Law librarians are used to receiving requests for help in locating government documents and reports, with requesters often expressing a preference for materials in digital format.
Relatively recent materials should not be too hard to locate. In fact, there are new portals that have been created for the very purpose of tracking down digitized government documents. One example is GALLOP, launched a few years ago by the Association of Parliamentary Libraries in Canada.
When it comes to earlier materials, documents, if they have been digitized, may pop up in any number of places, such as HeinOnline for federal statutes. Early Canadiana Online for certain older official documents (from pre-Confederation to the 1920s or so), LLMC Digital, the Canadian Government Publications Portal on the Internet Archive, and others. But is is extremely difficult to know for sure who has done what. It is very hard in fact to have any kind of overview of the state of digitization of Canadian government documents at the federal, provincial and municipal levels.
That is where Margaret Wall comes in.
The University of Toronto librarian, currently on research leave, wants to develop an online registry of Canadian government information digitization projects.
In a post shared with various e-mail lists, Wall wrote:
“My goal is for the registry to be a resource for both the library community and for researchers. For researchers, it will function as a centralized access point for digitized government documents and publications. For the library community, it will also function as a resource for confirming whether a particular publication, document or serial has been digitized, so that we are making the best use of limited resources for digitization by reducing duplication. I hope to also add functionality which would allow libraries to find partners for digitization projects if they have resources to share or require resources that others may be able to provide.”
She will be documenting her research on a new blog she has created.
Interested parties can share comments with her via the blog.