Below is a faithful, un-edited excerpt of pages 1-3 from an official overview of the proposed Canadiana scheme to digitise and provide access to Canadian heritage materials owned by Library and Archives Canada. I present it without comment so readers can judge its merits for themselves. My own observations will follow later.
The Heritage Project
A public announcement will be made on June 14th about the Heritage project. You are requested to not discuss this project until it is announced except with those in your Institution who need to know.
Further we ask that this non-disclosure request be passed on those staff with whom you shared the information.
The Heritage Project Scope
Legacy is a major project to digitize a large collection of archival material, enrich it with metadata, and provide enduring open access to the content. Heritage is a pathfinder model for sustainable, self-funded, large-scale, open access projects.
In partnership with Library and Archives Canada, Canadiana is pleased to undertake this project as a major step forward in our commitment to preserve and make accessible Canada’s heritage.
Heritage includes over 40 million images from over 800 collections of archival material. Collection subjects include personal papers and fonds, census data, central registries, church records, First Nations, government documents, land, military, photographs and more. Descriptions of the collections are provided later in this document.
The benefits of making these important collections accessible online by Canadians are difficult to quantify exactly because they are priceless. Based on our survey of research institutions, the collections are very valuable for scholarly research.
This project brings together large-scale digitization, linked open data, crowdsourcing, trustworthy digital repositories and W3C accessibility services.
Purpose of Start-up Fund
The purpose of this document is to solicit a $2M start-up fund to provide resources to digitize the collections and implement a Trustworthy Digital Repository infrastructure capacity and application function to support ongoing metadata creation, content transcription, and an RDA linked open data architecture.
CRKN will manage the details of fee structure, funds collection and distribution to Canadiana.org. Two payments over two years will be made, the first in the spring of 2013 and a second by May 2014.
Full Project Funding
The largest part of the project costs are for metadata creation and transcription which are estimated at $40 - $50 Million, assuming all work was for fee. These costs will be reduced by a combination of crowdsourcing volunteers and transcription technologies. Metadata creation and RDA linking, however, will be done by professional cataloguers.
The agreement between LAC and Canadiana provides for 10 years of exclusive rights for Canadiana to monetize the collections in exchange for making them accessible online. Costs will be funded out
Each year 10% of the collections will be made Open Access to Canadians. At the end of the project term 100% will be Open Access. Users will be charged access fees for non-Open Access content
during the 10-year exclusivity term.
Basic and Premium Access accounts will be offered. Basic Access will offer virtual microfilm tape images with collection descriptions with basic finding aids.
Premium access will provide enhanced searching and data analyses using the metadata created and content images transcribed during the project.
Ongoing creation of metadata, RDA linking and images content transcriptions will be funded primarily by subscription revenues and supplemented by other revenue sources such as derivatives,advertising, licenses, grants, charitable donations and sponsorships.
The following table shows an example of how net revenues may be distributed between the creation of metadata and textual content and sustainable funding for Open Access after the 10-year period.
Metadata & Text Project (Millions)
Revenue Net of Operations: $18
Sustainability Foundation (SF): $9
Re-invest in Metadata & Text: $9
Years funded by SF1: 19
Metadata creation pages: 36
Or Text Transcription pages: 9
Note 1 – Years funded based on 2012 Operations cost plus incremental cost for microform collections.
Benefits to Start-up Fund Subscribers
Those institutions that participate in the initial start-up fund will purchase perpetual Premium Access for a one-time fee. Start-up subscribers will also benefit from:
1. One-time payment (2 tranches) for perpetual access. (Non-participants will be charged an annual on-going subscription fee for Premium Access.)
2. ILL requests for the tapes in the collection being digitized by Canadiana at no extra charge.
3. Makes the collections “usable” for scholarly research faster.
4. Participate in priority setting for collection loading and metadata creation.
5. Partner in Canada’s largest Open Access Initiative.
This Heritage Collection Project will include innovative application technologies including Linked Open Data and Application Program Interfaces to allow other academic research systems to integrate and utilize the collections. Of particular interest to existing Early Canadiana Online subscribers, these developments will also be added to this collection as well.
The risks include technology platform stability and performance, negative impact on existing systems and users, underestimating costs and overestimating revenues. There are potential risks of public criticism related to LAC out-sourcing in times of lay-offs and not funding it in such a way as to make it Open Access immediately. We believe these risks can be mitigated by controlled growth and the benefits to the public of gaining access with Open Access in a reasonable time frame.
Metadata creation and content transcription is dependant on net revenues generated during the project term. It may not be completed during the project, however, the required tools and infrastructure will remain indefinitely and until it is complete.
In early 2012 Canadiana implemented a modern digital repository that is a scalable, reliable and secure platform with modern curated web portals for our collections. With a strong and experienced team and modern datacentres in Ottawa and Montreal, Canadiana is well positioned to provide a robust and reliable service for preserving digital documentary heritage and online access into the foreseeable future.
Copies of all digitized content and metadata created, as a minimum, will be given to LAC as a backup. Our strategy is to further enhance perpetual access through reciprocal back-up agreements with other Canadian memory institutions supporting a Trustworthy Digital Repository.
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