OCLC Canada Advisory Council

Minutes — October 17th 2023


Debbie Schachter, Associate Vice-President, Students and Interim Director, Library Services & Learning Commons
May Chan, Head Metadata Services, University of Toronto
Joseph Hafner, Associate Dean, Collection Services, McGill University
Mélanie Dumas, Directrice de la collection de la Grande Bibliothèque, BAnQ
Sandy Ramos, Acting Director General, Description Division, Published Heritage Branch, Library and Archives Canada
Michael Vandenberg, Dean of Libraries, Dalhousie University
Eric van Lubeek, Vice President, Global Library Services, OCLC
Daniel Boivin, Executive Director, OCLC Canada, Latin America & the Caribbean


Renee Venne, Acting Director, Library and Information Management Services, National Research Council
Renee Reaume, Director, Metadata Services, University of Calgary
Gabrielle Prefontaine, Dean, University Library, University of Winnipeg

Submitted agenda:

  1. Opening of the meeting and agenda approval
  2. Welcome new delegate –Michael Vandenburg, Dean of libraries, Dalhousie University
  3. Introducing Eric van Lubeek, Vice President, Global Library Services, OCLC
  4. Review the minutes of the Spring 2023 Meeting
  5. Global Council upcoming meeting (November 15) – Focus on "Governance Study"
  6. 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
  7. Introduction to Research Library Partnership
  8. Other business (dates for spring meeting will be defined using Doodle)
  9. End of Conference Call
  1. Opening of the meeting and agenda approval
    • Agenda approved as submitted.
    • Mr. Joseph asked everybody to introduce themselves with the arrival of a new OCAC delegate, Michael Vandenberg, Dean of Libraries, Dalhousie University.
  2. Welcome new delegate – Michael Vandenburg, Dean of libraries, Dalhousie University
    • Mr. Vandenburg introduced himself and said that he used to attend the Infor meeting where Mr. van Lubeek used to work at.
  3. Introducing Eric van Lubeek, VP Global Library Services
    • Mr. van Lubeek said a few words about himself, his past experiences, and his background in libraries including the fact that he is a librarian.
  4. Review the minutes of the Spring 2023 Meeting
    • The minutes were approved with further changes as submitted by Ms. Chan.
  5. Global Council (GC) upcoming meeting (November 15th) – "Brief Review"
    • Mr. Boivin mentioned the history with having this point on the agenda and past GC focus meeting structure that were in person and discussing local, regional and national issues related to libraries.  Today, GC has changed quite a bit and focus more on OCLC's governance.  The next GC meeting will focus entirely on the its governance study.
    • Mr. Hafner indicated that some directors on GC had recommended a review since had been many years from the last time this was conducted. 
    • Mr. Boivin congratulated Mr. Hafner for recently being elected Global Council Vice Chair and ARC Vice Chair.
  6. Brainstorming on the Canadian libraries' landscape
    • Ms. Chan said that there were many staffing changes at U of Toronto:  the Director, Information Technology Service, Sian Meikle is retiring.  Marcel Fortin is a new AUL for that portfolio that expanded as it now includes also the Scholar's Portal.  Mr. Fortin was before head of the Map area and he started in his new role on Sept. 1st.   Ms. Chan's area is still transitioning to Alma, and she says it will take them still many months to adjust to the new workflows.  But, they now can deploy and use staff in different ways as well as collaborate better with other departments.   They have more of a team based approached in her department and they do take on more responsibilities such as cataloguing "e" resources.  She concluded in saying that technology, workflow, skills, are all evolving for the better.
    • Mr. Hafner added that at McGill Univ., they have opened their offsite library storage facility, in Valleyfield. That started 2.5 weeks ago and they are moving books and serials to this robotic storage facility. Currently there is a staff of three persons and twenty movers working at the site, and another twenty movers working on the downtown campus. They prepare and ingest about 20k items a day and hope to ingest more than 1M items before the end of the year. They will continue moving items until next May. This requires a lot of logistics. It is an Amazon like warehouse using robots from Dematic. Mr. Hafner has even learned how to repair robots and pieces in the process. And they are using WorldCat's API to update item status when items are moved from the library to the storage facility. It is going very well so far.
    • Ms. Ramos from Library & Archives Canada reported that they have added to their team a new e-thesis librarian.  This coincided with the launched of their "Thesis Canada" program.  Another project at BAC/LAC is looking at ways of masking offensive S-H, especially LC ones:  masking LC headings and overlaying with a more respective S-H without changing the records.  This project is headed by Ms. Fletcher.  BAC/LAC has also acquired 140k microfilm reels of newspapers from one of the last two companies having those in Canada, Dominion Microfilm.  They approached North/Nord initiative to obtain funding to digitize some of these, as well as CRKN.  A lot are defunct newspapers and original content.  They, at BAC/LAC, are trying to find ways to make this available to the Canadian community.
    • Ms. Dumas mentioned that BAnQ is moving to "matrix management" (a form of organizational structure in which employees report to multiple managers rather than one) which is a change for the managers as well.  This is with the goal to help employees be more mobile, but they have up to four hundred persons to "reorganized" in the process and this will take time.  She also reported that BAnQ won an Award recently for making available some of their digital content (title of the project is Découvrabilité des contenus culturels francophones).
    • Mr. Vandenburg indicated that respectful terminology initiatives are also underway at Dalhousie but in a "halting way".  They are aware of the amount of labor required for this and within Novanet, they are applying a masking terminology approach which is in-line with what is being done at the Univ. of Toronto.   They are also following NIKLA.  In fact, Mr. Vandenburg reported that Stacy Allison-Cassin has joined the School of Management at Dalhousie Univ.  She is involved with a CFI grant, related to Canadian collections, building innovative structure as to how researchers are using these infrastructures.  The library is supporting work on indigenous identity, developing recommendation to avoid identify fraud (report "Understand our roots" was produced).  Dalhousie University has closed relationship with local communities.  For example, many administrators attended a ceremony of the Milbrook First Nation recently.   The library is also looking at posting a new position modeling the description/requirements to the indigenous position.  It will be for a Black and African Nova Scotia position.   They are also in budget planning where they are "unpacking" old/current budgets to bring them into this new model.  Mr. Boivin then asked if their budget was expected to be increased or decreased in the process and Mr. Vadenburg said it was a bit of both: some will decrease other will increase.  However, the scenario they are asked to plan for is a cut of something between 4-5%.
    • Ms. Schachter reported that Langara has up to 37% of foreign students and that this brings a healthy budget.  In past years, the library has benefited through COVID by being able to financially add database subscriptions.  COVID brought some positive benefits to the library.  The College has also seen an increase in research budget:  they support RDM and they can expand their repository.  The library is looking at expanding funding in this area.   The library is also looking at adding an indigenous librarian position.  The new "Academic Success Centre" is under the library now.  The Centre helps students on academic probation.  British Columbia has a new act on "Accessibility", and Langara will have to make some adjustments to meet the new standards.  For example, the current ILS might have to be looked at.  Also WorkDay Student is being implemented, replacing the student current information system (Mr. Boivin asked what this was and Ms. Schachter indicated that this is a new business line for WorkDay, a new registrar system platform that needs adjustments for the Canadian market – introducing it will allow more self-service than before while using Banner).   Additionally, the library is looking at expanding students' space in the Academic Success Centre.   The library will also renovate some other library space and raise funds to accomplish that.
    • Ms. Schachter asked Mr. Hafner how their renovations were moving along and he reported that they were focusing on the 1969 main library and 1950 Redpath building.  The Redpath building plan is to vacate all books and collections to start the renovation.  Of course, the robotic storage project is synchronized with these renovations so once everything has been moved, the building will be ready to start renovation in 2025.  The whole project is a $275 million dollar project, and they are waiting to announce a large donor once this is all happening.
  7. Introduction to Research Library Partnership (RLP)
    • The RLP presentation from Ms. Bryant and Ms. Proffitt will be posted on the OCAC Web site.   
    • Ms. Chan thanked them for offering the program and reported enjoying being on the metadata group.  She said that it is great to have this service as it helps her knowing what is top of mind. And, it brings more voices to some specific issues.
    • Ms. Proffitt added that the reports have long term value and can be used and referred to after the time being published.
    • Mr. Vandenburg asked what is in the pipeline for upcoming projects and what is the process of identifying some of them?  He said he was curious to know because doing research in libraries is a challenge as staff is being asked to do more than what they can deliver and adding research topics is a challenge:  
      • Ms. Bryant said that she is hearing this sort of comment regularly.  People are tapped out.  The recent report being published acknowledge this a little.  She agrees that libraries need to find a way to operationalize that.
      • Ms. Proffitt said that at OCLC Research, they try to look at what are their unique capacities and what other organizations are better position to do for some research.  They find opportunities to partner with libraries to leverage each other's ability.  That way, they both can combine bandwidth and balanced their respective portfolios.
      • Ms. Bryant added that she was at U Waterloo, RDM workshop, and at a recent CNI roundtable, and she came away with the perspective that Canadian librarians are more tapped out than in the US, or at least regarding those dealing with the RDM space.  There are still some capacities, but it might just be because the topic has not entirely been covered.   
      • Other projects at the Office of Research are: 
        • Open Access and discovery
        • Some work with Public Libraries. 
        • Total cost of stewardship will be "refreshed", more "conversations" in that area is to be expected.
  8. Other business
    • No other item for business.
  9. End of the meeting
    • At 14h35 Eastern Time.
Actions required before the next meeting Responsibility
  1. Add the RLP presentation to the OCAC portal.
Daniel Boivin, done.
  1. Send a Doodle for the spring 2024 conference call.
Daniel Boivin, on its way.