OCLC Canada Advisory Council

Conference meeting minutes - 23 September 2011


  • Diane Beattie, Acting Director, Open Content Division, Services Branch, Resource Discovery Sector, Library and Archives Canada
  • Hélène Roussel, Directrice générale, Direction générale de la diffusion, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec
  • Chris Oliver, Coordinator, Cataloguing & Authorities, McGill University Library (for Joseph Hafner)
  • Bill Maes, University Librarian, Dalhousie University
  • Mary-Jo Romaniuk, Acting Chief Librarian, University of Alberta
  • Debbie Schachter, Director of Technology & Collection Management, Vancouver Public Library
  • Lisa O'Hara, Head, Technical Services, University of Manitoba Libraries
  • Gwen Ebbett, University Librarian, University of Windsor
  • Bruce Crocco, Vice-President, Library Services for the Americas, OCLC
  • Daniel Boivin, Executive Director, OCLC Canada, Latin America & the Caribbean


  • Pam Bjornson, Director General, CISTI
  • Joyce Garnett, University Librarian, The University of Western Ontario

Submitted Agenda:

  1. Opening of the meeting and agenda approval (Chair, Hélène Roussel)
  2. Review the minutes of the October meeting and Action items
  3. Update on the Americas Regional Council, the Global Council and committees (Bill Maes, colleagues – GC Draft agenda is attached)
  4. Topics to bring to the next GC from Canadian delegates for consideration
  5. Discussion with Larry Alford
  6. OCLC enterprise / Canadian division year in review
  7. Possible topics for 2012 CLA Symposium and involvement of ARC once again
  8. Brainstorming on the actual library landscape (economy, staff, technology) and specific recommendations to make to OCLC
  9. Summary of the perceptions report, Canadian edition.
  10. OCAC Next meeting dates.

1. Opening of the meeting, welcoming new members and agenda approval

  • Agenda approved as submitted.

2. Review the minutes of the October OCAC meeting (update, questions)

  • Accepted without changes.

3. Update on the ARC and Global Council (GC) and Review agenda of November Meeting

  • Mr. Maes shared with the Council a summary of the latest exchanges:
    • ARC is a bit struggling with communications. The committee continue discussing even though lots of new communication documents and channels are produced and in place. It seems that things are coming down to who is communicating with the members. And, pulling/reaching the global library market is a challenge in ARC and GC of course. Just in the US, the relationships have shifted with the networks being less involved. Also, how to gain a better interaction with archives and museums remains a challenge. OCLC itself is not that focused on these "type" of institutions. Mr. Crocco indicated that often, it is the libraries in the museum that are members and involved, not the management of the museum. GC has a representative of the museum community.

    • Jamie LaRue has been active and coming up with good ideas to communicate better. In one of his post, he found that when budget cuts occurs, cooperative initiatives fall by the side when in fact it should be other way around with libraries working even more together, helping each other and sharing more. This in theory supports OCLC’s mission too.
    • Mr. Maes is thinking at bringing the OCAC concept to ARC so that ARC considers doing something like that for the LAC countries in order to get from these regions a better input and better communications/exchanges.
    • Mr. Maes reminded the Council to not forget the ARC member Web site to share and communicate (interest groups, posts, etc.). It is not used a lot, not known a lot and it is a challenge to get it to be known outside the ARC and GC walls.
    • Also, it is important that ARC tries to learn from EMEA and AP’s experiences (successes and challenges). The Regional Councils need to learn from each other and build from it. OCLC is not seen the same way in other parts of the world, i.e. outside of The Americas.
  • Gwenn Ebbett and Lisa O’Hara are on the communication committee. They are working on finding new and better ways to inform and communicate (tee-shirts, etc.). The activities on the Web are not as good as expected but they are working at improving the communications. Lisa O’Hara reminded the group that there are many listservs, blogs, etc., and that people tend to be very selective and prefers being pushed things rather than having to go to sites to read things. “If it comes to me, I will probably read it but I do not necessarily go out to get more”. Mr. Crocco indicated that a recent survey confirmed that listservs are still a preferred way to communicate (is this a generational thing?). Ms. Ebbett said that she has staff active on Twitter and they are getting info pushed to them and others this way. This could also be another media to consider for ARC.

4. Topics to bring to the next GC from Canadian delegates for consideration

  • A general discussion on new models for libraries, ways to share more and let someone else do more of the “back end” for libraries to be more efficient and serve better a library’s community took place. It was reminded that libraries should think more at the users who do not care where the information is coming from. All they care is to get it, get something easily. Consequently, outsourcing more services was proposed as an even more attractive venue to libraries.
  • Another comment was about the fact that in Canada, there are lots of ways to talk to each other though regional or national activities and yet, we are all wrapped-up into the same thing. It would be nice to tap into all these efforts spread all over the country to not reinvent the wheel but too often, one do not know about these initiatives.
  • Gwen Ebbett reported that Scholar’s Portal handles the licensing for all of OCUL, and that is an example of simplifying and sharing.
  • Trusted repositories are another initiative that helps collaborate better and avoid huge costs for some. Apparently, Orbis Cascade is looking into keeping 1 or 2 copies for all. Ms. Roussel indicated that there are some work being done in Quebec about that between universities and BAnQ.
  • But, for public libraries, they still need physical copies to serve their population. Challenges, expectations, funding, etc., are different for public libraries.
  • Many are members of different “groups” that often are also trying to do the same and that too is diluting the efforts. There should be more efforts to “simplify” or collaborate more.
  • Mr. Crocco mentioned as an example the fact that OCLC is sharing WorldCat with Ex-Libris now. “We are a member organization and trying to making this data available where it makes sense.”

5. Discussion with Larry Alford

  • Mr. Alford gave a description on his role as Chair of the Board, the role of the Board, the committees and the Board’s mandate. There are 15 trustees, all have one vote. They look at issues and fiscal conditions at OCLC (price increases, etc.) and many other areas. Mr. Alford indicated that the Board is like the Queen: it listens, receives comments and gives advice but it cannot make any changes.
  • In his new position at U of Toronto, he has to be careful with possible conflict of interests due to his role at OCLC. But, he remains always interested in finding out how OCLC can help reduce the raise of Canadian library costs now that he is on this side of the border. He strongly believes that all the capacity at OCLC can help libraries meet their public purposes.
  • Then he spoke about the search committee for the new CEO. First, there will be a new Board Chair in Nov. 2012 and it has been decided that it will be Sandy Yee. She is chairing the search committee and the Board felt this would be appropriate to change Chair to avoid potential issues knowing that Mr. Alford will do the negotiations with the new CEO as the actual Chair (nothing contentious). Mr. Alford indicated that the Board will be appointing an Advisory Committee for the search to represent GC and a variety of libraries. Also, there will be some OCLC staff involved in the process. There are still many details needing to be defined but the Board is looking for someone with international/global experience and outlook, that understands and appreciates libraries with a deep knowledge of the market, that knows the differences between for the profit and not for profit environment, with a deep understanding of technology, that is a high energy individual, that is focused and able to work with a Board and members around the world, with high ethical and strong personal values and finally able to promote with passion libraries.
  • The selection will be vetted through the search committee and the advisory board. The interviews will be in the spring leading to final interviews and an announcement in late spring.
  • One question asked was how the search committee plans to link the new strategies with the search process (or assure that the candidate is a good match with the new directions at OCLC)? Mr. Alford thinks that it will happen naturally as these are evolving and the various people involved with these discussions will assure this follow the proper course.
  • Mr. Alford then talked about the possibility of disrupting the environment (internal and external), which is inevitable. He thinks that with the various people involved and the staff input, it will be mitigated and that proper continuity will be assured in part because of all the high level quality employees at OCLC.

6. OCLC Enterprise / Canadian division year in review

  • The presentation will be posted on the OCAC private web site and is self explanatory.

7. Possible topics for 2012 CLA Symposium and involvement of ARC once again

  • Daniel Boivin indicated that preliminary discussions targeted the model EMEA will use in its next Regional Council meeting (Pecha Kucha – 20 minutes presentations). The members felt that the danger of doing 20 minutes sessions is that we would lose people in the process (I heard what I wanted, now I leave). Moreover, the delegates felt strong about needing a theme, a topic and key speakers to attract an audience so we should not pursue the Pecha Kucha idea for the symposium.
  • Since two of the OCAC delegates are also on ARC, they suggested to try to do like US as the topic/theme should come from ARC.
  • So before deciding what topic to work on, it was recommended to first find the theme for the CLA conference in 2012, see what ARC decides to do for ALA and then see if we could come up with something that relates to all this. But, we need to make sure we respect the CLA application deadline.
  • Ideas: Mobile access, maybe internationalization but not much for public libraries with such a topic, open data or open linked data. Tool kits related to digitization (Knowledge Ontario, Canadiana.org), duplication of efforts in this area and why is it the case? Could be the question or “what is next” could be the discussion if we can bring people involved with these programs to talk about them. Public libraries, “how can they offer more eBooks” is the hot topic because they are not that much available, especially in French.
  • Building applications. Can we have someone from Apple or Facebook talk about this to hear about the challenges and benefits and find out what might be the next thing according to their crystal ball.

8. Brainstorming on the actual library landscape (economy, staff, technology) and specific recommendations to make to OCLC

  • eBooks. EBSCO session on the West coast this fall was on the eBooks economics. Ex.: be able to charge back for article use and chapters because users want to buy chapters more and more now.
  • The copyright challenge in Canada is starting to drive some of the decisions. Charges are phenomenal and libraries need to recoup these charges.
  • Another topic heard more is “Activity based budget”. It is becoming a concept more and more being referred to.
  • Next meeting, start with this subject of brainstorming so we have more time to discuss as this time we had to cut it short.

9. Summary of the Perception report, Canadian edition

  • Due to the lack of time and the fact that many delegates had to catch an early flight, the meeting ended 1h earlier and the report was not presented. Instead, delegates agreed to review the report online.

10. OCAC Next meeting dates

  • Daniel will proceed like for previous years by sending a file and asking people to identify dates that works for them and then decide on the best date possible.
  • The meeting is adjourned at 14h10.

Actions required before the next meeting Responsibility
Share the Communications report with OCAC. Gwen Ebbett
What is the CLA 2012 Conference theme and deadline to apply for the pre-conference symposium? Daniel Boivin
Put the brainstorming topic on top of the next in person agenda meeting. Daniel Boivin and Hélène Roussel