My employer recently moved to a hoteling system where nobody has a fixed desk. We just take our laptops out of a locker and pick a desk each day. This has its advantages and disadvantages, but one side effect is that it is much more difficult to have great piles of paper. I've had to throw away unimportant papers and scan the important ones. This elimination of paper has been very freeing for me, and it occurred to me that this way of thinking would be good for Library and Archives Canada as well.
Certain documents are of such great historical significance that they it makes sense for taxpayers to pay to preserve them. However, many documents held by Library and Archives Canada could simply be scanned, the electronic copies be made available to Canadians free on the internet (assuming their copyrights have run out), and then the original documents could be sold to collectors.
I wouldn't want to lose great works of fiction written by Canadians, but all I need is an electronic copy. Then anyone who wants it on paper could simply print it themselves. I don't see why taxpayers should pay to house the physical books in an expensive building. Library and Archives Canada has a service making it possible to get electronic copies of documents now, but you have to pay between 20 and 80 cents per page. Why not just scan everything once and be done with it?
I used to want paper copies of documents to truly feel like I possessed them. I'm over that now. Data on the internet has a permanence that physical objects like paper can't match. Combine this with the fact that electronic copies would be far more accessible to all Canadians, and the idea of scanning all historical documents is obviously the right direction.