Thursday, March 28, 2019

General inquiry re: digitization of StatCan publications

My UL recently came back from the COPPUL Director’s meeting, and said that they were told that all Statistics Canada publications had been digitized and are freely available online, and then indicated they would like me to discard our print and fiche collection accordingly. Based on [the] question about the 1971 Place Name Reference and the reply , however, I am guessing that this is not the whole story. I was planning on investigating the actual online coverage this summer anyway, but if anyone else has heard about this apparent development and has any additional information to share I would really appreciate it.

Please see below for an official statement from the Statistics Canada Library regarding the digitization project. I’ve attached a spreadsheet that includes all of their outstanding items, as well as an interesting article entitled “The Book Report” which discusses many of the same things.

Digitization Project Update:
I am pleased to announce that with the help of the Publishing and Depository Services Directorate (PDSD) at Public Services and Procurement Canada, all phases of the Digitization Project are expected to be completed by the end of this month.

The Library completed the scanning of its collection of print-only official Statistics Canada and Dominion Bureau of Statistics (DBS) publications in March 2018. Over the course of the 2018-19 fiscal year, these scanned files were transferred to PDSD for cataloguing, hosting, and dissemination. This month, PDSD completed the cataloguing of all of these files and they are now accessible through the Government of Canada Publications catalogue. In addition, by the end of March 2019, the associated catalogue records in the Statistics Canada Library’s online catalogue will also link through to the digitized versions. At that point, the digitization project will be considered complete.

Please note that the Statistics Canada Library has retained at least one copy of the original in print format for its repository.

Libraries interested in weeding their collection of print material from Statistics Canada and the DBS should be aware of the following:

  • Publications that were originally published in both print and digital format were not scanned since the digital copy already exists.
  • Due to frequent changes in publishing procedures over more than 100 years of publishing, it was not always clear if a publication should be in scope as an official publication. Other libraries may have print documents from Statistics Canada and the DBS that we consider to be “supplementary” rather than “official” publications and so these may not have been digitized.
  • Some publications in our collection predate the creation of the DBS but were also digitized if they were predecessors to a series that was taken over by the DBS.
  • This was a mass scanning effort of approximately 140,000 documents. Despite quality controls, the quality of scanned documents can differ.
  • It is possible that a document was missed during the scanning process or that it is missing from our print repository.
  • There are 107 documents that we were unable to digitize as they were last copies or too fragile. A list of these is attached. If any libraries have surplus copies of these items and are willing to donate them for scan and destroy purposes, please let us know.

If you come across any scans that are illegible or have missing pages or if you are aware of any missing items, please contact us. We will add missing items to the online collection as we become aware of them going forward.

I appreciate your cooperation in this effort and am delighted that this significant collection of more than one hundred years of historical Canadian statistics can now be accessed online by researchers anywhere in Canada and around the world.