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About the Collection

Digital Collection Development Policy

3. Basic Policy Statements


1.1 General Parameters

1.1.1 The collection of digital documentary heritage materials is governed by the definitions of heritage value, Canadiana, and publications and records of interest as outlined in the Collection Development Framework for Library and Archives Canada.

1.1.2 Digital documentary heritage material is considered for acquisition regardless of its technology. It is not a primary objective to document the development of a digital technology although this may be the indirect result of collection development activity.

1.1.3 Library and Archives Canada (LAC) collects selectively non-Canadian digital materials to support its collecting mandate and to support services to the public.

1.2 Records

1.2.1 LAC recognizes the fundamental importance of the appraisal function as it relates to the assessment not only of historical or archival value but also of considerations related to transfer, description, making accessible, and preservation of digital records.

1.3 Publications

1.3.1 LAC operates on the basis that anything that is made available to the public on a communications network, such as the Internet, can be considered as "published" for the purposes of collection.

1.3.2 LAC does not necessarily collect every version/edition of all digital documentary heritage publications received on legal deposit. Collection will vary from comprehensive to representative and will depend on factors such as production pattern, scope of changes, and the overall significance of the material.

1.4 Formats

1.4.1 LAC does not collect every format of all digital documentary heritage materials collected.

1.4.2 LAC identifies recommended and acceptable formats for the transfer of digital documentary heritage materials.

1.4.3 LAC ensures that formats collected include those accessible to the perceptually disabled.

1.5 Collaboration

1.5.1 LAC may enter into agreements with other institutions, groups, and individuals to ensure the collection, preservation, description, and access, of certain categories and types of Canadian digital documentary heritage materials.

1.5.2 LAC will play an active, strategic role with creators of records and publications in the Government of Canada in order to maximize the extent to which their policies, systems, and activities produce reliable materials that meet their needs as well as those of Library and Archives Canada.


2.1 LAC is committed to providing universal, equitable access to digital documentary heritage materials as a public good.

2.2 All digital documentary heritage materials collected by LAC are in principle accessible to both on-site and off-site users.

2.3 LAC provides access to its digital materials in such a way that copyright is respected, privacy and access to information provisions are followed, and license and donor agreements are respected.

2.4 LAC is committed to undertake the activities necessary to ensure that its digital documentary heritage materials are organized, indexed, described, and made accessible.

2.5 Levels of description applied to digital materials are in principle based on the same criteria as those for other materials. Access to digital materials is generally provided though the same systems as materials in other formats. New modes of description and access are also used to take advantage of the innovative potential of the digital realm.

2.6 LAC provides access to a selection of digital documentary heritage materials whose acquisition, description, and long term preservation is the prime responsibility of others within Canada. LAC also provides access to a selection of non-Canadian digital materials to support the research or client services of LAC.


3.1 LAC takes preservation measures to ensure the longevity and accessibility of the digital materials in its collection. LAC considers the feasibility of maintaining accessibility as a factor in decisions to acquire and preserve digital materials over the long term.

3.2 LAC will identify and undertake the activities necessary to ensure the maintenance of reliable, understandable, and authentic digital records and publications.

3.3 LAC endeavours to preserve the content, the functionality, and the presentation of the digital documentary heritage materials in its collection. Priority is given to the preservation of content.

3. 4 LAC preserves digital documentary heritage materials in standard formats.

3.5 LAC undertakes the necessary preservation activities with digital records which have been accepted on deposit by LAC for potential acquisition.

3.6 In addition to physically acquiring digital records or publications for permanent storage at LAC, the institution will, where appropriate, use other strategies to ensure access to and the preservation of materials of heritage value.

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