Questions and answers for Canadian libraries in light of LAC’s contract with OCLC

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LAC is happy to announce that we have signed a contract with OCLC to replace AMICUS and to manage Canadian library holdings records.

You will find more general information about LAC's contract with OCLC at A new library management system to share Canada's published documentary heritage

The questions and answers provided below are intended for all Canadian libraries, including current and former contributors to the National Union Catalogue (NUC) in AMICUS.

General Questions

  • What is the name for the new National Union Catalogue (NUC)?

    The new catalogue is called Voilà. Why Voilà? Voilà is short, easy to remember, and evokes the ease of search and retrieval within the new catalogue.

  • With the transition to OCLC, what are the next steps for libraries?

    In order to benefit from OCLC services, Canadian libraries must be members of the co-operative.

    Different situations would apply, depending on the type of library:

    • If libraries already subscribe to OCLC copy cataloguing and interlibrary loan services, there will be no additional cost for them
    • LAC will cover the costs of subscriptions for small Canadian public libraries and small libraries at post-secondary institutions (community colleges, CEGEPs and universities). They will then be able to acquire copy cataloguing, including contributing their holdings to OCLC, and interlibrary loan services. The first funding application cycle is now complete. LAC expects to announce the details of the next funding cycle in spring 2018
    • To qualify for LAC's support, libraries must be:
      • public libraries with up to 50,000 population served; or
      • libraries at post-secondary institutions with a collection size of up to 60,000 items (print books, serial backfiles, e-books, audio/visual, serials held, e-reference sources)
    • Please note that this financial assistance is not available to elementary and high school libraries (including school districts and school boards), nor to regional library systems, special libraries or other government libraries
    • Canadian libraries that are not eligible for financial support must contact OCLC directly to determine pricing for copy cataloguing and interlibrary loan services. For further details, please contact canada@oclc.org
    • LAC will also work closely with Canadian libraries that are not OCLC members to resolve their interlibrary loan and copy cataloguing needs
  • What will happen to information currently stored in AMICUS?

    Data transfer from AMICUS to OCLC began in the summer of 2017, at which time there were some 65 million holding records in AMICUS.

    • LAC is sending all of its bibliographic records to OCLC
    • LAC did not send library holdings records to OCLC without the agreement of the owning library
    • LAC did not send records of holdings if OCLC already had more up-to-date holdings for that library
  • What would libraries gain by joining OCLC?

    MARC21 record download: Subscribing to OCLC significantly improves the match rate for copy cataloguing searches for publications as compared with what exists in AMICUS. It also reduces both the need for original cataloguing and the workload of Canadian libraries that are members of OCLC.

    Interlibrary loan: Using the largest online public access catalogue in the world (containing the holdings of hundreds of Canadian libraries in addition to tens of thousands of international libraries) will allow subscribing libraries (on behalf of their clients) to borrow material they do not have in their own collections from other libraries that do.

    Loading holdings into OCLC's WorldCat: This enables libraries to share their own bibliographic records and holdings with other Canadian libraries.

    Continuous improvement: As members of OCLC, libraries participate in a global international co-operative of libraries. They also benefit from OCLC services such as OCLC research, in addition to the ongoing enhancement and development of new services.

  • What options are offered for libraries that do not want to join OCLC?

    If libraries do not qualify for LAC-funded subscriptions for small academic and public libraries, and choose not to subscribe directly with OCLC, they can turn to other available options.

    • Libraries will still be able to search, at no charge, for copy cataloguing records from thousands of libraries in Canada and around the world that provide open Z39.50 access to their catalogues. (Z39.50 is a library-specific protocol for machine-to-machine communication.) OCLC has an online form for libraries to request Z39.50 credentials for searching for ILL purposes. You will need to provide your institution’s IP address(es). There is no cost to obtain these credentials.
    • LAC will continue to support interlibrary loan (ILL) services between other Canadian libraries by maintaining the Symbols and Interlibrary Loan Policies in Canada directory
    • OCLC ILL subscriptions will not be required for libraries to request loans from Library and Archives Canada through its Loans to Other Institutions service
    • Libraries can search Voilà, the new National Union Catalogue, to find libraries in Canada that hold the item they are interested in. They can then search LAC's Symbols and Interlibrary Loan Policies in Canada directory to learn about interlibrary loan policies and obtain contact information for these libraries to request loans
  • Will LAC continue to maintain Canadiana Authorities in English and in French?

    LAC has joined the Name Authority Cooperative Program (NACO). NACO libraries create standardized English-language forms of creator names to be used in the bibliographic records of all participating libraries. For English-language authority records, NACO will replace Canadiana Authorities.

    LAC's transition to NACO will benefit the Canadian library community, as English-language bibliographic records created by LAC will use the same name headings as those used by other English-language libraries in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. This consistency of “access points”, or how names are formulated, is one key for effective sharing of copy cataloguing records across libraries.

    NACO authority records in English can be freely accessed on the Library of Congress Authorities web page and viaf.org. Name headings used by LAC will also be freely available by searching the future LAC catalogue in OCLC.

    Discussions about how to transition to NACO are now under way. Once this process is completed and LAC begins cataloguing in OCLC, a separate English Canadiana name authority file will not be maintained. Until then, LAC name authorities will continue to be available at Canadiana Authorities as well as in AMICUS.

    NACO has more than 750 participating libraries, including national libraries such as the Library of Congress (U.S.), the British Library, and the national libraries of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Across Canada, there are several academic, government and public library participants.

    While many organizations around the world maintain French-language authority files, there is currently no international shared French-language authority program comparable to what is available in English through NACO. For this reason, LAC will continue to maintain its separate French-language name authority file. Once these authority records now maintained in AMICUS are migrated to OCLC, LAC will use OCLC's system for creating and updating French name authorities. LAC French-language authority data will continue to be freely accessible at viaf.org. Name headings used by LAC will also be freely accessible by searching the future LAC catalogue in OCLC. LAC will most likely also make batch files of French-language authority records freely available to interested libraries. The mechanism for sharing these files has yet to be determined, and LAC will provide this information when it is available.

  • Will LAC continue to maintain Canadian Subject Headings?

    LAC will continue to develop Canadian Subject Headings. Options for maintaining and sharing this file are currently being analyzed. More information will be shared on LAC's website as it becomes available.

  • What will happen to the NUC bibliographic records and holdings records once AMICUS is decommissioned?

    Once AMICUS is decommissioned, the NUC records it contains will no longer be publicly accessible, (except from your own library catalogue or the catalogue of any other library network in which you participate). For historical purposes or internal reference if necessary, LAC will keep copies on LAC premises/servers of all of the NUC bibliographic and holdings records currently stored AMICUS. These will not be externally accessible.

  • What are the steps of the NUC transition?

    • Voilà, the new National Union Catalogue, launched February 1 2018
    • NUC libraries contact OCLC for memberships if they are not already members
    • NUC libraries send future holdings records to OCLC
    • LAC implements other modules of OCLC's integrated library system
    • LAC launches its new library catalogue in the fall of 2018
    • AMICUS is decommissioned

Questions about data migration from AMICUS to OCLC

  • Were my library's holdings records transferred to OCLC?

    LAC contacted NUC libraries via email to let them know whether or not LAC planned to transfer their holdings records. Situations varied, but in general:

    • If the NUC library's holdings records had been updated in AMICUS within the past three years, LAC sent all of the library's holdings to OCLC
    • If the NUC library had not sent updated holdings records to AMICUS within the last three years, the library's holdings were typically not sent to OCLC
    • If the NUC library was contributing its holdings records to both LAC and OCLC, LAC sent the library's NUC holdings if they were more current or complete than those in OCLC
  • What are the costs of transferring my library's holdings records to OCLC?

    There was no cost for the initial transfer of your holdings records from AMICUS to OCLC, nor any commitment on your library's part to send future holdings records to OCLC.

    Going forward, your library will require an OCLC cataloguing subscription to continue to send your holdings records to OCLC. LAC will pay the associated costs for small public and academic (university, community college, CEGEP) libraries. The first funding application cycle is now complete. LAC expects to announce the details of the next funding cycle in spring 2018.

    Canadian libraries that are not eligible for financial support must contact OCLC directly to determine pricing for copy cataloguing and interlibrary loan services. For further details, please contact canada@oclc.org. LAC will also work closely with Canadian libraries that are not OCLC members to resolve their interlibrary loan and copy cataloguing needs. LAC hopes that you continue to share your holdings records with the Canadian library community.

  • Should I keep sending my library's holdings records to LAC?

    No. LAC permanently ended the loading of all holdings into AMICUS effective 11:59 PM EDT July 5, 2017.

    LAC has deactivated the ability to use Update Locations in AMICUS for most libraries. (Alternate format libraries that specialize in the provision of services for clients with print disabilities are still able to use this function.)

  • When will LAC stop loading the holdings of alternate format libraries into AMICUS?

    LAC currently adds bibliographic records and holdings statements manually to AMICUS on behalf of small, non-MARC-based libraries that specialize in collecting and providing resources for clients with print disabilities. Publications in alternate formats include braille, large print, audio and electronic text for people who cannot read standard print because of low vision, learning or physical disabilities that prevent them from holding a book.

    LAC will continue to add records of alternate format holdings to AMICUS until autumn 2018. To ensure access to these records, this practice will continue until LAC starts using OCLC cataloguing functionality. LAC will then send OCLC the records that have been added to AMICUS since the initial load of data in 2017.

    Holdings data from participating Canadian libraries, including alternate format libraries, are now viewable in Voilà, the National Union Catalogue. However, alternate format libraries are advised to continue to use AMICUS as their primary source of information until LAC begins creating records in OCLC's WorldCat on their behalf.

    LAC will communicate with alternate format libraries in 2018 about the transition to creating records for their material in OCLC's WorldCat.

  • When will LAC stop updating its own holdings in AMICUS?

    LAC will stop updating its own holdings  in AMICUS once it starts using the new cataloguing functionality. This is planned for autumn 2018.

    Access to records in AMICUS via Z39.50 will remain active until that time.

  • Were all holdings in AMICUS transferred to Voilà?

    No. Some holdings do not appear in Voilà, the new National Union Catalogue, either at the request of the holding library or because the holdings were out of date. LAC has communicated with NUC libraries to let them know how it proceeded with their holdings.

  • Which records from AMICUS appear in Voilà?

    The records for the following libraries are included:

    • LAC bibliographic records but not detailed holdings. Detailed holdings will be added in fall 2018, at the same time as the launch of the separate new catalogue for LAC holdings
    • National Union Catalogue (NUC) libraries that have contributed to AMICUS in the past three years and that agreed to their holdings data being migrated to OCLC
    • Canadian libraries that were already OCLC members in WorldCat and that agreed to being added to the new LAC catalogue of Canadian library holdings
  • Will any data elements be added or moved to different fields as part of the migration of bibliographic records from AMICUS to OCLC?

    In the new catalogue the OCLC number will appear in field 001, so when AMICUS records are moved to OCLC the AMICUS record number will appear in field 016 (national bibliographic agency control number), while the Canadiana number will be seen in 015 (national bibliography number). These changes have been made so that both Canadiana numbers and AMICUS numbers will searchable in OCLC WorldCat. The practice of storing our Canadiana number in the 015 field also aligns with the practice of other national libraries such as the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. No new AMICUS numbers will be created after LAC begins cataloguing in WorldCat late in 2018.

    In LAC’s records another change will appear in OCLC: collection codes that are currently used in AMICUS to identify parts of the LAC collection such as Theses, Reference and Rare Books will become visible in MARC field 084, which is searchable in OCLC. These codes are currently stored in non-MARC fields in AMICUS. All of these codes will be migrated to the new catalogue, but when LAC cataloguing goes live in the new catalogue only some of them will remain in use, as OCLC offers other ways to identify many of these materials.

Questions about copy cataloguing and updating holdings

  • Are the details of my library's holdings, such as holdings statements for periodicals, displayed in Voilà?

    Your library requires an OCLC subscription to make its holdings details viewable within Voilà and other OCLC products.

    The display of details and location will depend on the cataloguing and configuration decisions of the holding library.

    For example, if you have an OCLC subscription and you have configured links to your local Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC), those links will appear Voilà and in WorldShare Interlibrary Loan (WorldShare ILL). Other libraries and users can click on those links to view the details in your local OPAC record.

    Voilà does not display holdings statements for periodicals. If your library has configured links to your local OPAC, those links will appear. To make holdings statements for periodicals viewable within certain OCLC products, such as WorldShare ILL, your library will have to add its local holdings records to the bibliographic records. You can also choose to generate a summary holdings statement. Neither the local holdings data nor the statement are in Voilà

  • How will I update my library's holdings data in OCLC?

    Your library requires an OCLC cataloguing subscription to continue to send your holdings data directly to OCLC.

    LAC will pay the associated costs for small public libraries and for academic libraries (university, community college, CEGEP) through an application process.

    The first funding application cycle is now complete. LAC expects to announce the details of the next funding cycle in spring 2018.

    Canadian libraries that are not eligible for financial support are advised to contact OCLC directly to determine pricing for copy cataloguing and ILL services. For additional information, contact canada@oclc.org.

    There are several options available for ILL and copy cataloguing services for libraries that do not subscribe to OCLC services. See: “What options are available to libraries that do not want to join OCLC?”

  • Can I download MARC21 records via Z39.50 from Voilà? Will I need an OCLC subscription to download records?

    To download MARC21 records via Z39.50, your library needs to purchase a full OCLC cataloguing subscription. The full cataloguing subscription enables Z39.50 access to bibliographic and authority records. The copy cataloguing subscriptions funded by LAC use a different mechanism from Z39.50 to download records.

    There are several options available for ILL and copy cataloguing services for libraries that do not subscribe to OCLC services. See: “What options are available to libraries that do not want to join OCLC?”

  • Is there an OCLC service for reporting holdings only, without any copy cataloguing functionality?

    Yes. The service is called Data Sync Collections. For more details or to inquire about pricing, please contact OCLC directly.

  • Will the 055 and 082 fields (LC and Dewey call numbers) appear in the public web interface of Voilà?

    No, the 055 and 082 fields will not appear in the public web interface of Voilà. These fields remain in the record. They can be accessed through other OCLC subscription-based tools, such as FirstSearch or Discovery.

  • Will there be a MARC view in Voilà?

    There is no MARC view in the web interface of Voilà. Libraries must have a subscription to OCLC cataloguing services to access the MARC view. Please contact OCLC for details.

Questions about Interlibrary loan (ILL)

  • Do libraries have to pay to view my holdings? Do libraries have to pay to view my library's detailed holdings information?

    All libraries and users can view the list of holding libraries attached to any record in Voilà free of charge.

    Your library will require an OCLC subscription to make the holdings details of your library viewable within Voilà and WorldShare ILL.

    The display of details will depend on the cataloguing and configuration decisions of the holding library.

    For example, if you have an OCLC subscription and you have configured links to your local OPAC, those links will appear in Voilà and in WorldShare ILL. Other libraries can click on those links to view the details in your local OPAC record.

    Voilà will not display holdings statements for periodicals. If your library has configured links to your local OPAC, those links will appear in Voilà.

    To make holdings statements for periodicals viewable within WorldShare ILL, your library will need to add its local holdings records to the bibliographic records. You can also choose to generate a summary holdings statement. The summary holdings statement will be displayed in the list of libraries within WorldShare ILL.

  • Does my library require an OCLC ILL subscription in order to use OCLC's ILL service?

    Yes, an OCLC ILL subscription is required to use OCLC's ILL service. There is a cost associated with this subscription. Please contact OCLC at canada@oclc.org for more details. This subscription allows you to borrow materials using OCLC's ILL interface from other OCLC libraries that also have OCLC ILL subscriptions. It is not possible to complete ILL requests from inside OCLC's ILL interface unless both parties have OCLC ILL subscriptions.

  • If my library does not obtain an OCLC ILL subscription, how will my library request an ILL from other libraries?

    There are two options for libraries that do not have an OCLC ILL subscription:

    1. The library can obtain ILL software from a vendor of their choice, which can then be configured to search the new catalogue via Z39.50
    2. The library can search Voilà through the Web interface and identify which libraries hold the item. Contact information and lending policies for libraries can be found on LAC's website, in the “Symbols and Interlibrary Loan Policies in Canada” online directory. The library can then contact the lending library directly to enquire about borrowing
  • If my library wants to request an ILL from a library that does not subscribe to OCLC ILL, how will I place the request?

    Your library can search Voilà, either via Z39.50 or through the Web interface, and identify which libraries hold the item. Contact information and lending policies for libraries are provided in the directory “Symbols and Interlibrary Loan Policies in Canada” on LAC's website. Your library can then contact the lending library directly to enquire about borrowing.

  • My library uses AMICUS to submit requests to other Canadian libraries. When will the ILL function in AMICUS be deactivated?

    LAC anticipates deactivating the AMICUS ILL request form in autumn 2018.

    The new mechanism for submitting requests to LAC is still to be determined. A subscription to OCLC's ILL services will not be required for libraries to use LAC's service. LAC will share additional information about this on its website, as it becomes available.

  • Will LAC's agreement with OCLC change LAC's Loans to Other Institutions service?

    LAC's agreement with OCLC does not change the policies of LAC's Loans to Other Institutions service. LAC will continue to loan to other Canadian libraries outside the National Capital Region only, to support researchers when the requested material is not available anywhere else than in LAC's holdings.

    The mechanisms that LAC will use in the future to deliver the Loans to Other Institutions service will change once OCLC replaces AMICUS. These mechanisms are still to be determined, and LAC will provide further information as it becomes available. A subscription to OCLC's interlibrary loan services will not be required for libraries to use LAC's service.

  • My library uses AMICUS to submit requests to LAC's Loans to Institutions service. When will this function be deactivated in AMICUS? What will the new process for sending requests to LAC be? 

    LAC anticipates deactivating the AMICUS ILL request form in autumn 2018.

    The new mechanism for submitting requests to LAC is still to be determined. A subscription to OCLC's ILL services will not be required for libraries to use LAC's service. LAC will share additional information about this on its website, as it becomes available.

  • With my library’s holdings in OCLC, will we receive more ILL requests? What if we don’t lend internationally?

    One of the advantages of OCLC’s services is greater visibility for Canadian holdings. However, reporting holdings to WorldCat does not automatically mean that you will be added to ILL requests by other libraries.

    Please note that an OCLC World Share ILL subscription is required to be listed as a supplier in WS ILL. If your library does not have a WS ILL subscription, other libraries cannot use WS ILL to send a request to you.

    If you would like to update your listing in LAC’s Symbols and Interlibrary Loan Policies in Canada directory to provide more information about your loan policies, please fill out an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) Directory Update Form.

    If your library subscribes to WS ILL, you can create and maintain ILL policies and deflection policies that will be used by the system to determine whether your library is a possible lender for a given request.

Financial assistance for small public and academic libraries

  • Which libraries are eligible to apply for funding?

    Library and Archives Canada’s objective for the new National Union Catalogue, hosted by OCLC, is to have a comprehensive representation of Canadian library collections that support the work of the Canadian library community and facilitate access by users. For this reason, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has set aside a designated budget to help financially support small public libraries and small libraries at post-secondary institutions (community colleges, CEGEPs and universities) wanting to be part of the project to enrich the Canadian national catalogue by becoming members of OCLC.

    Many provinces already provide services in this area and LAC will not duplicate or replace services that are already in place. Where provincial or territorial funding models do not cover interlibrary loan (ILL) services, eligible small libraries will be able to apply to LAC for funding for ILL services. Where provincial or territorial funding models do not cover copy cataloguing/reporting holdings, eligible small libraries will be able to apply to LAC for copy cataloguing services.

    LAC’s priority is supporting the smaller libraries who, without that financial assistance, would not be able to participate in this national project, while making effective use of its budget and taxpayers’ money.

    Small libraries that are not already covered by provincial or territorial funding for copy cataloguing/reporting holdings and/or ILL services are eligible to apply for LAC’s support, if they are:

    • public libraries with up to 50,000 population served; or
    • libraries at post-secondary institutions with a collection size of up to 60,000 items (print books, serial backfiles, e-books, audio/visual, serials, e-reference sources)

    Financial assistance is not available to:

    • elementary and high school libraries (including school districts and school boards)
    • regional library system headquarters serving total populations of 50,000 people or more
    • libraries that receive cataloguing or ILL services from another library or a provincial office
    • special libraries
    • other government libraries
  • Why is LAC funding only available to small public and academic libraries? Why are other types of libraries not eligible for this funding?

    The funding is determined by the terms of LAC's current contract with OCLC. LAC's goal is to help facilitate the greatest degree of access across the Canadian population within the resources it has available.

  • The copy cataloguing and reporting holdings subscription gives access to which OCLC product?

    The funded subscriptions give access to the CatExpress product. CatExpress is an easy to use web interface for copy cataloguing and updating library holdings in OCLC.  As a library does their copy cataloguing, the library’s holdings are automatically added to WorldCat. More information on CatExpress can be found on OCLC’s CatExpress support webpage.

  • The interlibrary loan services subscription gives access to which OCLC product?

    The funded subscriptions give access to WorldShare ILL. WorldShare ILL is a simple-to-use, web-based ILL management service.  It connects you to Canadian libraries and libraries around the world, allows you to view other libraries’ holdings, policies and fees before you make a request, and enables you to automate workflows.  More information is available on OCLC’s WorldShare Interlibrary Loan support and training webpage.

  • How do eligible libraries submit their application for funding?

    The deadline for applications for the current funding cycle has passed. We expect to announce the details of the next funding cycle in spring 2018.

  • How long will it take LAC to make a decision about an application and to respond to the library?

    Please allow up to 6 weeks to receive notification of whether your funding application has been accepted. Please note that you will receive an automatic acknowledgement upon receipt of your application.

  • How long is the term of the funded subscription?

    In the first year of funding, the subscription will expire March 31, 2019. As of April 1, 2019, funded subscriptions will be for one fiscal year (April 1 to March 31).

  • Will my library have to re-apply for funding every year?

    Yes, libraries will need to re-apply for funding yearly. LAC may re-evaluate this schedule in the future.

  • My library uses ILL software provided by a library service agency/consortium that is funded by the province. Is my library eligible?

    No. Libraries that have access to ILL software that is funded by the province are not eligible for ILL services.

  • My library’s ILL requests are processed by our regional headquarters. Is my library eligible for an ILL subscription?

    No. To qualify for funding, libraries must be under the population threshold and must not be dependent on another library for the service for which they are seeking funding.

  • My library is applying for both the copy cataloging and ILL service funded subscriptions. Is it possible that I could receive funding assistance for one service but not the other?

    Yes. A library that applies for both services may only be accepted for one service.

  • If my library is approved to receive financial assistance, how do I proceed with OCLC?

    Libraries that are approved to receive financial assistance will receive an email from LAC. LAC will forward the library’s contact details to OCLC, which will then follow up directly with the library to initiate the OCLC membership. Libraries that are approved to receive financial assistance should wait to be contacted by OCLC.

  • If my library is not approved to receive financial assistance, will the decision indicate the reason why my request was not accepted?

    Yes. If an application is not accepted, LAC’s reply will indicate the reason.

  • Is there a deadline for submitting an application for funding?

    The deadline for applications for the current funding cycle has passed. We expect to announce the details of the next funding cycle in spring 2018.

  • Is there a way to appeal a funding decision?

    There is no appeal process.

Contact us or join our mailing list

For questions, or to be added to our mailing list for updates on the transition, please contact bac.servicesauxbibliotheques-libraryservices.lac@canada.ca.

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