OCLC Canada Advisory Council

Minutes — November 14th 2022


Debbie Schachter, Associate Vice-President, Students and Interim Director, Library Services & Learning Commons
May Chan, Head Metadata Services, University of Toronto
Lisa Haughton,, acting Director of Description, Library and Archives Canada (Replacing Caitlin Horrall, Director General, Description Division, Published Heritage Branch, Library and Archives Canada)
Joseph Hafner, Associate Dean, Collection Services, McGill University
Bruce Crocco, Vice-President, Library Services for the Americas, OCLC
Daniel Boivin, Executive Director, OCLC Canada, Latin America & the Caribbean


Pilar Martinez, CEO, Edmonton Public Library
Mélanie Dumas, Directrice de la collection universelle, BAnQ
Renee Reaume, Director, Metadata Services, University of Calgary
Renee Venne, Acting Director, Library and Information Management Services, National Research Council

Submitted Agenda:

  1. Opening of the meeting and agenda approval
  2. Review the minutes of the Spring 2022 Meeting
  3. Brainstorming on the Canadian library's landscape:
    • New/revised priorities
    • Budget trends, new/revised initiatives
    • Are new library positions / roles being created
    • Exciting projects underway
  4. OCLC enterprise / Canadian division year in review and update
  5. Update on North/Nord Canadian Shared Print Group – Joseph Hafner
  6. OCLC update on the Reimagine Descriptive Workflow Initiatives, OCLC's role in supporting NIKLA
  7. Review of the OCAC Charter
    • Currently OCAC has 8 delegates now and the charter says "desired number of delegates is 9"
    • Need a new chair
  8. Dates for next Spring meeting (Doodle will be sent)
  9. Other business
  10. End of Conference Call
  1. Opening of the meeting and agenda approval
    • At the beginning of the meeting, Mr. Boivin explained that due to her recent nomination on the OCLC Board of Trustees and her extensive workload, Ms. Martinez was leaving OCAC and would not be able to chair the meeting.
    • In the interim, Mr. Hafner volunteered to chair the meeting.
    • The agenda was approved as proposed.
  2. Review the minutes of the Spring 2021 Meeting
    • The minutes were approved with no further changes, but one was submitted after the meeting and it has been corrected already.
  3. Brainstorming on the Canadian libraries' landscape
    Mr. Crocco started the discussion by asking where was everybody in terms of coming back to the work place. Here is a summary of the comments that were gathered:
    • Mr. Hafner says that at McGill Univ., they are giving the flexibility to staff and to managers as the approaches vary per departments and their needs. Currently some are piloting two days at the library/office where other locations are in the office four to five days a week. His group works one day per week at the library. Collection services employees are three days at home. They are reaching the end of their pilot project and everybody is curious to see what the next steps will be. He concluded that as a manager, one day per week at home makes the most sense.
    • At LAC, Ms. Haughton said this was quite similar to McGill Univ. with many scenarios being put in place: some are 100% at home and some more often in the office, depending on their responsibilities. They have however locked down an agreement for a hybrid environment for the next three years. She added that those working in the city of Ottawa are pressured to work downtown to assure that local businesses can still operate. Local businesses are pushing for this message to be heard. However, it is clear that most institutions are not going back to what it was before the pandemic and hybrid is there to stay.
    • Ms. Schachter indicated that while she was at Capilano Univ., they were fully back on campus. At Langara College, they opened at the end of August and they are fully back. Most are there in person to serve the community. Students want to be on campus too. Some departments though are able to work remotely while other departments are piloting various models. There is not yet a formal structure, so they remain flexible based on the needs, meetings to have, tasks, etc. She indicated that Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays are the busiest days of the week on campus. They are finding that this is all working pretty well. It seems that people are working more hours when online. On the other hand, some are concerned that this new model might overwhelmed people with more back-to-back online meetings. Safety, proper equipment (chairs, monitors, etc.) are still elements being reviewed to assure everybody is properly served. No "hoteling" is offered at Langara College which was one thing being piloted at McGill Univ.
    • The "hoteling" concept being piloted at McGill Univ. is however finding to be difficult for many employees. Some of them feel that they are not "respected" by not having their own office space. But, it depends who you are speaking with! For example, the IT staff are fine with hoteling if they can be at home often.
    • Ms. Chan followed in mentioning that they at U of Toronto have a process a bit more formal to offer the hybrid model to their employees. Indeed, those wanting to work from home need to write a proposal as to why. The supervisor then discusses the application with the applicant. With this process, some did not qualify for working from home because of their roles and the nature of their position. That being said and regardless of the role one's play, they do need to come in the office/library three days a week in her area. In fact, her department may go back to 4 even 5 days a week in the office. It is clear though that once on site, they have better discussions and exchanges. Public services are still more at home than for the technical services, even when students were coming back. This may change over time, and she is seeing a trend to ask to be on site more often, at least 80% of the time.
    • To continue the discussion related to what had changed, Mr. Crocco asked what were some of the changes put in place that might continue, become permanent, in the future. Here are the points that were shared:
    • A paperless work place (invoicing to be paid, etc.) is one of them. Working from home and improved efficiencies doing so are also other areas of improvement that will remain.
    • At U of Toronto, a change seen more broadly is how patrons access the library (in person and/or virtually). U of Toronto card usage to access some libraries went down during COVID and was not as "controlled" during the pandemic (as was done before) but these libraries have kept less controlled measures since then. The tech services workflows have evolved so has some functions in acquisitions such as receiving invoices electronic from vendors. These new practices will be kept.
    • Langara College went to WorkDay before the pandemic and that was a good move and a move that was timely as it helped them during the pandemic. Then there was the online teaching which has forced some professors to make the transition, and this is a huge improvement for the college. Other fall outs are more negative (mental health, etc.) but these should not be permanent. Some faculties required up to the end of summer to be more comfortable with everything. The College did hire some help to support the professors in this transitional approach to teaching. They also received additional funding in streaming services, AV, etc. They are keeping these "extra" budgets on-going as they are proving to be very useful to the community. Some online courses were also created during the event. The academic success centre is a new theme in the library now. Ms. Schachter had created and Associate Director role to help with these new teaching responsibilities and this will stay.
    • At LAC, they still have issues with on-boarding new staff as they work partially or full time remotely. They are not used to on-board new employees virtually and this is a still a bit of a challenge.
    • Mr. Hafner said that the library at McGill went e-preferred for everything during the pandemic, unless available in print only, and they are not going back to what it was before, i.e. they are keeping this model. They almost stop their approval plan because of that. U of Toronto did that too. Some textbook publishers have print only still and they will not change their model which is unfortunate. Mr. Hafner thinks that their budget is over 90%, probably 95% "e" only now. They also experienced seeing more requests to use streaming video. The new generation of students and professors brought this as a new model to teach and it is well accepted. Same is true at Langara College.
    • Additionally, Langara College started using Talis Aspire and their reading list usage is still limited due to the willingness to use it by the professors. Ms. Schachter hopes professors will continue and grow using this tool for the benefits of the students.
    • At U of T, because of the increase usage of "e", their fair dealing guidelines needed to be updated. Ms. Chan also thinks that this was to better account for the York Univ. recent rulings.
    • Ms. Schachter shared this URL link in relation to fair dealing: https://fairduty.wordpress.com/2022/11/08/why/
  4. OCLC enterprise / Canadian division year in review and update
    • The PowerPoint presentation will be posted on the OCAC Portal site.
    • Ms. Chan asked a few questions about the legal action taken by OCLC against Clarivate PLC and its subsidiaries regarding Metadoor. The answer provided can be summarized here: A collective responsibility to protect the unparalleled value of WorldCat
    • Mr. Crocco also added that OCLC has always been collaborating with other library systems through API, ProQuest sending records for the KB, loading metadata for the knowledge base, etc. We are competing in some areas but we are also collaborating in others. He also indicated that OCLC has a number of new initiatives to help smaller libraries to grow their participation in WorldCat (for cataloguing, ILL, visibility or else). New programs such as the Small Library Edition and the Web visibility program are the most recent changes offered to small libraries.
    • Ms. Chan said that she was looking at ways as to how to respond to "negative" comments towards OCLC she hears from time to time such as that OCLC is not collaborating and too expansive. Ms. Schachter reemphasized the fact that OCLC is a not-for-profit cooperative that helps managing, maintaining and sharing quality records and the costs associated to these efforts tend to often be forgotten by people. There is a lot of work that goes into that "huge" container that is WorldCat. RDA compatibility was an example and now, link data comes to play. There is an evolution to the records. Ms. Chan is conscious of the cost of cataloguing and creating metadata and she would like to be able to have more individuals in the field aware of this.
  5. Update on North/Nord Canadian Shared Print Group
    • Due to the delay in the meeting and to not impact on the time offered to our guest speaker for the next point, it was decided to report this discussion to the next conference call.
  6. OCLC update on the Reimagine Descriptive Workflow Initiatives, OCLC's role in supporting NIKLA
    • Released in April 2022, the Reimagine Workflow report can be found on the OCLC website.
    • Ms. Proffitt indicated that this is the most downloaded report so far on the Research website and it has the most used web pages as well.
    • The work on OCLC's own Discovery tool is one example of the impact it has had so far and details of that work can be observed here: Create locally preferred subjects for display and search expansion
    • Also worth noting and as a "consequences" of this report, OCLC became the first corporate contributor to the NIKLA project. NIKLA is an association to unify and to amplify the voices of Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) that is building an open and online platform that will enable a dynamic, multilingual set of terminologies applied to Indigenous Peoples, places, heritage, tradition, knowledge and culture. It is run by and for indigenous people.
    • OCLC is one of two US stakeholders invited and contributed $15,000 CDN to the initiative in addition to OCLC employees' time and expertise when possible. Thus, OCLC Research will provide in-kind resources to the project.
    • https://www.atalm.org/node/533. Camille Callison and Ms. Proffitt presented at this event.
    • OCLC, NIKLA and LAC will present at the OLA Super Conference 2022 on the topic.
  7. Review of the OCAC Charter (clauses, number of delegates, terms, etc.)
    • The charter did not need any updates.
    • Mr. Hafner has agreed to pursue the experience of being the OCAC Chair.
    • OCAC will be seeking two new delegates to bring the number of delegates on the council to the desired number (9). A good balance would be to have at least one person from the Atlantic provinces and maybe someone from the Prairies.
  8. Dates for next Spring meeting
    • A Doodle will be sent.
    • A request to send suggestions for how a possible spring, probably more so a fall, in person meeting could be organized was raised. Ideas and suggestions are to be sent to Mr. Boivin.
  9. Other business
    • No other business was raised.
  10. End of the meeting
    • At 15h15 Eastern Time.
Actions required before the next meeting Responsibility
  1. Post the OCLC Update presentation on the OCAC Portal site.
Daniel Boivin, done.
  1. Send a Doodle for the spring 2022 conference call.
Daniel Boivin