Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ian Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Retires

Ian Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada, has announced his retirement effective almost immediately - April 24, 2009. He has been in this position since 2004 and was the first head of Canada's amalgamated national Library and Archives, now known as Library and Archives Canada (LAC).

Mr Wilson was Canada's National Archivist from 1999. Before that he was the Provincial Archivist for Ontario (1986 to 1999) and for Saskatchewan (1976 to 1986). Both he and Canada's previous National Librarian, Roch Carrier, were instrumental in the reorganization of Canada's national Archives and national Library into the one institution - an achievement of which both men can be proud, I am sure.

Ian Wilson may also be remembered for the emphasis on commercial and other partnerships that LAC has developed in recent years - LAC as a 'catalyst' for digitization and indexing projects (rather than as a 'leader').

However, Mr. Wilson was a strong supporter of the grass roots Canadian historical census access campaigns and he has always been a promoter too of keeping up with changes in technology and communication and in recognizing the value of Canada's historical resources as his speech in December to the West Beyond the West: British Columbia Digitization Symposium made clear.

Mr. Wilson will be continuing as President of the International Council on Archives.

His letter advising of his retirement is here.

A brief biography and texts of some of his speeches are here.

In December of 2008, he was the keynote speaker at the West Beyond the West: BC Digitization Symposium. A webcast of his presentation is here.

No announcement regarding a successor has been made yet.

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