OCLC Canada Advisory Council
Minutes — April 24th 2020
Brenda Mathenia, University Librarian, Thompson Rivers University
Debbie Schachter, University Librarian, Capilano University
Madeleine Lefebvre, Chief Librarian Emerita, Ryerson University, OCLC Board of Trustees
Renee Reaume, Director, Metadata Services, University of Calgary
Pilar Martinez, CEO, Edmonton Public Library
May Chan, Head Metadata Services, University of Toronto
Mélanie Dumas, Directrice de la collection universelle, BAnQ
Bruce Crocco, Vice-President, Library Services for the Americas, OCLC
Daniel Boivin, Executive Director, OCLC Canada, Latin America & the Caribbean
Monica Fuijkschot, Director General, Published Heritage Branch, Library and Archives Canada
Diane Beattie, Director, Description Division, Published Heritage Branch, Library and Archives Canada
Alexandra Freeland, Director, Library and Information Management Services, National Research Council
- Opening of the meeting and agenda approval
- Review the minutes of the Fall 2019 Meeting
- Review of the key items discussed at the virtual Global Council (GC) Meeting
- Topics/areas for discussion related to Canadian Libraries
- Quick updates from OCLC: RVM load, Loading of new French Names to Canadiana from BCI, Link Data and Mellon Foundation
- Possible departing delegates
- Discussion on the (next in-person) fall meeting
- Other business
- End of Conference Call
1. Opening of the meeting and agenda approval
- The agenda was approved as proposed.
2. Review the minutes of the Fall 2019 Meeting:
- No other changes were reported and the minutes were approved.
3. Review of the key items discussed at the virtual Global Council (GC) Meeting
- Ms. Schachter invited those that participated to comment and Mr. Crocco said he felt it went smoothly, the points presented were clear and the meeting was well structured.
- Ms. Lefebvre mentioned that she would have hoped that more people would have been on the afternoon call. The participation and exchanges were good in the morning as many people did shared comments.
- Ms. Chan said she felt it was great to have two time periods to join for the discussion. She said that as a new delegate, it was a useful meeting to learn more about the Global Council's (GC) structure, the role of various individuals and the structure of OCLC. She liked the session on the pandemic. As for the caucus meetings, it is all blurring together but she appreciated the smaller venue. The ARC caucus made her realize that she had missed a lot of information from the previous exchanges, so she needs to find time to fit that into her routine to learn and participate more actively. She referred to reading more what is shared on GC Connect.
- Ms. Mathenia felt that the meeting was not as robust and fulfilling as in person. But she said it went well, especially the round table sessions.
- Ms. Reaume was also at the caucus meeting and the round table on the pandemic (for which she said it was very valuable to her). She finds hard to sustain the engagement on GC Connect. She too needs to schedule time to devote to it. Her work time now is also structured quite differently and renders this harder to accomplish.
- Ms Schachter confirmed that there is no way virtual can capture as mush as in person. Virtual makes it much harder on the new delegates too, i.e. to learn about OCLC and the GC structure / dynamic. But she anticipates more GC virtual meetings in the coming next 12 months.
4. Topics/areas for discussion related to Canadian Libraries
- Impact of BIBFRAME on Canadian libraries (update from the Canadian BIBFRAME Readiness Task Force)
- Ms. Chan indicated that the Task Force was created the fall of 2018 and it was charged to gage the readiness of Canadian libraries for adopting / transitioning to BIBFRAME, to communicate the impacts of it on cataloguing and finally to make recommendations to the CMSC (CFLA's Cataloguing and Metadata Standards Committee) on the practical things to plan for so that most libraries and librarians can be ready for it.
- Since last fall, the Task Force has launched a primer on BIBFRAME that was shared through provincial channels and can be found on their Web site http://cfla-fcab.ca/en/about/committees/cms-committee/canadian-bibframe-readiness-task-force/.
- Also did a survey of CDN libraries (32,000 libraries of all types in Canada) from November to end of December 2019. 107 French and 214 English libraries responded which is less than 10% of the total number of libraries. The Task Force is analysing the results. Preliminary findings were shared at OLA (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1oG4ILQ5xq_Xw96cA6qAKJyoNoZY5nw9lmAE3Ukmr1qs/edit?usp=sharing).
- A report is expected to be released in June. CMSC will review in July and take actions on the recommendations.
- The timeframe to implement these recommendations are expected to take time, like it did for RDA. Ms Chan things it will compare to the RDA implementation in terms of time and challenges but because this is a bit more complex, it is expected to take longer. It is after all more "linked" to the library's infrastructure. She compared it to the transition between the library cards to the online MARC format only access. It will take time.
- There are still a good number of questions needing to be answered (will libraries need to work with vendors to convert the MARC data when vendors are ready, will vendor be able to handle both MARC and BIBFRAME, etc.?). Ms. Chan indicated that their local system, ALMA has some interface to facilitate the creation, but it is very premature and more of a selling feature than a true working tool. It is not ready for primetime yet. The timing of seeing this adopted will be based on when every single library is ready.
- Mr. Boivin mentioned that OCLC could invite John Chapman at OCLC to discuss this in further details to help answering some of these questions and bring this as well in the context of linked data and how they both are connected.
- Ms. Chan then indicated some market concerns with the current IMLS grant received at OCLC for this linked data infrastructure that will be built. Some people in the market seems to think that this will become a proprietary solution to OCLC that will not be open to all libraries which goes against the BIBFRAME objective to be open. Mr. Crocco did mention that the grant was provided so that in fact there will be an open infrastructure with some bonified services that could be charged but all still needs to be defined. Ms Chan indicated that it will be important for OCLC to clear this misconception and this perception on the market that OCLC will make all of it proprietary.
- Finally, the Task Force is working on a list of recommendations for training, education and advocacy that will help Canadian libraries prepare and make informed decisions.
- Other details on the Canadian BIBFRAME Readiness Task Force provided by Ms. Chan were:
- Plain Language Description of BIBFRAME
- Plain Language Description of BIBFRAME
- Cataloguing Ethics Steering Committee (update on a joint CFLA-FCAB, ALA and CILIP collaboration -- Joint Canada, US, UK)
- The connection to CFLA-FCAB is also the CMSC six working groups. Objectives are to investigate and recommend best practices.
- Work schedule so far has been as follows:
- August-December 2019 - Working Groups began work on their assigned area.
- December-February 2019 - The Steering Committee reviewed the Working Group reports and use the information to produce a cataloging ethics document.
- March-May 2020 - The Steering Committee has been working on a draft of the cataloging ethics document and plans to have a draft posted for public comment in mid-May. Should contain around 10 statements and it is 80% completed so far.
- CMSC will facilitate making the draft code of ethics available for all Canadians to review and comment on:
- Infrastructure to gathering feedback is to be worked out.
- One idea is that each member of CMSC would make the draft available to all members in their province or territory, and then forward comments and suggestions to a CMSC coordinator to collate the comments, suggestions and drafting a CMSC response.
- Ex Libris acquisition of Innovative Interfaces.
- Ms. Schachter said that they are an III customer at Capilano University. For her, this transaction did not come as a total surprise. Right now, she cannot conceive her library moving to another platform until they understand their own platform and this new business relationship.
- Ms. Lefebvre was curious to hear about the possible implication colleagues could foresee with this transaction.
- Ms. Schachter said that they like using EDS from EBSCO and she wonders if the ranking priority of search results could be modified and be impacted by such a transaction in the future. They currently do not see the impact. However, Ms. Schachter thinks that Proquest will not be maintaining all these systems over time. Assuming Ex-Libris will take over, she said that for her, there is a real danger that the price will be much higher based on previous experiences.
- Ms. Lefebvre talked about a post from the Proquest President in March. She feels this creates a monopoly in the US and Canada regarding platform and content. With the pandemics, budgets will be affected and price increases, upgrades and pricing in general may also be affected if one company has control of the market. She mentioned that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ordered a review of the acquisition.
- Mr. Crocco said that the FTC asked OCLC and various organizations and librarians in the industry for their opinions because there are concerns about this acquisition. He is convinced it will impact everyone, not just the III customers, over time. He feels that this will dictate what will be developed and the costs.
- Within the OCAC members, Ryerson University, Capilano University as well as NRC are III customers.
- Also shared by Ms. Lefebvre was a recent announcement saying that the Federal Court of Appeal had overturned the decision in favour of York University v Access Copyright. This means that Access Copyright cannot force institutions to enter into a license with them. For further details, see Michael Geist's blog at
- Ms. Chan reported that innovation at U of T is coming slowly and all physical services are closed, ie. everything is done online. They have not purchased any print material since then, only electronic/digital. The classes are all online and they will have summer terms. Not surprisingly, the copyright department is very busy. Students enrollment is also up for the summer term. Currently, there are a greater demand for teaching than there are instructors available. They made a special arrangement with HaithiTrust and U of T can now provide a digital copy to the user providing they can prove they have a physical copy at the library. Because all work is done remotely, that works well but it is expected to go away once everybody is back at the library. They are also talking and discussing when and how they can reopen and physically go back in libraries.
- Ms. Reaume said they are doing very similar things at U of Calgary. They have greater demands for summer courses too because students are out of a summer job so they invest more time in their study. Their copyright service is also very busy. Some students need to take on-site exams for their graduate studies so the university is finding ways to accommodate them with the help of building maintenance/facilities. They have had no lay offs yet at the library. They are trying to have everybody involved, working on various projects. They even have a curbside service for graduate students that need items for field study exams when no electronic documents are available. The idea is to assure they can finish their respective programs on-time. She indicated that the province of Alberta was already dealing with budget cuts before the pandemic (had 250 abolishment at U of C because of that). The pandemic is aggravating the situation and they are expecting another 150 positions to be cut at the university.
- Ms. Martinez reported that they have laid off 76% of their staff because of shortage of work and the current reality. They are also looking at a few more temporarily lay offs in the coming days. There is a strong uptake in virtual programs (250,000 views of these virtual programs). There is a 76% increase in online membership and a 90% increase in chat sessions. They provide different services and they remain quite active in the community. There is a small number of employees left working on these projects but they are doing well. Ms. Martinez expects a $2 to $4 million cut (40—70% expected). They are losing revenues as well as there are no room rentals, no photocopying, no fees and so on. There are some "recovery planning" discussion that have started at CULC where Ms. Martinez is the current chair of. A report on this planning is scheduled for May 21st as well as more projects coming in the next weeks.
- Ms. Dumas said that BAnQ and Grande Bibliothèque are both closed. Like others, they have an increase in eBooks usage and loans. They have introduced new activities and services online. They are trying to buy more eBooks from Quebec bookstore to support the local industry that is suffering a lot right now. They too are working on plans to reopen. Ms. Schachter asked Ms. Dumas when she thought this could happen and this truly depends on the Ministry to decide. Worth noting though that Montreal is the "hottest" area in the country regarding COVID-19 so, it will still be a little while. She knows that they will need a month to be ready to reopen once they are given the OK and then another month to go back to normal. In the meantime, they are considering other options such as picking books themselves for patrons (closed stacks), providing access to just a few computers, etc. She is curious to see what the long-term effects will be related to social distancing in library and collection use. Will this be creating new long-term habits? Will the current online traffic remain the same and become the new normal?
- Ms. Mathenia said they are also closed (March 23rd) but had no lay offs yet. All physical services at the library are closed (no laptop checked out). They had a push to provide online delivery or courses and exams in order to assure the end of semester for all the students. Some students were challenged in terms of online access and they were provided with equipment to help them out. She herself went in to lend some portables. They are right now discussing the fall start and they are looking at different scenarios (just faculty and staff, some students, online only, etc.). They are hoping to hear from the Ministry on the next phase(s) in the next 2-3 weeks. The current semester is wrapping up but in May, they will start looking into this further, including the summer term. During all these adjustments, they realized that many students were not prepared with technology, resources and equipment. Her own library staff has learned a lot and they are improving too. Lots of cross training is going on within the library staff.
- Ms. Schachter indicated they went through similar issues as the other OCAC colleagues from academic institutions. One of the Dean at Capilano University reported not being optimistic in having a summer term and was thinking they would rather all go back for the fall but online. They are looking at a possible decline of enrollment for fall but so far, the summer registration figures look fine. They do not expect normality to be back for possibly another full year. Ms. Schachter indicated that if students cannot work and find jobs, this is an excellent opportunity for them to stay at school but online. However, they are challenged as not all courses are made available online. For that reason, Capilano University President said they are accelerating the plan for online delivery.
- Ms Mathenia also shared that concern regarding practical courses. These cannot be offered online. At her university, they are looking at on-site smaller cohorts to accommodate these types of course. They at Thompson Rivers University have a lot of trade programs and it is a challenge for them. They cannot take all their courses online. She thinks however that the virtual world will bring some new opportunities to them.
- Ms. Lefebvre said she heard that the University of Manitoba will be financially challenged. They were considering using library space for revenue generation and online delivery of their services might accelerate freeing up space to help accomplish that. Ms Lefebvre is convinced that in the near future, libraries will have more spaces with fewer people in it and "seats" might offer increased values to libraries.
- Ms. Dumas said that more and more, people are coming for internet access as many do not have this at home and this will be a growing challenge. Because of that, the digital divide might increase.
5. Quick updates from OCLC
- Mr. Crocco talked about the recent announcement from IMLS to research how print materials, plastic and other items borrowed out can be safely returned to circulation. OCLC and Battelle are involved in doing the research.
- Mr. Crocco also provided a brief description of the Mellon Foundation grant for Link Data Infrastructure.
6. Possible departing delegates
- Ms Lefebvre (OCLC Board of Trustees) and Ms. Beattie (GC/ARC) are both finishing their respective terms, consequently, their terms on OCAC. Ms. Lefebvre has completed 2 terms and will be leaving OCAC after 8 years of devoting her time to OCLC matters. Ms. Beattie not being on the call, it is unknown at this time if she will agree to pursue the offer to extend her stay on ARC/GC, consequently, OCAC, due to the cancellation of the spring elections (COVID-19 related).
- Ms. Lefebvre really appreciated the support from OCAC colleagues and all on OCAC have been very appreciative of her time and contribution to all OCLC Councils and the Board of Trustees.
7. Discussion on the next in-person fall meeting (date and location)
- There is no ARC meeting in the fall of 2020. It has been postponed to 2021 and further details will follow. However, ARC will try to have a meeting in the fall (September or October).
- For OCAC, we should plan for a meeting in October. October would be better to avoid the possible rush associated with the start of the academic year. Of course, this will be virtual (Web or phone) and not in person.
8. Other business
- No other business was raised.
9. End of the meeting
- At 14h50
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