Library and Archives Canada to Digitize 640,000 First World War Service Files

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    jholl72
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    Library and Archives Canada to Digitize 640,000 First World War Service Files

    Post by jholl72 on Wed Jan 29, 2014 9:18 pm

    Library and Archives Canada to Digitize 640,000 First World War Service Files

    As part of the centennial commemoration of the First World War, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) will digitize 640,000 personnel service files of the First World War’s Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) members.

    Transferred to LAC about 20 years ago, CEF service files are LAC’s most heavily consulted collection, amounting to about 3,300 requests each year. As the public interest in this rich resource grows, it is imperative for LAC to take action to preserve these unique, fragile documents. At the same time, we must act to ensure Canadians have the access they want to these files. Digitization now allows us to achieve both access and preservation goals.

    As part of the First World War commemorations, Canadians will be able to research high-quality digital copies of all service files, anytime and anywhere, by 2015. The newly digitized files will complement the approximately 13,500 service files and the more than 620,000 attestation papers already available on LAC’s website.

    Canadians will be able to consult the newly digitized service files in the existing database, Soldiers of the First World War – CEF, on LAC’s website as they become available. The first series of files is expected to be added as of Summer 2014. After digitization, the originals will be permanently stored thus ensuring their preservation.

    To be able to perform this important undertaking, LAC will need to temporarily close portions of the service files.

    While 75% of the collections will always be open, LAC will not be able to accept requests to consult documents in person, nor take orders for copies for a period of up to 4 months on the portion of the collection being digitized.

    LAC wishes to recognize the support provided by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) in the digitization of the CEF service files. PWGSC is using the latest technology to classify and digitize the federal government’s paper records, allowing departments to store their images and data and offer instant access to information. Over 25 million records were processed by PWGSC last year.

    For more information on this initiative, please consult the Fact Sheet: Digitization of Canadian Expeditionary Force Service Files. The page will contain updates to the digitization schedule as required.


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    Jonhno
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    Re: Library and Archives Canada to Digitize 640,000 First World War Service Files

    Post by Jonhno on Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:46 am

    Thanks for the information, that's quite an undertaking but great for future research.

    John

    lorne19
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    Re: Library and Archives Canada to Digitize 640,000 First World War Service Files

    Post by lorne19 on Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:42 am

    I just tried to access the online WW1 data base on LAC website and see its not availible for access right now, I see there redesigning their website too. Good news in the long run, not so handy for those of us trying to look up a service file in the short term though.

    pylon1357
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    Re: Library and Archives Canada to Digitize 640,000 First World War Service Files

    Post by pylon1357 on Fri Jan 31, 2014 4:06 am

    I have commented on this somewhere else, and the more I think about it, I still come back to the same old selfish end. It is a good thing but will cost my what I consider an edge.

    Allow me to explain a bit. Living where I do has a few perks, the main one involving my collection is the proximity to the LAC. I troll online daily looking for medals at a steal. If I see something that may fit my quirky theme, I will request the service records and do a quick review and see what comes up. Now with the records being made available online in the future, this edge will no longer be there. Everyone will, a the touch of a few keystrokes, have the same information available to them.

    As a medals collector, I am always on the hunt for WWI medals what appeal to me. It doesn't take much really, just a little thing out of the ordinary. Things like the pair I picked up to Pringle, simply because he answered the question about marital status as "YES, NO about to be." I also recently picked up a pair to a Mohawk Indian, with no competing interested parties at the time. This pair was unresearched at the time by the seller. Once this information comes online, the research is easier for everyone, and thus competition for things like this will escalate.

    I have also picked up some very nice sleepers the same way. Off the top of my head, I cannot recall the details as I am a little angry about another incident, see my rant in another post. LOL



    But do I have to say, after all is said and done, this move by the LAC is a very good one for sure. It will help preserve the original documents and hopefully keep them complete. It will be nice to see these records when they complete the project.


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    lorne19
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    Re: Library and Archives Canada to Digitize 640,000 First World War Service Files

    Post by lorne19 on Tue Feb 04, 2014 2:40 pm

    Seems you can no longer search the online database and view digital copies of attestation papers. Does anybody know if this is a short term thing? I didn't realize until know how much I used this resource. I hope LAC gets things sorted soon.

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