What is AMICUS?
AMICUS is Library and Archives Canada’s (LAC’s) online catalogue of published material. Use it to explore LAC’s collection of books, magazines, maps, music, and more, including works in special formats (e.g., braille, large print, talking books, captioned videos, etc.) for persons who are print- or hearing-impaired.
The National Union Catalogue
From 1994 to 2017, AMICUS was also Canada’s union catalogue, displaying the holdings of hundreds of libraries from across Canada along with those of LAC. AMICUS still contains these records from other Canadian libraries, but they have not been updated since July 5, 2017.
On February 1, 2018, LAC launched the new union catalogue, Voilà. Holdings from AMICUS now appear in Voilà, where they are updated and added to by the Canadian library community. However, AMICUS is still being updated with LAC’s records and records from libraries specializing in materials for clients with print disabilities. More information about the holdings of alternate-format libraries is available on the questions and answers page.
Search Voilà and learn more about Canada’s union catalogue.
Database Services for Clients with Disabilities
People with print disabilities who cannot read standard print due to low vision, learning disabilities or physical disabilities that prevent them from physically holding a book, require publications in alternative formats such as braille, large print, audio and electronic text. AMICUS contains records for works in alternative formats and allows libraries across Canada to borrow them via interlibrary loan. This is a very important service, since only a small percentage of Canadian works are available in alternative formats.
In addition, producers who create alternative-format titles send bibliographic information about their intended productions to LAC, which creates pre-publication records; these pre-publication records are called Canadian Works in Progress (CANWIP). Other producers may search the national union catalogue prior to starting production of an alternative-format title, in order to avoid duplication of effort.
These records will continue to be created in AMICUS until LAC’s cataloguing operations are moved to the new LAC Catalogue in the fall of 2018. Until then, AMICUS is the authoritative catalogue for Canadian alternate-format publications.
AMICUS and Canadian Libraries
AMICUS will remain available to libraries that use it for copy cataloguing and interlibrary loans until it is fully decommissioned, after the new LAC Catalogue is launched late in 2018. The most up-to-date records of Canadian library collections, however, are now found in Voilà.
See the questions and answers page for more information about LAC’s new catalogues.
The New LAC Catalogue
LAC is currently moving its internal library management system for the national collection from AMICUS to the same platform that supports Voilà. The new LAC catalogue will launch late in 2018, bringing LAC patrons a modern new way to access its collections. Watch this page or follow @LibraryArchives on Twitter to see updates as the launch approaches.