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National Library of Canada
Activities and Projects: Semi-Annual Update

Spring 2003 Edition
June 3, 2003

Table of contents

Challenges and Opportunities

Introduction from the National Librarian

Part I:
Access to knowledge about Canada

A: The Digital Library of Canada

B: Access Services

  • Canadian Genealogy Centre
  • ISBN Standards Review
  • International Standard Audio Visual Number
  • Bath Profile
  • Literary Manuscripts


  • Towards an Integrated Library System

D: Bibliographic Services

  • Canadiana: The National Bibliography on CD-ROM
  • Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules
  • MARC 21
  • Revision to Dewey Decimal Classification Tables
  • Partnership Activities

E: Government On-line (GOL) at the National Library

  • New Books Service for Canadians
  • Metadata Activities
  • Canadian Metadata Forum
  • Thesauri and Controlled Vocabulary
  • Collaborative Projects

Part II:
National Library in the Community

A: Council on Access to Information for Print-Disabled Canadians

B: Virtual Reference Canada (VRC)

  • Launch
  • Technological Advances
  • Partnership Activities
  • Promotion

C: Other Libraries

  • Canadian Initiative on Digital Libraries (CIDL)
  • Core Library Statistics
  • Sm@rt Library Project

D: Council of Federal Libraries (CFL)

E: National Library Records Save the Library Community Money

Part III:
Protect and Preserve the National Collection

A: Funding for Preservation

B: Preservation Collection

C: Mass De-acidification

D: Incidents at the National Library

E: Collection Facilities

F: Collaboration with the National Archives

Part IV:
Strengthen and Enrich the Collection

A: Acquisition of Electronic Publications

B: Canadian Musical Memories

C: Noteworthy Recent Acquisitions

  • Rare Blackfoot Vocabulary
  • Rare Chinook Jargon Newspaper
  • Other Acquisitions

D: Aboriginal Initiatives

E: Multicultural Initiatives

F: Canadian Theses

G: Legal Deposit

H: Serials Collection

I: Canadian National Union Collection

Part V:
Promote National Library Expertise, Collections and Services

A: Reaching Canadian Youth

  • International Forum on Canadian Children's Literature

B: Exhibiting the Collections

  • Celebrating Aboriginal Achievements
  • Travelling Exhibit on Oscar Peterson
  • Other Exhibits and Lending Activities

C: Lending a hand: Proyecto Adrienne: a Canada-Chile Project

D: 50th Anniversary

E: Various Other Public Activities

Part VI

  • Great Expectations
  • Transformation at the National Library of Canada

Challenges and Opportunities

In this time of globalization, our country’s cultural institutions are expected to represent Canada’s identity, support its prosperity and enhance its international profile. Each institution strives to meet these expectations in its own way; the National Library meets them by preserving, protecting and celebrating Canada’s published heritage.

The modern era is replete with unique challenges and opportunities. Digital communication has forever excited the expectations of consumers, now accustomed to accessing vast amounts of information instantly from a single source.

To cultural institutions, therefore, the Internet represents an extraordinary opportunity for reaching new audiences. An accurate, accessible and engaging source of published information gains a powerful advantage in the information marketplace.

The National Library of Canada aims to seize upon that advantage by improving access to its collections -- which comprise the most authoritative and comprehensive source of information about this country. Improving access will enable the Library to meet the expectations of a broad range of partners and clients.

The community of libraries across Canada and around the world expects the National Library to develop and implement standards and best practices. The Government of Canada expects the Library to be the steward of the national collection, a leader in information management, and a designer of effective policies that can serve as models for federal departments and agencies. Canadians expect a Library that fires their enthusiasm for knowledge and search for identity and culture. And, as prosperity is increasingly linked to a nation’s capacity for knowledge and innovation, the Library is expected to play a role in Canada’s economy, by acquiring knowledge that makes such innovation possible.

Increasing access to the national collection enables the Library to impart more knowledge to Canadians and attract additional clients and partners.

This report on activities since October 1, 2002 describes the progress the Library has made in fulfilling its mandate. Although the challenges it faces are unquestionably great, meeting them will generate significant opportunities for the National Library and for Canada.

Introduction by the National Librarian

It is with great optimism -- and a twinge of nostalgia -- that I introduce what will likely be the final semi-annual update on activities and projects of the National Library of Canada. After 50 years of distinguished service, the Library will join with the Archives later this year to create a knowledge institution using today technology and means to answer today’s and tomorrow’s needs.

The process of amalgamation, similar to most transformations, is both an exciting opportunity and a daunting challenge: exciting because of the tremendous possibilities it offers, and daunting because of the nature of the task: collecting and preserving the published heritage of a nation. Making the most of this opportunity will improve to increase the value, relevance and visibility to Canadians of our heritage and culture

I am proud to report that the Library and Archives has taken great strides to ensure that transformation will enable and support the Library and Archives of Canada. Perhaps the most critical component is legislation. Bill C-36 was drafted in conjunction with staff from the departments of Justice and Canadian Heritage, and introduced in the House of Commons earlier in May. The legislation describes the goals of the new institution:

  • to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations;
  • to be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all that contributes to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada;
  • to facilitate cooperation among the communities involved in the acquisition preservation and diffusion of knowledge; and
  • to serve as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.

These goals are ambitious and attainable, and indicate the importance of the role assigned to us.

I was pleased that Mme. Andrée Delagrave, a dedicated and talented professional, was appointed Assistant Deputy Minister to oversee the transformation process.

Already, even before the transformation is complete, the Library and Archives has enjoyed many collaborative successes. The Canadian Genealogy Centre, for instance, could well become one of the most popular websites created by a public-sector organization. A centralized and comprehensive database, it enables Canadians to identify resources that can track their family histories. We also collaboratively introduced the history of Canada through major digital projects re: trains, hockey and Images Canada.

The Library’s Websites are the product of partnership and ingenuity. They are built on partnerships with consultations with librarians, subject specialists and engineers that have led to the creation of a wide range of Websites. The Library’s sites themselves are a technical marvel; projects of this scope were simply not feasible 10 years ago. Ingenuity involves a change in orientation toward new technologies, new services and new audiences. This change has already taken place elsewhere. A number of sectors, including banks

and governments have re-oriented themselves according to the needs of their clients. The Library recognizes that it must align itself with the need Canadians have expressed to have increased access to their published heritage. The Internet has an important role to play for the Library and Archives of Canada and provides opportunities for giving an easier and equitable access to knowledge.

Even as we have worked -- enthusiastically -- to realize the vision of a new institution, we have maintained our focus on our present mandate, set for us 50 years ago. As you will read in this report, we have made great progress in expanding, preserving and improving access to the national collection.

Roch Carrier
National Librarian

Part I
Access to knowledge about Canada

To fulfill current expectations is to excite new ones.

The role of the National Library is threefold: to pique the interest Canadians have in their country; to satisfy that interest; and, in the process, to stimulate a desire to learn more. The main challenge in fulfilling this role is one of access. In a country of more than 30 million people distributed over an immense landmass, the Library meets this challenge with the help of technology and partnership.

The Library delivers an ever-broadening array of services via the Internet. Its main website now serves more than four million visitors each year -- a number that continues to grow rapidly.

The Library uses the Internet to reach new audiences and encourage them to delve deeper into the collections. A recent online exhibit about hockey, for example, featured historical stories and photographs about the game, as well as curriculum tie-ins for teachers and educators.

The Internet also enables the Library to tailor its services, improving access for specific audiences. PIKA, for instance, is a database of Canadian children’s literature; Virtual Gramophone features Canadian recordings dating back to 1900. The Internet is a valuable medium for engaging additional partners. AMICUS provides access to the holdings of thousands of libraries across Canada -- holdings that were once at a remove for those outside the campus community.

The value of these accomplishments is recognized by libraries around the world. In 2003, Carrol Lunau, a resource-sharing officer at the National Library, earned the American Library Association’s Movers and Shakers Award. Ms. Lunau leads the Virtual Canadian Union Catalogue project, which links libraries across Canada.

A: The Digital Library of Canada

This is the fourth year of a program supported by the Department of Canadian Heritage through its Cultural Content Online Program (CCOP). The Digital Library Task Force has added many new digital collections, educational sites and exhibitions, and enhanced many existing sites. In the past six months, new projects included:

  • Canada, By Train, a unique collection that includes railway brochures, timetables and posters, dating from approximately 1883 to 1952. All of the approximately 5,000 items in the Merrilees Collection of Transportation have now been catalogued on AMICUS and are accessible through the new website Canada by Train.
  • Early Images of Canada: Illustrations from the Rare Book Collection includes 550 searchable images (mostly engravings) culled from the Library’s pre-1800 collection, and accompanied by subject descriptions carefully selected from a standard thesaurus. All of the images are taken from books, often exploration or missionary narratives, published before the year 1800.
  • From Colony to Country: A Reader’s Guide to Canadian Military History is an annotated bibliography of sources for military research. The content was expanded and the site was redesigned.
  • PIKA: Canadian Children's Literature Database is the Library's collection of 35,000 Canadian children's books, and includes some reviews and synopses. To facilitate access, Library staff is assigning subjects for children's fiction. The first step was to add subject headings to the more than 1,000 works of fiction published in the past four years. At the same time, AMICUS records of these books were updated using annotations prepared during The Canadian Children's Book Centre and Communication-Jeunesse projects. (www.collectionscanada.ca/pika/)
  • Images Canada has been redesigned and expanded, with 200,000 images added since October 2002 alone.
  • Backcheck: A Hockey Retrospective features a chronological presentation of hockey stories from English and French language newspapers, feature articles and rare items.
  • Picturing A Canadian Life: L.M. Montgomery's Personal Scrapbooks and Book Covers involves a partnership with the Virtual Museum of Canada.
  • Aboriginal Resources and Services Website is a gateway to resources and services by and about aboriginal peoples.

The Digital Library Task Force also has a number of projects in progress, including:

  • Canadian Mail Order Catalogues, a collection of early mail order catalogues;
  • Pre-1901 Canadian Directories, a selection of early city directories;
  • Canadian Writers Series, profiles of Canadian writers;
  • The Naskapi Dictionary Project, a UNICODE pilot project to develop an online version of the dictionary;
  • E-Theses (Canadian Theses Service E-Theses Online Portal) a portal providing access to Canadian Theses;
  • Beyond the Letters: Retrospective on Canadian Alphabet Books a history of children’s ABC books; and,
  • Multicultural Resources and Services Website a multicultural gateway to the services of the Library and Archives of Canada.

Several changes are in the works for 2003, including Virtual Gramophone: Canadian Historical Sound Recordings, which will migrate from its existing platform and be upgraded to conform to bibliographic and Web standards, and Images Canada: Picturing Canadian Heritage, which has attracted new partners and will receive more images.

B: Access Services

Canadian Genealogy Centre

The Canadian Genealogy Centre, a partnership between the Library, the Archives and the Department of Canadian Heritage, began operations in March 2003. The Centre is a Web-based resource that enables people researching family histories to access vast amounts of information. The project grew out of a series of consultations with genealogists and stakeholders across Canada. The Centre was officially launched during Gene-O-Rama, an event co-sponsored by the Ontario Genealogical Society and the Ottawa Public Library.

ISBN Standards Review

For nearly 40 years, the ISBN system has successfully assigned a unique identification number to each book title published around the world. Due to the popularity of this global system, however, it is running out of numbers. The rapid growth of e-publishing has also had an impact on ISBN.

Efforts are underway to update the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard -- on which ISBN is based -- to accommodate the popularity of the numbering system. Several issues must be taken into consideration, such as compliance with existing barcodes, the range of material to be assigned numbers, and the collection of metadata prior to publication.

The Library distributes ISBNs to Canadian publishers and serves on the ISO Secretariat for ISBN working groups. The Library will continue to participate on the international working group throughout 2003. The draft of a new standard has been distributed to stakeholders in Canada for comment.

International Standard Audiovisual Number (ISAN)

ISO TC 46/SC 9 developed and published a new standard (ISO 15706) to create ISAN, a voluntary numbering system for audiovisual works. ISAN will be used to administer rights, track usage, combat piracy and allocate royalties for audiovisual works. Library staff administered the project.

The ISAN standard calls for a central organization overseeing a worldwide network of regional ISAN agencies. In Canada, a broad coalition of audiovisual groups has proposed that a national ISAN agency be integrated into TRACE (The Registry for Audiovisual Content of Canada). The registry would enable authorized users and rights-owners to access information about Canadian audiovisual works and obtain copyright clearances online.

ISO TC46/SC9 is now developing a supplementary identifier -- V-ISAN -- to identify each version of an audiovisual work or related product.

Bath Profile

Release 2 of the Bath Profile has been sent to ISO for consideration as an internationally registered Profile. This version is available in both French and English at www.collectionscanada.ca/bath. This new release contains specifications for the

retrieval of holdings information and for the search and retrieval of authority files in online public access catalogues.

Literary Manuscripts

The interest in Canadian authors continues to grow and the Library’s national collection draws increasing attention from researchers around the world. Library staff assisted on-site researchers with many fonds, including Louis Dudek, House of Anansi, Elizabeth Smart, Audrey Thomas, Carol Shields, Phyllis Webb, George Bowering, Robert Bringhurst, Daphne Marlatt, Betsy Warland and W.P. Kinsella.

Enduring interest was also reflected in assistance provided with the following fonds: Gabrielle Roy, Marie-Claire Blais, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau, Guy Sylvestre, Michel Tremblay, Réjean Ducharme, Fernand Ouellette and Roger Lemelin.

Library staff also works proactively to improve access to Canadian authors; recently, staff:

  • arranged and wrote descriptions of the Dionne Brand fonds;
  • completed preliminary listings and arrangements for the fonds of Marilyn Bowering, Eldon Grier and the Jane Urquhart fonds 3rd accession;
  • and began to arrange the fonds of Marguerite Andersen and Suzanne Jacob.



The popularity of AMICUS, an online catalogue of Canadian materials, continues to soar. The site accommodated more than 4.6 million searches last year, up 42 percent over 2001. During a targeted outreach campaign in 2002, more than 1300 people attended information sessions and workshops on AMICUS and other services of the Library and Archives. AMICUS is a comprehensive database providing free access to more than 26 million records in hundreds of libraries across Canada.

Information Technology Services (ITS) is developing two applications to streamline website access to databases. The first application enables a website with an associated database to handle more data quickly; the second improves speed for websites using the AMICUS database.

Towards an Integrated Library System

Although a few warranty tasks still remain, SCOCA (Serials Control, OPAC, Circulation and Acquisitions) is in use. Changes made to the cataloguing module will accommodate updates to MARC21 format.

The Library will install a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that will provide secure remote access and enable staff to telework. A VPN encrypts data before it is sent and decrypts it upon receipt; in essence, forming an electronic tunnel that blocks out improperly encrypted data. For added security, network addresses may also be encrypted.

D: Bibliographic Services

Canadiana: The National Bibliography on CD-ROM

A primary responsibility of the Library is to identify and describe all Canadian publications. In March 2003, the latest issue of Canadiana (up to December 2002) was released on CD-ROM. Canadiana now contains more than 2 million records including:

  • all records since inception of Canadiana in 1950, along with 60,000 records prepared during the past year;
  • bibliographic records for maps, atlases and globes from the Carto-Canadiana file of the National Archives of Canada;
  • bibliographic records for Early Canadiana created by the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions; and
  • name-authority records created by the National Library of Canada up to the end of December 2002.

The latest version of Canadiana also features Internet links to:

  • Canadian Subject Headings on the Web;
  • Université Laval's Répertoire de vedettes-matières;
  • rule interpretations from the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules; and
  • the Canadian ISBN Publishers' Directory.

Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules

Library staff continues to participate on the Joint Steering Committee and the Canadian Committee on Cataloguing in an effort to revise the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR). Current work focuses on:

  • Removing redundancies and identifying inconsistencies;
  • incorporating relevant concepts and terminology from IFLA's Functional Requirements of Bibliographic Records; and
  • determining how best to record the specific characteristics of electronic resources.

In December 2002, the Library implemented changes issued in the 2002 Revision of AACR. Rules that once focused solely on serial descriptions now apply to all categories of continuing resources, including Websites and other integrating resources. To assist Canada’s libraries with the revisions, interpretations  are available at: www.collectionscanada.ca/6/18/index-e.html

Library staff also assisted the "Association pour l’avancement des sciences et techniques de la documentation" (ASTED) in the translation of the 2002 Revision of AACR; a French version, Règles de catalogage anglo-américaines, will be available in 2003. 


MARC 21 is an international project to establish standards for the representation and communication of bibliographic and related information in machine-readable form. The Library’s role is to gather input from Canada and to share it with the American group coordinating the project. The Library also works closely with the Library of Congress on the publication of annual updates to MARC 21 formats, and translates and publishes French-language formats and updates. The third update to MARC 21 was completed in January 2003.

Revisions to Dewey Decimal Classification Tables

In November 2002 the Dewey Editorial Committee approved revisions to geographic-area tables for Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland necessitated by recent municipal amalgamations. These changes will be published in the June 2003 edition of the Dewey Decimal Classification.

Partnership activities

The Library collaborates regularly with a number of key partners to expand its role in Canada’s book supply chain. Formal and informal discussions have been held with the Department of Canadian Heritage, BookNet Canada and Banque des titres de langue française. Talks have also been held with Statistics Canada to explore how to improve information sharing and ease the burden on publishers.

E: Government On-Line (GOL) at the National Library

The Government On-line (GOL) initiative will make all programs and services available electronically to Canadians by 2005. The National Library established a GOL task force in 2000.

New Books Service for Canadians

To help Canadians find new books quickly and easily, the Library works closely with publishers. The New Books Service for Canadians (www.collectionscanada.ca/newbooks/) now enables publishers to submit information to the Library via the Internet. The Cataloguing In Publication (CIP) form accommodates bibliographic information, along with cover-art images, tables of contents, sample texts and book reviews. Testing of enhancements to the bibliographic item-display as well as the publisher and ordering information has been completed; these changes will be in place by April 2003. Improvements have also been made to the New This Month Web page; discussions concerning the relationship of this page to the publication Forthcoming Books are underway. Increasing the visibility and accessibility of the New Books Service is a top priority of Library staff.

Metadata Activities

Staff of the GOL Task Force staff continue to participate in the inter-departmental GOL Metadata Working Group, which is chaired by Treasury Board Secretariat. In March, the eLearning Sub-group recommended the adoption of the IEEE-LOM standard. The recommendation stems from a study of eLearning metadata standards that had been funded by eight government departments, including the Library and Archives. Adopting the new standard would facilitate search and retrieval of learning objects and courseware in the Government of Canada domain.

The first phase of the metadata-descriptions project was completed, establishing a common look and feel for metadata elements on the Library’s collection-level Web pages. Work continued on the development and implementation of a metadata element set for Library and Archives Web resources.

A cross-departmental and multi-disciplinary team of metadata practitioners, operating under the auspices of the Council of Federal Libraries, revised the Government of Canada Metadata Implementation Guide based on lessons learned from the first year of implementing the government's Common Look and Feel standard. The updated Guide will be published on the Council's website, improving access to government information.

Canadian Metadata Forum

In September 2003, the Library and Archives will host a forum of Canadian metadata practitioners working at libraries, archives, museums and educational institutions, along with multimedia producers, experts in accessibility issues, and others interested in preservation and metadata. The goals of the event will be:

  • to develop a common perspective on Canada’s metadata needs;
  • to identify opportunities for leadership and coordination of metadata initiatives and explore potential Canadian leadership roles in the field; and
  • to share information and strengthen links between practitioner communities.

Thesauri and Controlled Vocabulary

The Canadian Thesauri and Controlled Vocabularies Website (www.collectionscanada.ca/information-management/004/index-e.html) continues to be popular. The first phase of the automated controlled vocabulary registry (automation of submissions, www.collectionscanada.ca/information-management/004/007004-2000-e.php) was implemented in January, in support of the Library's role as registrar of controlled vocabularies for the Government of Canada domain. The role of the registry now includes the registration of lists of terms for all Government of Canada metadata elements where control is needed (terminology related to geographical coverage, type, audience, format). The automation of page-updating is in development.

Collaborative Projects

  • The Federal Publication Locator Service

Thanks to a partnership involving the Depository Services Program, Communication Canada and the National Library of Canada, the Federal Publication Locator Service (www.collectionscanada.ca/7/5) now provides access to:

  • bibliographic records of Canadian Federal Government Publications in the National Library of Canada Collection and Catalogue (AMICUS) ;
  • Canadian library locations information from the Union Catalogue; and
  • electronic Canadian Federal Government Publications.

* Persistence for Federal Government Publications

In cooperation with the Depository Services Program, the National Library conducted a study last winter on persistence for federal government publications. The final report on the study was translated and is now online (Information Management). The GOL Metadata Working Group approved the creation of a sub-group that will investigate persistence issues related to electronic data. The sub-group’s terms of reference will be based on recommendations from the final report.

  • Management of Government Publication

The Library contributed significantly to the revised policy on management of federal publications that came into effect in May of 2003. In July 2002, the Library, through consulting and Audit Canada surveyed federal departments and agencies regarding their management of government holdings. Key areas addressed were the organization and accessibility of federal publications. Results are posted at Information Management. The survey was distributed to librarians in all relevant departments and agencies in March and April 2002.

Part II
National Library in the Community

A library is a collaborative endeavour. The National Library of Canada is no exception; its collections represent the fruit of hundreds of years of collaboration with other libraries and institutions, and with the public at large. To foster this collaboration, the Library continually consults with its partners and often engages them directly in projects and programs.

Consultations take many forms, both formal and informal. Conferences, seminars and workshops, for instance, provide vital links to other public libraries, archives and museums. The National Library of Canada also plays a leadership role with specific communities through organizations such as The Canadian Initiative on Digital Libraries and the Council of Federal Libraries.

The National Library of Canada forms a hub of a network of institutions, including more than 21,000 libraries across the country. The Library strives to fully integrate this network so that all institutions benefit. Mr. Roch Carrier, the National Librarian, continued a program of visits to local public libraries and schools.

Virtual Reference Canada (VRC), for example, is an initiative that will unite thousands of institutions and provide swift access to accurate reference information. VRC extends traditional partnerships, and builds upon established services, tailoring them to better meet the needs of institutions across Canada.

The collaborative efforts of Library staff are recognized widely. Louis Forget earned the prestigious Head of Public Service Award in 2003 for his 38-year career at the National Library of Canada. Highly regarded for his contribution to modern library services, Mr. Forget has led the development and adoption of bibliographic systems now in use around the world. More recently, he spearheaded the integration of the National Library and National Archives of Canada’s Information Technology Services.

A: Council on Access to Information for Print-disabled Canadians

In 2001, the Council on Access to Information for Print-disabled Canadians was established; information on its mandate, membership and work plan, along with the report of the task force that led to the creation of the Council, can be found at: http://www.collectionscanada.ca/accessinfo/index-e.html.

In April 2003, during the Council’s sixth meeting, a vision and implementation plan was approved to establish a clearinghouse so that publishers’ e-text masters could be made available to alternate-format producers. The Council also approved a proposal to develop a database of training and advocacy materials for print-disabled post-secondary students; a plan to fund this proposal is expected shortly. Discussions are underway concerning a clearinghouse pilot project, involving English- and French-language publishers, AccessCopyright and Copibec.

The Council also expressed support for a national network of public libraries and Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) offices to improve the equity of services available to print-disabled Canadians. Such a network could address the task force finding that learning-disabled Canadians have more difficulty in obtaining alternate-format materials than visually impaired Canadians who have access to CNIB. The Council also recognized that agencies such as CNIB find it increasingly difficult to cope with the rapidly growing number of disabled Canadians.

B: Virtual Reference Canada (VRC)


On January 30 2003, Virtual Reference Canada (VRC) was launched during the Ontario Library Association's super-conference in Toronto; media coverage included reports by Radio-Canada, CBC Arts Report, and TV Ontario. Within a week of the launch, 70 libraries had signed on as full participants and 25 as guest members. By March 31, 2003, VRC had more than 160 members representing nine provinces and one territory.

The Library is testing a virtual reference chat service. A leading chat-service vendor has been contracted to provide a stable application with a bilingual interface. The human resources needed to implement the new service should be in place by spring 2003.

VRC activities continue to receive the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Depository Services Program of Communication Canada, and the National Library's Government On-Line Task Force.

Technological Advances

VRC represents a new level of technological sophistication for the Library and Archives. The first public service offering to feature PHP programming language, VRC is also the first to require SSL encryption. To develop the VRC application, a PHP programmer was awarded a contract; PHP knowledge is now being shared within the Library and Archives. SSL encryption, which protects client privacy, may also be extended to other services. Preliminary discussions are underway concerning the incorporation of e-commerce components into applications such as VRC.


The Library and Archives joined the Depository Services Program of Communication Canada as a co-sponsoring partner of the Parliamentary Publications Gateway. The Gateway will improve access to Parliamentary publications. The first phase of the Gateway project will involve brief content descriptions of basic publications and will feature links to additional information. The VRC will serve as a referral network via a link on the Gateway.

The Library and Archives continue to participate in the NISO (National Information Standards Organization) Standards Committee AZ for Networked Reference Services. A draft document, Question/Answer Transaction Protocol (QATP)  -- Use Cases -- First Working Draft, has been released for public review. Work continues on a functional model document, an XML schema, and a protocol model and service description. A draft QATP should be available for early implementation and testing by the end of 2003. VRC expects to be an early implementer of the protocol.

Other recent partnership activities include:

  • Several libraries joined VRC following a demonstration to more than 65 members of the Council of Federal Libraries.
  • Staff of the National Archives have expressed interest in VRC, and have helped identify the need for links between VRC the Canadian Genealogy Centre.
  • VRC continues to share the results of its research and development work with OCLC and the QuestionPoint service, and to promote the complementary relationship between the two services.


A broad and multi-faceted campaign promoted VRC and collaborative reference systems across Canada throughout the second half of 2002. Letters were sent to invite individual libraries to join VRC; the first letters were sent to 350 academic and legislative libraries, along with a select group of special interest and public libraries. Online messages were also posted on several discussion lists, including REFCAN-L, which now has 883 members from 20 countries; the majority of members represent Canadian institutions.

VRC staff also made a presentation during the all-day workshop on virtual reference held in Toronto at the annual management meeting of Ontario college libraries. The workshop, hosted by The Bibliocentre, included a demonstration of Alberta’s Ask A Question system, an explanation of VRC and its relationship to collaborative local and regional reference networks, and a discussion of the technical and quality requirements of a collaborative system.

Other outreach events included the CALUPL Board of Directors in Regina, the "Association pour l'avancement des sciences et techniques de la documentation" (ASTED) annual conference and the Virtual Reference Desk (VRD) conference in Chicago. During the Chicago conference, was invited to join the VRD Consortium, a collaboration of key organizations. Consortium members agreed to work with the national libraries of Canada, Australia and the Netherlands on the Digital Reference Clinical Teaching Initiative. This international initiative will use workshops and practical internships to help students and practitioners upgrade their skills and obtain recognized certification.

Articles on VRC appear in the Spring issues of Féliciter, the Canadian Library Association's journal, and Documentation et bibliothèques (ASTED).

C: Other Libraries

Canadian Initiative on Digital Libraries (CIDL)

The Secretariat for the Canadian Initiative on Digital Libraries (CIDL) (www.collectionscanada.ca/cidl/index-e.html) is an alliance of libraries and related institutions that recognize the growing importance of digital information. CIDL seeks to improve the use of digital information and enhance service to Canadians. During an open meeting in November 2002, CIDL was encouraged to establish a national strategy for digitization. In response, CIDL began a review of its mandate and structure; results of the review will be presented shortly to the CIDL Steering Committee.

National Core Library Statistics Program

The National Core Library Statistics Program (www.collectionscanada.ca/8/3/r3-203-e.html ) has collected and analyzed data for all types of libraries, except those situated in elementary and secondary schools. Reports are available for 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1999. The Program’s external Advisory Committee has recommended that a new survey be conducted in 2003.

In 2003, the National Library and the National Archives negotiated an agreement with Statistics Canada to add a few questions about libraries to an Industry Canada census survey of schools slated to begin in Fall 2003. This initiative will provide a snapshot of the status of school libraries Canada for the first time.

Sm@rt Library Project

A prototype of the Sm@rtLibrary portal was unveiled in Ottawa in February. The portal, expected to be available to the general public in Fall 2003, enables users to simultaneously search the collections of the National Library, Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (CISTI), Carleton and Ottawa universities, and the Ottawa Public Library. The prototype is part of a demonstration project funded by Industry Canada and sponsored by the National Capital Region Libraries Consortium and the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation.

While online testing of the system continues, work is underway to increase the number of partner libraries in the National Capital Region and the range of services available via Sm@artLibrary.

D: Council of Federal Libraries (CFL)

The Council of Federal Libraries (www.collectionscanada.ca/cfl-cbgf/index-e.html) continues to contribute to improving government information management. The CFL’s efforts focus on development, education and outreach. The National Library is currently exploring connections between librarianship in the federal context and other, related areas, such as records management, knowledge management, organizational and personal learning, in order to be able to advise, lead and guide the federal library community, and to create new and innovative partnerships.

Recent development efforts included:

  • the creation -- in partnership with National Archives -- of an Information Management Capacity Check tool;
  • a revised and updated version of the Metadata Implementation Guide (to appear on the Council Website); and
  • a high-level taxonomy of knowledge management for federal government knowledge managers (to be completed late in 2003).

Work is also underway on articulating a vision and designing a model for the delivery of federal library services. A concept, along with an outline of a process, was sent to Council members; work will continue through 2003. The project will clarify the Library and Archive’s services to government business lines, and enhance the Council’s ability to deliver electronic-information tools to government employees.

The Council continues to participate in the Federal Science E-Library project, with the goal of providing government researchers online access to current scientific, technical and medical publications. The project could also serve as a model for cross-departmental licensing.

Recent education efforts included:

  • a survey of members of the federal library community, conducted in January 2003, to identify specific knowledge gaps in metadata;
  • a set of learning materials to support business cases on metadata (to be posted on the Council website); and,
  • a series of work descriptions added to the repository of Information Management, and input on a learning program for senior managers.

Recent outreach efforts included:

  • presentations to more than 200 federal government information managers during the Council’s annual seminar;
  • a session to information managers and specialists in communications and information technology on the latest developments in the electronic preservation of publications;
  • a VCR demonstration to members of the federal library community;
  • numerous presentations to students of library and information science;
  • participation in a Treasury Board committee studying functional communities and how they might improve the efficiency of government;
  • a two-day workshop on succession planning for libraries and information organizations; and
  • participation on the Steering Committee of the Eight Rs, a national study on human-resource development in libraries, museums and archives.

The Council’s consortium now includes more than 50 members; this increased purchasing power will generate even greater cost savings.

The Council’s secretariat -- a newly created position -- assisted with information exchange when the bankruptcy of a serials vendor left federal libraries facing a collective loss of more than $800,000.

E: National Library Records Save the Library Community Money

January 2003 marked the beginning of the second phase of research into the value of Library and Archives bibliographic records to the library community. Phase I of the study focused on members of the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) and the Council of Administrators of Large, Urban Public Libraries (CALUPL). Phase II, conducted by Jamshid Beheshti Consulting, will involve federal and public libraries. The study will examine the cost savings these libraries achieve by using bibliographic records of printed monographs provided by the Library and Archives. The study will also use telephone interviews and questionnaires to gather opinions about Library and Archives services.

Part III
Protect and Preserve the National Collection

Canadians expect their National Library to gather and protect the myriad artifacts of our heritage and culture.

Protecting and preserving these artifacts is a massive and complex undertaking that requires both hard work and advanced science. Sophisticated processes such as deacidification can effectively halt the aging process of centuries-old books and broadsheets. Recent improvements in mass-deacidification technologies have enabled the Library to extend the useful life of thousands of works. To preserve the entire collection of printed materials in this way, however, would be prohibitively expensive.

Accommodating our ever-growing collections is also a challenge. The buildings that house the national collection are nearing capacity and showing their age. Outdated plumbing and ventilation systems increase the risk of damage to materials stored in certain areas. Fragile materials are moved to safer areas as space becomes available.

A rapidly expanding number of formats presents another unique challenge. In general, machine-readable publications and records are approximately 15 times more expensive to preserve than print materials.

Preservation and storage decisions, while often agonizing, are always based upon the relative importance and hardiness of materials. Meanwhile, government officials continue to develop a long-term solution to facilities problems.

The National Library of Canada is recognized as a world leader in the protection and preservation of artifacts. Gilles St. Laurent, an audio conservator, earned a CEDAR Award for his remastering of a vintage recording of Madame Édouard Bolduc’s La chanson du bavard. This work, along with a retrospective of La Bolduc’s career is featured on the website www.collectionscanada.ca/gramophone/index-e.html.

A: Funding for Collection facilities

The Minister of Canadian Heritage recently announced new funding for better housing of collection materials at the National Library and the National Archives. The Government of Canada allocated $15 million in the 2003 budget to fulfill short-term collection-storage needs and to undertake studies to find the best solution to fulfill long-term preservation requirements.

B: Preservation Collection

The Library receives two copies of every Canadian publication under the terms of legal deposit legislation. In 1988, the Library began to separate the two copies, designating one for preservation and one for service. Between October 1, 2002 and March 31, 2003, 7,327 items (246.8 linear metres of material of pre-1988 titles) were identified and added to the Preservation Collection from pre-1988 collection materials. To better protect the monographs collection, service copies and preservation copies will be stored separately. Subject areas targeted include Canadian history, children and young adults (juvenile collection), military/naval history and fine arts.

A pilot project to identify and separate preservation copies in the Canadian law collection transferred 79.3 linear metres of material from an offsite basement to the Library’s main building.

Materials that had been stored in the basements of 395 Wellington and the Jean Edmonds Tower have been moved to the upper floors of 395 Wellington; repair work was completed to many volumes. In addition, many service copies were re-housed, rebound and repaired, and catalogue records were updated, further improving access to items in the Library collection.

A collaborative effort involving staff of the preservation services unit successfully preserved broadsides from the rare books collection. A total of 1200 broadsides were deacidified, while 200 were repaired and 620 were encapsulated.

C: Mass Deacidification

A key component of the Library’s protection strategy for the national collection involves the deacidification of vast numbers of publications printed on acidic paper. The Library recently contracted with two deacidification firms that rely on modern technologies consistent with the Montreal protocol. Wei T’o Canada and Preservation Technologies will de-acidify collection materials off-site, enabling the Library to continue its preservation efforts in this area.

D: Incidents at the National Library

Incidents continue to affect the collections of the Library. In January, a burst water main partially flooded the basement of the Jean Edmonds Tower facility, damaging several books. A swift response by Library staff is credited with saving more than 2,000 books and periodicals. Since 1988, more than 30,000 items have suffered damage.

E: Collection Facilities

In the period under review, air conditioning was installed in one of the Library’s collection facilities. While there is no humidity control in this building, air conditioning helps stabilize the environment so critical to protecting the print-newspaper collection.

F: Collaboration with the National Archives

The National Archives Preservation Branch normally provides up to the equivalent of eight conservators to work on conservation treatments for Library materials. Beginning in the summer of 2002, extensive consultations have taken place to reshape and enhance preservation services at both institutions.

Part IV
Strengthen and Enrich the Collection

The National Library of Canada has expectations of its own: to play a central role in preserving the heritage of a nation, to be the authoritative and comprehensive source of information about Canada, to continuously attract new donors, clients and partners. Meeting these expectations requires that the Library enrich the national collection.

Legal deposit legislation requires that Canadian publishers provide the Library with two copies of each new work. The Library can acquire only a limited number of additional materials, given its fixed resources -- both human and financial. Yet there is an infinite amount of valuable material -- both old and new -- that could be acquired.

The ongoing challenge for the Library is to balance expectations with resources. The institution uses its resources wisely by following a strategic approach: acquiring materials that best complement the collection and add the most value for clients. Not surprisingly, achieving a consensus on a particular acquisition is often a matter of some debate.

These debates are framed by several factors, such as how material relates to the national collection, and how an item might be acquired. The Library acquires materials four ways: through legal deposit, donation, exchanges and purchase.

In the period covered by this report, two historical gems were purchased: Canada’s earliest bookplate and a rare broadside printed in 1852. Donated and loaned materials, meanwhile, helped fill specific gaps in the Library’s Aboriginal-languages and digital-records collections. All of these acquisitions have not only enriched the national collection, but also enhanced the National Library of Canada’s ability to attract new donors and clients.

A: Acquisition of Electronic Publications

The National Library’s collection of Canadian electronic publications http://collection.collectionscanada.ca/e-coll-e/index-e.htm now includes more than 9,200 titles published by the commercial and government sectors, though the vast majority (approximately 80 percent) are government works. More than 2,000 new titles have been added in the past six months.

Legal deposit of online publications

During the year Library staff worked in close collaboration with officials from Justice Canada and the Department of Canadian Heritage to work through changes in legislation and deposit regulations to permit the extension of legal deposit to online publications. While over 9200 Canadian online publications have been acquired for the Library’s electronic collection each title has been acquired as a result of negotiations. A consultation paper was prepared to be discussed with a broader publisher community. The announcement of the creation of the Library and Archives of Canada overtook this work.

B: Canadian Musical Memories

In the past six months, the National Library acquired 1,822 new sound-recording titles. Most of these originated with trade publishers; 1,650 came through legal deposit, and 172 were purchased. The Department of Canadian Heritage is providing funding for this three-year project.

During 2002, 2,627 new sound recordings were catalogued in AMICUS, and a further 1,348 copies of previously catalogued titles were processed. The new material includes recordings from some of Canada's best-known music stars, such as Glenn Gould and Oscar Peterson.

To promote the benefits of depositing with the National Library, staff attended several conferences, including Ontario Council of Folk Festivals, East Coast Music Association Conference, Canadian Music Week, and Association québécoise de l'industrie du disque, du spectacle et de la video (ADISQ). In addition, a presentation on the achievements of the Library’s Canadian Musical Memories project was made to the Canada Music Council.

C: Noteworthy Recent Acquisitions

Rare Blackfoot Vocabulary

The Library acquired the first edition of an extremely important historical work, A grammar and vocabulary of the Blackfoot language. Published in 1882, this rare Aboriginal-language piece likely represents the first extensive compilation of Blackfoot vocabulary, and was prepared by men with considerable field experience. The only two known copies are listed in Amicus; complete copies with the errata and advertisements printed on purple paper are seldom offered.

Rare Chinook Jargon Newspaper

More than 60 issues of the Kamloops Wawa were acquired to complement Library holdings. This mid-19th century periodical is written in Chinook jargon.

The Library acquired several rare items, including:

  • Canada’s earliest bookplate, printed in 1756 by John Bushell;
  • issues of the Quebec Gazette, the Province of Quebec's first newspaper covering 16 years prior to 1801; and,
  • a rare broadside printed in 1852 on board the Plover, one of the ships searching for the Franklin expedition. There were only 3 copies known of this item, and none in Canada.

Other Acquisitions

The Library acquired and added to several archival fonds, including Mercury Press, Jane Urquhart 3rd accession, Phyllis Webb 5th accession, Eldon Grier and Marilyn Bowering.

The Ross Dowson fonds of Canadian left-wing publications was acquired through donation: the National Archives had secured the collection.

The Library of Parliament donated a series of pre-1868 official publications. These were added to the Library collection ; service, preservation and duplicate copies were selected. This process will improve access to the Official Publications and help prepare a complete inventory.

The Library acquired a second deposit of archival documents on Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau from members of the poet’s family, as well as the fonds of Suzanne Jacob. The Library also acquired works by:

  • Roger Paré
  • C.J. Taylor
  • Tim Wynne-Jones
  • Ludmila Zeman
  • Henriette Major
  • Marie-Louise Gay

D: Aboriginal Initiatives

The establishment of Aboriginal services improves the Library’s ability to compile, exhibit and preserve the published heritage of Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Metis. Through consultation with collectors and stakeholders, the Library will be better able to represent and serve the interests of Aboriginal peoples. A top priority for the Library is to compile a directory of resources and databases on Aboriginal peoples. This will include lists of Aboriginal authors, illustrators and storytellers.

Library staff will participate in a panel presentation and meet with members of the American Indian Library Association during the joint CLA/ALA Conference in June.

E: Multicultural Initiatives

Since its establishment in 2002, Multicultural services have focused on consultation with stakeholders, such as libraries, publishers, and with the general public. A multicultural services portal is under development.

The Library staged an information session at OLA (Ontario Library Association) 2003, and will deliver two presentations at CLA/ALA in Toronto. Library staff participates on the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Diversity Committee; the Department’s annual report on multiculturalism includes a section highlighting the Library’s efforts.

F: Canadian Theses

On April 1, Canadian Theses Service became Theses Canada; the new name is consistent with a web portal that will be launched later in 2003. The portal will contain MARC records for all theses in the Library collection; many will include abstracts. The portal will also provide access to approximately 45,000 full-text electronic theses in PDF format.

The portal will eventually accept electronic theses and metadata directly from Canadian universities.

The revised Non-Exclusive License to Reproduce Theses was distributed to Canadian graduate schools in December. The letter strongly urges graduate students to read the license carefully before signing. More information is available on the Theses Canada website (www.collectionscanada.ca/thesescanada).

The website also explains how to submit, locate, borrow and purchase theses, and includes information about copyright.

In support of Theses Canada, two list serves were established: a closed list for use by the Advisory Committee, E-Theses Advisory_Committee-L; and one for staff and faculty of Canadian graduate schools, CTS-Discussion-L.

A new body was created in 2003 -- the Canadian Theses Service Advisory Committee -- with a mandate to oversee the policies and operations of the theses program.

G: Legal Deposit

Legal deposit (www.collectionscanada.ca/6/25/index-e.html) continues to contribute significantly to the growth of the National Library’s collections. In the past six months, the Library has received 16,895 new titles on legal deposit, including both commercial and federal-government publications. The Library has also received nearly 2,000 publications from provincial and municipal governments. The national collection continues to be enriched by these books, periodicals, sound recordings, microfiche, CD-ROMs, and videos from across the country.

H: Serials Collection

The Library's serials collection is made up of approximately 34,700 active titles and 105,130 inactive titles. Each month, an average of 300 new titles are added to the collection and 16,415 new issues are recorded. The Library claims more than 3,400 missing serial issues each month.

I: Canadian National Union Collection

The National Union Catalogue is the most important source of information on the holdings of periodicals at Canadian libraries, with more than 800,000 titles. The catalogue also includes alternate formats, with more than 250,000 titles for braille, large print and talking books.

The union catalogue, begun in 1950, includes a total of more than 17 million records and 45 million holdings. Significant library collections from all parts of the country are added on a regular basis. The union catalogue database grows by an average of 1.5 million titles each year. More than 1300 library collections are represented in the union catalogue.

Part V
Promote National Library Expertise, Collections and Services

Through a range of promotional and outreach activities, the National Library of Canada’s fulfills various aspects of its mandate and stays in touch with its audiences.

By mounting exhibits, the Library stimulates interest in Canadian heritage and attracts new audiences, clients and partners. By loaning items to other exhibitions, the Library raises its profile and inspires others to donate. Participation in symposia and conferences helps staff stay abreast of new developments in library sciences and fosters greater understanding of Library programs. Finally, less formal activities keep staff updated about current needs and expectations.

Recent digital exhibitions on trains and hockey proved especially popular with young people; an exhibit celebrating Aboriginal achievement forged new links with First Nation, Inuit and Metis communities.

Current loans have helped establish a new relationship and strengthen an existing one: the Library loaned two rare books on Judaism to a Spanish exhibit, and a page from the Gutenberg bible to Le Musée du Québec.

Promotional activities connect Canadians to their printed heritage and enhance the Library’s ability to expand its reach.

The National Library of Canada is recognized as one of the finest institutions of its kind in the world; its staff is regularly invited to share their expertise. National Librarian Roch Carrier was recently awarded an Honourary Doctor of Letters degree from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Following the conferral of the degree, Mr. Carrier delivered a Pallister French-Canadian Lecture, entitled Exploring the Words and the World.

A: Reaching Canadian Youth

International Forum on Canadian Children’s Literature

Preparations continued for the largest gathering ever organized on the subject of Canadian children’s literature, centred in Ottawa in June 2003. The Forum will be complemented by a variety of activities across the country, including a series of storytelling events in First Nations communities and the announcement of a national summer reading programme for children.


During the International Forum on Children’s Literature in June, Library staff will deliver sessions on:

  • children’s literature by Aboriginal authors and illustrators;
  • oral narrative and storytelling in Aboriginal societies; and,
  • the selection of authentic and quality resources by or about Aboriginal peoples.

B: Exhibiting the Collections

Celebrating Aboriginal Achievements

The opening of the Celebrating Aboriginal Achievements exhibit marked the launch of the Aboriginal Resources and Services Program. The exhibit is a sampling of published works from a variety of authors on a range of topics. Many of the authors are recipients of National Aboriginal Achievement Awards. The Program will provide a range of services, including a directory of resources and databases specific to Aboriginal peoples. A web portal was also established in conjunction with the exhibit.

Travelling Exhibit on Oscar Peterson

The Oscar Peterson exhibit moved to the art gallery in the Canadian Embassy in Washington, and opened on November 12, 2002. The exhibit of films, photos, correspondence and music spans the 50-year career of this world-renown jazz artist. The exhibit also includes reproductions of archival material that Dr. Peterson has donated to the National Library. The exhibit next travels to France, Germany, Australia and Japan.

Other Exhibits and Lending Activities

Images Canada is a collaborative project of several cultural institutions that provides online access to thousands of images of Canada. The National Library’s contribution includes a selection of almost 4,000 images from the 19th century magazine Canadian Illustrated News.

Library staff mounted two small exhibitions of rare books on Thomas D'Arcy McGee and explorer Sir Richard Burton, and prepared materials for Our Favourite Things, an exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the National Library.

Exhibitions at the National Arts Centre drawing on the Library’s collection of Canadian children’s literature included:

  • Château sans roi
  • La félicité
  • Zeus and the Pamplemousse
  • Lulie the Iceberg
  • Conte-Gouttes

The Library mounts modest displays of materials from collections to mark the passing of notable Canadians. In the past six months, the Library has paid homage to Monica Hughes and Phoebe Gilman.

Library staff also:

  • selected and described nearly 80 items for the exhibition On the Road/Sur la Route held in cooperation with the US Embassy;
  • prepared materials for the exhibit "Gabrielle Roy à Saint-Boniface", for "La Maison Gabrielle Roy" in Manitoba;
  • prepared materials for The Canadian Modernists Meet, a joint exhibition with the University of Ottawa involving archival and published material from Canadian modernist writers;
  • selected documents and prepared captions for a June 2003 exhibit of works by Saint-Denys Garneau at le Festival international de poésie de Trois-Rivières;
  • loaned an original leaf of the Gutenberg Bible for exhibits at the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec and the Salon du Livre de Québec; and,
  • loaned two items from the Jacob M. Lowy collection to the exhibit Memoria de Sefarad, which will travel to Toledo Spain, and Washington D.C. The items are Moses Maimonides’ code of law, Mishneh Torah, printed circa 1475, and David Abudrahim’s commentary on the prayerbook, Perush ha-berakhot vehatefilot, printed in Lisbon in 1489.

C: Lending a hand: Proyecto Adrienne: a Canada-Chile Project

"Proyecto Adrienne" is an agreement between the national libraries of Canada and Chile to conserve and repatriate the intellectual works of Chilean authors and artists resident in Canada. Many of these artists and authors fled to Canada in the wake of a 1973 coup.

The Library has received more than 300 works from more than 85 authors, artists and donors. The deadline for submission of works is May 1.

The project’s website www.collectionscanada.ca/proyecto-adrienne/index-e.html, includes lists of authors, artists and donors as well as a selection of art works.

A special event at Rideau Hall will officially close the project. Expected guests include Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson and His Excellency John Ralston Saul, Alvaro Zúñiga, the Ambassador of Chile, Sergio Bitar, the Minister of Education responsible for Proyecto Adrienne in Chile, and Roch Carrier, the National Librarian.

D: 50th Anniversary

The Library celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2003 with a range of activities, expositions and special events. The centerpiece of the celebrations is The Fun of Reading: International Forum on Canadian Children’s Literature, described earlier in this section. A 50th anniversary website features a historical overview of the Library, along with congratulatory messages from dignitaries.


Other highlights include:

  • the exhibit Our Favourite Things: 50 Years of Collecting for Canadians features 150 items selected from the Library’s collections by current and former staff;
  • a set of stamps from Canada Post featuring some of our country’s most celebrated authors;
  • a symposium entitled Preservation of Electronic Records: New Knowledge and Decision-making;
  • the national forum on reading in conjunction with the Association for Canadian Studies;
  • a series of free public lectures; and
  • a special venue for the OLA super conference in Toronto.

E: Various Other Public Activities

A gala reading by winners of the 2002 Governor General’s Literary Awards

was held at the Library in November, in conjunction with the Canada Council for the Arts.

The National Librarian continued an extensive series of visits to schools for readings.

Library staff assisted the library committee at Kahnawake First Nation, providing advice on organization, software and cataloguing. Several volunteered to travel to Kahnawake in May 2003 for a day of cataloguing and processing materials.

Library staff was involved in several events, including ASTED, the Salons du livre in Montreal, Quebec and Outaouais, Midwinter ALA, OLA and the Bologna Children’s book fair.

A staff archivist presented a paper exploring the Carol Shields fonds at a colloquium on the author held by the Université de Paris III -- Sorbonne-Nouvelle.

The Library participated in Ottawa Reads, a series of school-based early-literacy activities delivered by several private- and public sector organizations in the National Capital Region. Library staff read to students aged 4 to 7 from Centennial School.

Other activities included:

  • production of a compact disc of books on artists for a presentation to the Friends of the National Gallery of Canada; and
  • participation in a World Poetry Day event organized by the Embassies and High Commissions of the Americas; 33 countries celebrated the theme Poetry of the Americas.
  • celebrations of Le Droit newspaper’s 90th anniversary.

Part VI

Great Expectations

Fifty years ago, the Government of Canada created a National Library to collect and preserve the published heritage of a nation. In a society established upon the principle of equality and nourished with the broad dissemination of knowledge, the Library was expected to play a vital role.

Today, expectations have grown. Canadians are more literate and educated than ever before; they recognize the value of information and appreciate the importance of safeguarding their heritage in the global village. Canadians now expect swift access to a comprehensive source of authoritative information about their country. A new institution, the Library and Archives of Canada, is needed to meet these expectations.

The creation of the new institution comes with additional expectations: that the services it provides Canadians be both relevant and engaging. An amalgamated Library and Archives is ideally positioned to live up to all of these expectations.

The collections of the Library and Archives form the largest and most respected source of information on Canada ever created. By pooling resources and expertise, the new institution can play a larger role in the cultural life of the nation.

As a powerful means to connect with Canadians, the Internet is a key component of the new institution’s strategic plan. The Web is enabling the Library and Archives of Canada to become truly national, to reach Canadians in their homes, workplaces, schools and libraries. It connects the institution with new audiences and engages Canadians in new ways.

Ours is a pivotal moment in the history of communications, where the ultimate promise of technology is to bridge the gap between what people know and what they want to learn.

The Library and Archives come together as one to ensure that for Canadians, that promise can be met. By meeting the heightened expectations of citizens, we will bring new vitality to the role of showcasing Canada’s heritage and culture for generations to come.

Transformation at the National Library of Canada

In October 2002, the federal government announced its intention to amalgamate the National Library and the National Archives. The Minister of Canadian Heritage described the new institution as a world-class knowledge and preservation institution.

Bill C 36 (http://www.parl.gc.ca/37/2/parlbus/chambus/house/bills/ government/C-36/C-36_1/C-36TOCE.html) was introduced to Parliament in May 2003, calling for the creation of the Library and Archives of Canada. The bill would harmonize existing legislation governing the two organizations, updating much of the original language. Definitions would be broadened to include online publications, for instance. The bill would also enable the Library and Archives of Canada to gather material from the Internet. The new institution would retain the status of its predecessors: a departmental agency reporting to Parliament through the Minister of Canadian Heritage. Revised draft regulations for legal deposit are being prepared and will be presented to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. Bill C-36 is expected to be approved and come into effect by Fall 2003.

In the meantime, a number of interim steps have been taken to integrate and transform the existing institutions. A common management board has been created, chaired jointly by the National Librarian and National Archivist, and an Assistant Deputy Minister has been appointed to lead the transformation process. A number of working groups have been established to examine collection policies, services to the public and to government, preservation procedures, digital presence, and strategic policy and planning. Some organizational responsibilities have been reviewed and integrated. These steps will enable the proposed Library and Archives of Canada to function effectively and efficiently as soon as the necessary legislation is proclaimed.

For information on this report:

Mr. Paul McCormick
Director General,
Strategic Policy and Planning
National Library of Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0N4

Telephone: 613-996-2892
Toll free: 1-866-578-7777
TTY: 1-866-299-1699
Fax: 819-934-8333
Website: www.collectionscanada.ca/index-e.html