OCLC Canada Advisory Council

Minutes — October 24th 2018



Brenda Mathenia, University Librarian, Thompson Rivers University
Debbie Schachter, Director, Learning Resources, Douglas College
Pilar Martinez, CEO, Edmonton Public Library
Suzanne Payette, Directrice, Bibliothèque publique de Brossard
Madeleine Lefebvre, Former Chief Librarian, Ryerson University, OCLC Board of Trustees
Monica Fuijkschot, Director General, Published Heritage Branch, Library and Archives Canada
Mélanie Dumas, Directrice, Direction de l'accès à la Collection universelle, BAnQ (replacing Danielle Chagnon, Directrice générale de la Grande Bibliothèque, BAnQ)
Diane Beattie, Director, Description Division, Published Heritage Branch, Library and Archives Canada
Alexandra Freeland,, Director, Information Management Services Directorate, Knowledge Management, National Research Council
Bruce Crocco, Vice-President, Library Services for the Americas, OCLC
Daniel Boivin, Executive Director, OCLC Canada, Latin America & the Caribbean


Renee Reaume, Director, Metadata Services, University of Calgary

Submitted Agenda:

  1. Opening of the meeting and agenda approval
  2. Review the minutes of the March 20th, 2018 Meeting (update, questions)
  3. OCLC enterprise / Canadian division year in review and update
  4. Brainstorming on the Canadian library’s future, new library programming, research interest, new areas of investment in technology, services, programs, new ways libraries are engaging with their communities, etc., and implications or possible roles for OCLC
  5. Review of the OCAC Charter (clauses, number of delegates, terms, etc.)
  6. Member Relations Update
  7. Other business
  8. Group picture
  9. End of the meeting

1. Opening of the meeting and agenda approval

  • Participants introduced themselves and the agenda is approved as proposed.

2. Review the minutes of the the March 20th, 2018 Meeting

  • Add “OCLC Board of Trustee” to Madeleine Lefebvre credentials.
  • No other changes were reported and the minutes were approved.

3. OCLC enterprise / Canadian division year in review and update

  • Mr. Crocco and Mr Boivin delivered the update.  The presentation will be posted on the OCAC portal but here is a summary of the exchanges that occurred during the presentation:
    • OCLC has now added the position of a “Data Protection Officer”.
    • In presenting some of the research and market analysis done at OCLC in FY18, Ms. Schachter suggested to OCLC to take on a review for/with Canadian public libraries like the one done in the US entitled “US Public Libraries: Marketing and Communications Landscape”. Mr. Boivin will research with colleagues the feasibility and report at the next OCAC meeting.
    • Similarly, Mr. Boivin indicated that the Office of Research was currently conducting a survey with CARL on innovation trends and priorities in research libraries. The survey is being sent to library directors at 31 institutions in Canada (3 OCLC Research and CARL partner to gauge innovation trends, priorities in research libraries).
    • Then a discussion about Canada’s indigenous community took place.  Questions about how the situation compared between US and Canada, what metadata/cataloguing work was done, etc., were raised.  The general perception was that in Canada, there are more thoughtful considerations to the community and a good example of that is the “Truth & Reconciliation” initiative (http://www.trc.ca).  There are various initiatives in each province and CFLA has put together a committee for this: CFLA-FCAB Truth and Reconciliation Report.  Ms. Fuijkschot asked OCLC if there was a way in WorldCat to identify indigenous material and it appeared that the only access right now would be through using subject headings.  These initiatives (crowd sourcing tools for names and places, sessions at library conferences, etc.) are still considered at an early stage and more initiatives are to be expected.  Ms. Schachter suggested to also look into what might be done on this in Australia and New Zealand (like the TePuna thesaurus) for comparison purposes.
    • OCLC invited as part of its “Distinguished Seminar Series” Dr. Kimberly Christen and she was addressing some of these challenges in her presentation that can be found here.
    • When the OCLC presentation touched on the membership growth in Canada and the various initiatives related with moving AMICUS to OCLC and its new name, Voilà, various points were exchanged with the two delegates from BAC-LAC attending the meeting:
      • Ms. Beattie indicated that a second funding round for small libraries was starting on Oct. 31st. 
      • Further discussion about specific groups and types of libraries wanting to also have some financial support to transition to Voilà took place.  BAC-LAC is considering offering some “transitional” support to some of them within the public, school and hospital libraries.  The goal for BAC-LAC is to maximize contributions to Voilà and to assure the best comprehensive coverage so that the union catalog gives as complete a picture of the Canadian libraries’ collections as possible.  For all these discussions though, the focus is on cataloguing and holdings registration.
      • Ms. Martinez who is currently the Chair of CULC reported that their members feels that they are not well informed about this change and they may try to invite BAC-LAC at their next meeting.
      • BAC-LAC still has the NUC round table as an active advisory body and they liaise with the Provincial & Territorial Public Library Council (PTPLC) as well as APLC (Association of Parliamentary Libraries in Canada).
      • One other project presently under consideration is the “national shared print – last copy – initiative”.  This is being co-chaired with SFU.  To that regards, Mr. Crocco indicated that OCLC has received a grant from the Mellon Foundation and CRL to improve the service by allowing the registration of library retention commitments for print serials in WorldCat.  Further details can be obtained here: OCLC awarded Mellon Foundation Grant to register library retention commitments for print serials in WorldCat.
      • BAC-LAC has given a new name to their new WMS cloud-based library system:  Aurora.
    • During the presentation, it was announced that McGill University was about to sign an agreement with OCLC to implement the whole of WMS after using parts of it for many years. It is the first ARL in Canada to do so and their implementation is underway already for a live target date of May 2019.
    • Following that announcement, Ms. Lefebvre indicated that this was a very good news for OCLC as she feels that there is still a negative perception of OCLC with many librarians out there (just another vendor, pricing, etc.). Ms Martinez asked if we could provide OCAC with some information, talking points, to help them address these issues with Canadian librarians when appropriate. It was suggested to OCLC to emphasis marketing more about members, the gain they obtain in working together through OCLC as a facilitator rather than marketing OCLC (the company and/or products).
    • Similarly, it was suggested that adding a tag line such as “OCLC is an international library cooperative” would help the organization.

4. Brainstorming on the Canadian library’s future

  • Ms. Freeland asked about what is in the plan at OCLC and in libraries regarding AI (artificial intelligence).  There are a lot of discussions at the federal level and even some federal requirements are being developed in that regards.  Open government and open science drive these discussions currently.  And, it is often all related to data management.  When and how to use machine decision making is also discussed in NRC’s labs.
  • Mr. Crocco said it is early at OCLC for this but initiatives such as proposing purchasing items if asked more than 3 times through ILL, experiments in discovery to use things like Alexa (talking to IBM and Watson folks) are examples of some of the “things” being tested.  AI is at an early stage at OCLC but there are initiatives that might not necessarily be seen as AI that are very close to being AI:  things like that ILL suggestion to purchase is a form of AI or work that Kathy King, OCLC Executive Director – Delivery Services, did with her team using a lot of analytics related to searching.  OCLC started tuning its search algorithm based on a lot of these experimentations.   It is not pure AI but a form of.  Also, using linked data is a good base to accomplish later on AI to derive links, information, etc.  Building connections will help bringing data to accomplish this.
  • Someone suggested that if OCLC is working on all of these, it should be doing more pro-active promotion on these initiatives to let libraries know.  They are interested in these topics.
  • It was reported that language recognition for indigenous languages using AI was also brought up as a potential research project within the federal departments. 
  • A participant indicated that AI would also be a good tool for online reference, at least as a first step of the interview process.  Some public libraries are doing some of that today but it is limited.  This seems to be more available in public libraries and not much yet seems to be happening in academic libraries.  There are however privacy concerns with all of this and pushing information out to users and this would need to be reviewed and/or addressed in the future so that libraries are not going “too far”.  Of course, expectations of privacy also differ with younger generations than older ones.  They seem more incline to share personal information, at least, until they find out more about it.
  • Ms. Schachter then asked if there was any true AI in libraries going on right now?  Mr. Crocco offered to bring this up to Lorcan Dempsey, Chief Strategist at OCLC, to see if he knows of any.  Using data to communicate with patrons is also a very interesting concept/idea to see if OCLC could pursue this further.
  • Ms. Lefebvre asked if there were any AI opportunities with SCS / GreenGlass?  Not currently but some ideas were shared to accomplish some of that such as applying to the collective collection and so on.
  • Ms. Schacter raised the idea of using virtual reality (VR) in libraries as sometime ago, Stephen Abrams brought the idea of data visualization to “enter” in the database and “view” the data in different ways.  Libraries have good potential in such areas with all the resources they have, be the staff, the tools or the databases they subscribe to.  Other ideas related to VR were shared:  use discovery tools to improve distance learning, combine gamification+VR+literacy, VR and research data and/or repository, etc.   Some libraries are currently exploring to provide access to VR headsets (Ryerson U, Edmonton Public has some devices but are not loaning them yet). 
  • Ms. Payette said that a Montreal based organization named SAT (Société des arts technologiques) has machines implemented in various cities and once on, it can allow individuals to exchange like if they were side by side and together.  An article in a French Montreal newspaper was published about this recently.
  • Open Access is another area heavily discussed at the federal level said Ms. Freeland.  OneScience has the technology to help building access to these and NRC is a user and partner.  That being said, a participant reminded all that tenure system in place challenges open access as professors need to be published in known journals to get their tenure and greater recognition in their sector.  Publishing in OA is then not as attractive.  Established rankings currently used have some bias and do not represent all the metrics, including OA.  OA impact seems under considered.  At least, more data related to OA is needed to provide a more complete picture. The good news is that younger generations seem more open to this but still, the system in place has to evolve to favor a better recognition to open access publishing. 
  • At Ryerson U., Ms. Lefebvre said, they are facilitating the “ORCID” subscription but that Canadian Science Publisher compliance rate is very low.  Making research data openly available remains a challenge at universities.
  • Mr. Crocco then asked how OA in a collection development stand point was being considered in libraries?  Ms. Mathenia mentioned that it is important to have easily discoverable OA content. 
  • For Public Libraries, challenges with eContent access is still an issue:
    • Pricing;
    • Special content access (indigenous content is less represented), not to mention self-published material to which they have very limited access to;
    • Measuring activity due to change of usage and format is on the agenda of public libraries as well said Ms. Martinez.
  • Ms. Dumas shared these concerns as well.  The proliferation of platforms and little links to existing local system/environment makes this very difficult to compile usage.  Not to forget that resources are more expensive every year so budget wise, “e” content is a growing challenge.  Unlimited access remains a challenge too she added and going only “e” for a public library does not serve all users.  Hachette apparently offers now “life-long” access. 
  • Another upcoming potential challenge for libraries was the discussions regarding the new NAFTA USMCA live +70 on copyright.  The issue with this will be that it can potentially add 20 years to the current law and this will translate into having nothing coming to the public domain for 20 years if this is passed.

5. Review of the OCAC Charter

  • Nothing to report other than possibly some formatting issues as indicated by Ms. Mathenia.
  • Ms. Martinez asked about OCLC’s member satisfaction survey:  how often is this being done and how/when is this being shared.  Mr. Crocco will investigate this.

6. Member relations update

  • Ms. Cinnamon indicated that ARC had 293 registrants from mostly academic libraries but more from public libraries had registered this time around.
  • Registrants were at the dean, provost and director level for the most part which is the targeted audience.  Most are from US, with a few from Canada and one from the Caribbean.
  • The two other Regional Councils at OCLC will also share the same theme later in this fiscal year: “Game changers”.
  • The RLP Pre-Conference program was for the first time opened to anyone interested, not just RLP members and they had people on the waiting list due to the high number of registrations.
  • The Global Council / ARC elections were open at the time of the meeting.  There are sixteen open positions available.  Three current delegates that just began are staying on for one more year as they replaced some that had to stepped down.   Ms. Beattie is one of them.  Consequently, the number of open positions is really thirteen, not sixteen.  Since we need a minimum of two persons per open positions, it ideally needs to have at least twenty-six candidates running.  The elections will be running from Febr. 15 to March 15 once the candidates have been identified.  The results of the election will be announced at the Global Council (GC) meeting on March 25, 2019.
  • The ARC Nominating committee members are identified on Web.  Ms. Beattie is on it from Canada.
  • Ms. Schachter is Vice Chair - Chair elect of ARC, she is also on the GC Executive Committee, Chair of Program Committee and was on the ARC Meeting planning Committee.  Ms. Martinez is on the GC Nominating Committee and Ms. Beattie is on the ARC Nominating and GC By-Laws Committees.  Finally, Ms. Mathenia is on the ARC Executive Committee.  Renee Reaume was starting her term as of July 1st, 2018, and will be joining OCAC too.
  • It was noted that the GC / ARC By Laws have changed and they do not dictate anymore a minimum number of delegates per region in ARC (used to require a minimum of 3 candidates from Canada needing to always be on it).  There is no minimum now.

7. Other business

  • Put on the next conference call meeting the need to discuss if it is still OK for OCAC to continue meeting in conjunction of the ARC meeting.   Doodle for next conference call will be sent before end of 2018.

8. End of the meeting

  • At 12h.
Actions required before the next meeting Responsibility

1. Research at OCLC the feasibility of conducting the following research (“US Public Libraries: Marketing and Communications Landscape”) in Canada.  Mr. Boivin will research with colleagues the feasibility.

Daniel Boivin

2. OCLC talking points to OCAC delegates to help addressing negative perceptions (vendor, price, etc.)

Daniel Boivin

3. Are there any true AI in libraries going on right now?  Mr. Crocco offered to bring this up to Lorcan to see if he knows of any.

Bruce Crocco

4. OCAC Charter formatting issues.

Daniel Boivin

5. How often is the OCLC’s member satisfaction survey being done and how/when is this being shared?

Bruce Crocco

6. Put on the next conference call meeting the need to discuss if it is still OK for OCAC to continue meeting in conjunction of the ARC meeting.   Doodle for next conference call will be sent before end of 2018.

Daniel Boivin