staff and deaccessioning some of its collections?
The onus is on the Minister of Finance and LAC heads to prove that the digitization claim *isn’t* merely spin.
What is the nature of the infrastructure LAC has put in place to build a robust digitization program? What about storage? Does LAC have a trusted digital repository? What about policies, procedures, and obsolescence of file formats? Are there enough staff, not only to preserve the records but to serve as online reference to make them accessible to website visitors? How does the government/LAC intend to run this digitization program that purports to save taxpayer money while increasing access to Canadians. Are they, for example, using cheaper open-source software?
Many thanks to Wendy Smith for suggesting these pointed questions to help target our communications with ‘the people in charge’.