Questions and answers for Canadian libraries about Voilà and Aurora

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In its continuing efforts to renew its library system, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has launched Aurora, a brand new interface to access LAC’s own published holdings.

Voilà, Canada’s new National Union Catalogue, was launched in February 2018.

General questions

What is the difference between Voilà and Aurora?

Voilà is Canada’s National Union Catalogue. Voilà is made up of bibliographic descriptions and location information for published materials held at libraries across Canada, including LAC. Use Voilà to search the combined catalogues of these Canadian libraries. Voilà covers all subject areas and formats, including printed books, computer files, sound recordings, videos, maps, microforms, newspapers, and works in large print and Braille.

Aurora is LAC’s online catalogue of published material held in its own collection. Use Aurora to explore LAC’s collection of newspapers, magazines, Canadian official publications, theses, monographs, maps, music, and more. Searching this web interface is free in Canada and internationally. Registered LAC onsite users will be able to borrow materials through its circulation functions.

Why has AMICUS been replaced?

Created more than 20 years ago, AMICUS is technologically outdated. Its maintenance costs continued to increase, and it was clear that it no longer served its purpose adequately. Neither AMICUS nor the National Union Catalogue had kept pace with new web- and mobile-friendly functions, nor did they offer user-customization options or links to social media. 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 new services than to build and maintain an in-house system.

How long will AMICUS remain available?

On December 12, 2018, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) launched Aurora, a new interface to access LAC's published holdings. LAC's acquisitions, cataloguing, public access and circulation functions are now managed through OCLC's WorldShare Management Services (WMS) rather than LAC's former system AMICUS.

LAC will remove access to all public AMICUS interfaces and related services as per the schedule below. Review this list for the dates when the interfaces you currently use will no longer be available.

This list also provides information about how to use Aurora, Voilà, or other tools for searching or for information that you were getting from the AMICUS-related interfaces.

Public Search Interfaces
Interface Name (English) Description of Interface or Service Date the Interface or Functionality will no Longer be Accessible Further Information
AMICUS Web LAC's former public catalogue for searching LAC library holdings and the holdings of other Canadian libraries.  April 2, 2019

For holdings in LAC's library collection, use Aurora.

For holdings in Canadian libraries, use Voilà.

AMICUS OPAC LAC's former catalogue used onsite by LAC registered clients to search for and request LAC library holdings. December 3, 2018 Use Aurora.
Electronic Collection An interface for searching a sub-set of LAC's library holdings (materials in digital or online format such as eBooks). April 2, 2019 Will not be replaced.
Filter search results in Aurora to just electronic publications, see Search Aurora by sub-collection.
Public Opinion Research Reports (PORR) Search interface for Government of Canada Public Opinion Research Reports. April 2, 2019 Redirect to new search interface.
Theses Canada Search interface for Canadian theses and dissertations in LAC's collection. April 2, 2019 Redirect to new search interface.
Sheet Music From Canada's Past Search interface for sheet music in LAC's collection that was published in Canada before 1921. April 2, 2019 Will not be replaced.

Search these materials in Aurora, see Search Aurora by sub-collection.

The Glenn Gould Archive Search interface for materials in LAC's collection related to Glenn Gould (Canadian concert pianist). April 2, 2019 The “Published Materials” portion will not be replaced. For information on searching for published materials relating to Glenn Gould in Aurora, see Search Aurora by sub-collection.

The “Archival Documents” database will remain available.

Virtual Gramophone Search interface for sound recordings released in Canada from 1900 to 1950.   April 2, 2019 Redirect to new search interface.
Index to Federal Royal Commissions Search interface for Government of Canada Royal Commissions that have taken place since Confederation.  April 2, 2019 Will not be replaced.

Search these materials in Aurora, see Search Aurora by sub-collection.

PIKA Canadian Children's Literature Database Search interface for Canadian children's books in LAC's collection.  April 2, 2019 Will not be replaced.

Filter search results in Aurora to just children's literature, see Search Aurora by sub-collection.

Federal Publication Locator Search interface for Canadian federal government publications in LAC's collection. April 2, 2019 Will not be replaced.

Filter search results to just Federal publications, see Search Aurora by sub-collection.

Canada, By Train Search interface for railway advertising materials in LAC's collection, dating from approximately 1883 to 1952. April 2, 2019 Will not be replaced.

Search these materials in Aurora, see Search Aurora by sub-collection.

Specialized Interfaces and Services Used by Libraries and Library Staff
Interface Name (English) Description of Interface or Service Date the Interface or Functionality will no Longer be Accessible Further Information
MARC Records Distribution Service (MRDS) A service for large libraries and bibliographic utilities that previously provided batches of MARC21 bibliographic and authority records to subscribers.   December 28, 2018 Information was emailed directly to MRDS clients in the fall of 2018. See What will happen with Canadiana Authorities in English and in French?
AMICUS Z39.50 Access to bibliographic and authority records in AMICUS via machine to machine Z39.50-compliant software.  April 2, 2019 Z39.50 searching now requires an OCLC full cataloguing subscription. For further information, visit Can I download MARC21 records via Z39.50 from Voilà? Will I need an OCLC subscription to download records?
AMICUS InterLibrary Loan (ILL) Form An online application form in AMICUS Web used by Canadian libraries to submit ILL requests to other Canadian
libraries. 
April 2, 2019

LAC is now accepting requests to its Loans to Other Institutions (LOI) program using OCLC's WorldShare Interlibrary Loan. For those institutions that do not subscribe to OCLC services, a form is available on LAC's LOI web page to submit your requests.

The AMICUS ILL form will remain available for ILL between other Canadian libraries until AMICUS is decommissioned on April 2 2019. At that point, libraries will need to use another approach to submit ILL requests for holdings in Canada's National Union Catalogue, Voilà. For information about available options, visit Questions about Interlibrary loan (ILL)

Canadian Subject Headings (CSH) Canadian Subject Headings (CSH) is a list of subject headings in the English language, using controlled vocabulary, to access and express the subject content of documents on Canada and Canadian topics.​ April 2, 2019 For further information, see What will happen with Canadian Subject Headings?
Canadiana Authorities Standardized terms for authors/creators and issuing bodies (associations, government departments and agencies) created by LAC.  April 2, 2019 For further information, see What will happen with Canadiana Authorities in English and in French?

Why has the National Union Catalogue been named Voilà?

In order to better distinguish Canada’s National Union Catalogue from the Library and Archives Canada catalogue of its own library collections, each of these interfaces was given its own name. Voilà is short, easy to remember, and evokes the ease of search and retrieval within the new catalogue.

Why has the Library and Archives Canada catalogue been named Aurora?

Aurora, meaning “dawn”, speaks to the new beginning for Canada’s national collection catalogue, with all the capabilities of a modern library system. This name also evokes the polar phenomenon of the northern lights, or aurora borealis, a spectacle visible across Canada’s far-reaching northern border.

Where can I find “search” help documentation for the new catalogues?

We recommend you start with the Search in WorldCat Discovery page, on the OCLC website, and use its interface features. Please also visit LAC’s search help for registered clients using Aurora and LAC’s search help for Voilà.

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). These libraries will then be able to acquire copy cataloguing, including contributing their holdings to OCLC, and interlibrary loan services. For further information, see "Financial assistance for small public and academic libraries" below. To qualify for LAC's support, libraries must be:
    • public libraries with up to 50,000 population served; or
    • libraries at postsecondary 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 happened to information stored in AMICUS?

Data transfer from AMICUS to OCLC began in the summer of 2017 and was completed in March 2019.

  • 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 holdingsfor that library

What do libraries gain by joining 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. Ideally, our Canadian union catalogue would reflect the collective holdings of all Canadian libraries.

There are a few other advantages as well:

  • MARC21 record download: Subscribing to OCLC significantly improves the match rate for copy cataloguing searches for publications as compared with what existed 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, thereby enhancing the visibility of their collections
  • Continuous improvement and access to other OCLC services: As members of OCLC, libraries participate in a global international co-operative of some 16,000 libraries. They also benefit from OCLC services such as OCLC research, in addition to the ongoing enhancement and development of new services and the possibility of participating in the governance of the OCLC cooperative

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 postsecondary institutions (community colleges, CEGEPs and universities). This support will allow them to acquire OCLC copy cataloguing, contribute their holdings to OCLC, and utilize interlibrary loan services. For further information, see "Financial assistance for small public and academic libraries" below.

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 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

Do Canadian libraries need to register for Voilà and Aurora services?

The web interfaces for Voilà and Aurora can be freely searched without registration or user accounts.

For access to copy cataloguing, sharing of holdings, or InterLibrary Loan services, users must subscribe to OCLC services. Please contact OCLC at Canada@oclc.org for information. Please visit LAC’s Loans to Other Institutions webpage for information about requesting materials from LAC’s collection. Information for LAC’s onsite clients can be found at Retrievals and consultation.

What will happen with Canadiana Authorities in English and in French?

Prior to 2018, LAC maintained the Canadiana authority file, the national, bilingual file that allowed for the creation of linked, equivalent pairs of English and French authority records using the 7XX MARC fields. In 2018, the transition to OCLC’s WorldShare Management System (WMS) required changes to how LAC creates and maintains authorities for the National Bibliography.

The opportunity provided by these changes opened the door for LAC to transition the Name Authority Cooperative Program (NACO) to manage English language authority records. The move to NACO will benefit the Canadian library community, since English-language bibliographic records created by LAC will be consistent with 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 key for effective sharing of copy cataloguing records across libraries. To support this change, a new module for French- language authorities, known as “Canadiana Name Authorities in French”, has been developed within WMS.

With the NACO agreement, LAC adds 7xx MARC fields (called “heading-linking entry fields”) to English authority records in NACO. 7XX fields are also included in Canadiana Name Authorities in French in WMS. In this way, equivalent English and French records in NACO and Canadiana files can be linked and synchronized, as required by LAC to support cataloguing in both languages.

Not all unique authorities previously found in the bilingual Canadiana file will be immediately available in the NACO file. LAC will be adding unique authorities to the NACO file as part of the Canadiana Conversion Project. Once an authority record is added to the NACO file, a 667 note in the NACO record identifies it as a part of this project and indicates that a minimal amount of revision work has been done to the record.

NACO authority records in English can be freely accessed on the Library of Congress Authorities webpage and at www.viaf.org.

NACO has more than 750 participating libraries, including national libraries such as the Library of Congress (US), 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 has now begun to maintain its separate French-language name authority file using the WMS Canadiana Name Authorities in French functionality. LAC’s French-language authority data will continue to be freely accessible at www.viaf.org. LAC will also make batch files of French-language authority records freely available to interested libraries and other organizations via FTP. If you are interested in obtaining these files, please contact LAC at bac.servicesauxbibliotheques-libraryservices.lac@canada.ca.

What will happen with Canadian Subject Headings?

Access to ongoing updates and additions to Canadian Subject Headings (CSH) will be accessible through the Canadian Subject Headings section of the LAC website until April 1 2019. At that point, LAC will begin maintaining CSH from within OCLC’s integrated library management system, WorldShare Management Services (WMS). LAC will no longer maintain a separate search site for CSH, but will make copies of the complete CSH file in MARC21 freely available via FTP to libraries and other organizations, to load into their own systems. If you are interested in obtaining these files, please contact LAC at bac.servicesauxbibliotheques-libraryservices.lac@canada.ca.

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 of all of the NUC bibliographic and holdings records currently stored AMICUS. These will not be externally accessible.

Where can I learn more about LAC’s contract with OCLC?

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.

Questions about data migration from AMICUS to OCLC

Are LAC’s records in WorldCat?

Yes, the transfer of LAC’s records from AMICUS to OCLC was completed in March 2019.

Which records from AMICUS appear in Voilà?

The records for the following libraries are included:

  • LAC bibliographic records but not detailed holdings. Detailed holdings display in Aurora
  • National Union Catalogue (NUC) libraries that have contributed to AMICUS at least as recently as 2014 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

Some holdings do not appear in Voilà, either at the request of the holding library or because the holdings were out of date.

Has LAC loaded the holdings of alternate-format libraries into Voilà?

The migration of the holdings of alternate-format libraries from AMICUS to OCLC was completed in the fall of 2018; these holdings are now viewable in Voilà. LAC has now begun adding bibliographic records and holdings statements manually into Voilà 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.

Were any data elements added or moved to different fields as part of the migration of bibliographic records from AMICUS to OCLC?

In Aurora the OCLC number appears in field 001, so when AMICUS records were transferred to OCLC, the AMICUS record number was moved to field 016 (national bibliographic agency control number), while the Canadiana number was stored in 015 (national bibliography number). These changes have been made so that both Canadiana numbers and AMICUS numbers are 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. LAC stopped creating new AMICUS numbers in December 2018 when it began to catalogue in WorldCat.

In LAC’s records, another change appears in Aurora: collection codes that are currently used in AMICUS to identify parts of the LAC collection, such as Theses, Reference and Rare Books, are visible in MARC field 084, which is searchable in OCLC. All of these codes were migrated to the master records in WorldCat, but when LAC cataloguers create records in WMS, only some collection codes will continue to be added, as OCLC offers other ways to identify many of these materials. For more information, please see Search Aurora by sub-collections.

Questions about copy cataloguing and updating holdings

How can I access my library's holdings records in Voilà?

If your library's holdings records were migrated they are now freely viewable by you, and all libraries and researchers searching Voilà, the new National Union Catalogue.

For information on the level of holdings detail that is viewable, see "Are the details of my library's holdings, such as holdings statements for periodicals, displayed in Voilà?"

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 has two options for sending your holdings data to OCLC:

  1. An OCLC cataloguing subscription will allow you to report holdings to OCLC while you use OCLC tools to download copy cataloguing records, or via batch loading of MARC records
  2. The Data Sync Collections service will allow you to report your holdings via batch loading of MARC records. This service does not provide access to copy cataloguing functionality

For more information about subscribing to these services, please contact OCLC at canada@oclc.org.

There are several options available for ILL and copy cataloguing services for libraries that do not subscribe to OCLC services. For more information 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.

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

No, the 055 and 082 fields do 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.

Is there a MARC view in Aurora?

The ability to view records in MARC format in Aurora is only available to LAC staff. Libraries must have a subscription to OCLC cataloguing services to access the MARC view. Please contact OCLC for details.

Is there 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)

Can I submit ILL requests using the Voilà web interface?

No, Voilà does not include an ILL function. ILL functionality is provided through other OCLC applications.

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

Is Voilà accessible via Z39.50? Do I need an OCLC subscription to search via Z39.50?

The Voilà interface is not searchable via Z39.50. However the holdings of Canadian libraries in OCLC’s catalogue can be searched via any compatible Z39.50 software for ILL purposes. An OCLC subscription is not required to search for ILL. 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.

For information on Z39.50 searching for copy cataloguing, see: “Can I download MARC21 records via Z39.50 from Voilà? Will I need an OCLC subscription to download records?

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 does 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.

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.

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 for delivering these loans has changed with the replacement of AMICUS by Aurora. For more information, please see our webpage Loans to other institutions.

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 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.

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 see our directory help page.

If my library receives a LAC-funded subscription for ILL, will my library be responsible for any costs?

Yes. While LAC funds the subscription cost for interlibrary loans, libraries are responsible for the costs associated with borrowing material from lending libraries (for example, loan charges, shipping, reproduction fees, and urgent service requests). It is the responsibility of the borrowing library to review the lender’s policies and fees and decide whether they want to borrow or not.

What is the IFM fee?

Interlibrary Loan Fee Management (IFM) is an optional OCLC method of payment that automates the billing of ILL transactions. The IFM feature lets libraries reconcile resource-sharing charges and payments through a monthly OCLC invoice. IFM simplifies tracking, processing and collection of ILL request fees. To activate an IFM transaction, both the lender and the borrower have to select IFM as a method of payment in their account settings. For questions about your IFM account, please contact OCLC Support.

Financial assistance for small public and academic libraries

When can my library apply for the next round of LAC funding?

The deadline for applications for the current funding cycle has passed. We expect to announce the details of the next funding cycle in fall 2019.

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 supports the work of the Canadian library community and facilitates 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

How do I calculate the size of my collection?

Your collection may include print books, serial backfiles, e-books, audio/visual items, serial titles excluding the number of issues, and e-reference sources. Database subscriptions should be counted, but you do not have to count the individual titles included in each database.

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.

Does LAC plan to revise the eligibility criteria for funding now that the program has been active for a year?

LAC is working with the Canadian library community to resolve issues related to the eligibility criteria.

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 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?

All libraries that qualified for funding in the first year will qualify automatically for funding in 2019–2020, and are therefore asked not to reapply. LAC may re-evaluate automatic renewals of funding 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’s application for financial assistance is not approved, what should I expect?

LAC’s reply will indicate the reason why your application was not accepted. We cannot accept appeals against funding decisions once they are made. Please contact OCLC directly at canada@oclc.org to discuss your options for subscribing to their services.

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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