Partnership eyes preservation of Canadian heritage

Western University and Library and Archives Canada (LAC) announced a partnership earlier this week that will see LAC working closely with researchers and students from the Faculty of Media and Information Studies as well as Western Libraries, one of the largest research library systems in Canada.

The agreement is designed to facilitate sharing of expertise and knowledge, foster collaboration to support academic advances, research practices and technological developments, and facilitate outreach to preserve and promote Canada’s documentary heritage.

“This is an excellent opportunity to showcase Western’s talent in library and information science – a real strength for our university,” said Tom Carmichael, Dean of the Faculty of Media and Information Studies.

‘Documentary heritage’ is the collective memory of humankind, or, in this case, the collective memory of Canada. Defined as a document “that records something with a deliberate intellectual purpose,” documentary heritage reflects the diversity of peoples, cultures and languages, and become part of the heritage of humanity.

Library and Archives Canada preserves and makes accessible the documentary heritage of Canada. It also serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions. This heritage includes publications, archival records, sound and audio-visual materials, photographs, artworks, and electronic documents.

“With each new agreement we sign with a Canadian university, we are building a foundation of knowledge and expertise which will benefit not only the current generation of students and researchers, but successive generations as well, those for whom collaborative information networks will be a given,” said Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada. “I am extremely proud to be embarking on this future together with Western.”

The partnership will also help to build on Western’s highly respected co-op program in the Library Sciences, with LAC hosting students for formal work placements, training programs and workshops.

“Working with LAC, we can further leverage our expertise, research capabilities and library resources to support a national institution serving the public good, which is befitting one of Canada’s largest research universities,” said Catherine Steeves, Vice-Provost and Chief Librarian at Western.

The agreement has been signed for a five-year period with the opportunity to extend the partnership at that time.