A new library management system to share Canada’s published documentary heritage

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Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has entered into a contractual agreement with OCLC, an international non-profit library co-operative. Effective March 23, 2017, this agreement will allow LAC to offer the Canadian library community world-class services to display the richness of Canada’s documentary heritage.

OCLC was awarded the contract following a Government of Canada public procurement process. The co-operative was determined to be the only organization that was able to meet all of LAC’s requirements.

OCLC is the world’s largest online resource for discovering library materials. LAC has acquired its services to support the management of acquisitions, cataloguing, serials control, public access, circulation, loans to other institutions and to assume responsibility for the management of the National Union Catalogue. The initial contract is for five years.

The leading-edge system offered by the co-operative is available in both official languages. It is reliable, high-performing, accessible, evolving and mobile-friendly.

OCLC will replace LAC’s 20-year-old library management system, called AMICUS, which is currently used to manage published materials held at LAC, and to support discovery of holdings located in hundreds of libraries across Canada. LAC’s current system includes the National Union Catalogue, made up of bibliographic descriptions and location information for these resources. It covers all subject areas and formats including printed books, computer files, sound recordings, videos, maps, microforms, newspapers, and works in large print and Braille.

LAC’s current system is outdated and no longer adequately meets the needs of Canadians. Following an in-depth analysis and consultations with key stakeholders in the Canadian library community, LAC concluded that it would be less costly to acquire these services than to build and maintain an in-house system.

Implementation of LAC’s new library management system will take place over the next 24 months. LAC will continue to serve its clients using AMICUS while the new service is implemented. Once the OCLC system is fully operational in 2018, AMICUS services will be discontinued.

To take advantage of OCLC’s world-class services, Canadian libraries must be members of the co-operative. Many Canadian libraries are already members of OCLC. In line with feedback from the Canadian library community, LAC has negotiated an agreement with OCLC whereby LAC will cover the interlibrary loan and copy cataloguing subscription fees for small public libraries and small libraries at post-secondary institutions (community colleges, CEGEPs and universities). In fall 2017, LAC advised libraries how they can apply for financial assistance in order to become members of OCLC.

LAC will also work closely with Canadian libraries that are not OCLC members to resolve their interlibrary loan and copy cataloguing needs.

Over the course of this transition, LAC will communicate regularly with the Canadian library community to obtain feedback and to provide updates on upcoming milestones and timelines.

Questions

  • 1. What is the system currently used by LAC, and why does it need to be replaced? 

    AMICUS is the current system used to manage published materials held at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and also to allow the discovery of holdings located in hundreds of libraries across Canada. It is the platform for the National Union Catalogue (NUC).

    Created more than 20 years ago, AMICUS is technologically outdated. Its maintenance costs continue to increase, and it no longer serves its purpose adequately. Neither AMICUS nor the NUC have kept pace with new web and mobile-friendly functions, and do not offer user customization options or links to social media.

  • 2. How much is LAC paying for this new OCLC system?

    The total cost of initial and mandatory services for the first five years, including applicable taxes, is $4.47 million. For more information, see buyandsell.gc.ca website.

    This system will be less costly for LAC over time than the current outdated one. In addition, users will have access to state-of-the-art services.

  • 3. Why did LAC choose to work with OCLC?

    Through an Advance Contract Award Notice (ACAN) procurement process managed by Public Services and Procurement Canada, OCLC was determined to be the only organization that could meet LAC’s requirements.

    OCLC is an international non-profit co-operative. It is dedicated to the goal of furthering access to the world’s information resources. OCLC provides services to libraries in 170 countries. Many libraries in Canada are already members. OCLC and its member libraries co-operatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the largest online public access catalogue in the world. OCLC provides online services in English and French, as well as in many other languages. The organization already partners with the national libraries of New Zealand, Australia, Great Britain and the Netherlands. OCLC’s Canadian office is located in Montréal.

  • 4. What benefits will the OCLC system offer to Canadian users?

    Everyone in Canada and in other countries will have access to LAC’s public catalogue. The web interface will be visually appealing, easy to use and intuitive, and it will still offer advanced search options for experienced clients.

    Because OCLC will be a one-stop shop, it will be much easier for Canadian users to discover not only the holdings of LAC and Canadian libraries but also what is available in libraries around the world.

    Canadian users will also benefit from a mobile version available on smartphones and tablets, and ongoing improvements and innovations from the world’s leader. OCLC frequently updates its services to keep up with trends and the expectations of users.

  • 5. Why should Canadian libraries become members of OCLC?

    By working with OCLC, LAC and participating Canadian libraries will be able to provide a single window for their documentary resources and collections. This will simplify access for Canadians and researchers from around the world.

    To benefit from OCLC’s world-class services, Canadian libraries must be members of the co-operative. Many Canadian libraries are already members of OCLC. By becoming members of OCLC, Canadian libraries will enjoy valuable high-quality and leading-edge services.

    In line with feedback from the Canadian library community, LAC has negotiated a provision with OCLC whereby LAC will cover the subscription fees for small public libraries and small libraries at post-secondary institutions (community colleges, CEGEPs and universities). This support will allow them to acquire OCLC copy cataloguing, including contributing their holdings to OCLC, and interlibrary loan services.

Useful information for Canadian libraries

For information and updates, please consult Questions and answers for Canadian libraries in light of LAC’s contract with OCLC.

Contact us

For questions or further information, please contact bac.servicesauxbibliotheques-libraryservices.lac@canada.ca.

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