Canada's archives kept in freezers and damaged by water, report finds

Canada's archives kept in freezers and damaged by water, report finds
Postmedia News
November 7, 2019
November 7, 2019 2:30 PM EST
A statue sits at the entrance of a Library and Archives Canada building in Ottawa on Nov. 25, 2014.Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press / Files
Some of Canada’s historic archives suffered water damage while other documents were bagged and kept in freezers after mould was discovered, according to a report.
And other newly-acquired collections were left on loading docks and stacked in boxes when filing cabinets filled up, reports Blacklock’s Reporter.
“This is inadequate medium- and long-term preservation,” inspectors wrote in Evaluation of the Analog Component of the Preservation Program, made public earlier this year.
The inspectors visited Library and Archives Canada storage facilities in Ottawa, Renfrew, Ont., Gatineau, Que., and conducted interviews with managers and employees.
In general, the inspectors found the collections of historic documents, maps, photographs, film, prints and drawings were being stored under appropriate conditions.
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“However, at the Renfrew building, due to a lack of space in the filing cabinet drawers designated for this purpose, thousands of maps and plans are rolled in boxes placed on the filing cabinets or in tubes hung on the wall,” inspectors wrote.
Meanwhile, water has been an issue at the two other buildings.
At the Preservation Centre in Gatineau, water leaks in the past are now under control.
“If employees find damaged items, action is taken to stabilize the situation by placing the items in a freezer and in a bag if mould has been detected,” said the report.
In November 2018, water infiltrated Ottawa’s Wellington Street building and damaged documents were treated immediately after management acted quickly to minimize further destruction.
“Management should establish a monitoring plan so that there is regular monitoring to ensure that LAC’s analog collection is preserved in the medium and long term,” the inspectors advised in the report.
The agency has a $127.4 million annual budget and only 5% is spent on its preservation program.
I don't imagine there will be a hue and cry over the state of archival material, spammie considering that much of it deals with a Canada that in no way resembles the country we live in today. That and the fact that current generations could care less about anything they can't access on their gadgets.