MOUSS ILL Liaison Report--National Library of Canada

Toronto, ON, June 2003

1. National Library of Canada

The Library and Archives of Canada

The National Library of Canada is in the midst of a tremendous transformation that will see it combined with the National Archives of Canada to form a completely new institution with a broader mandate, to be called the Library and Archives of Canada. While the new legislation has not yet been passed, much work has been done towards developing a vision that will allow the Library and Archives of Canada to play an important role in making Canadians more aware of their history and culture and in using modern technology to improve access to Canada’s documentary heritage.

Interlibrary Loan Protocol

The implementations of the new generation interlibrary loan protocol software in Canada continue to grow exponentially. Many of the public and academic libraries are choosing Fretwell Downing's VDX or Dynix's RSS as their software of choice. There is a project called OpenILL initiated by some academic libraries in Western Canada to develop open-source ILL software, which will enable these libraries to migrate from protocol version 1 to IPIG software. The URL for the OpenILL project is


In support of resource sharing across Canada, the National Library has made the complete contents of its symbols directory available to Canadian libraries as well as to software vendors who are implementing IPIG-compliant software for Canadian libraries. The files are in character-delimited format so that they can be integrated into the various implementations.

In addition, the National Library has been participating in a project with OpenILL for the development of a Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) directory for Canada. This project is using the contents of Symbols and Interlibrary Loan Policies in Canada as its basis for development in line with the information model for ILL directory services developed by the ILL Protocol Implementers Group (IPIG). The information model can be found at

2. Canadian Library Association (CLA)


We hope to see you in Toronto this month for the joint ALA/CLA conference! While we share your concerns about SARS, we are looking forward to a great and healthy conference experience.

For the average Canadian perspective on the situation, please read CLA President Wendy Newman’s letter posted on the ALA conference pages at

CLA Resource Sharing Interest Group

The Resource Sharing Interest Group (RSIG) identified two primary activities for the year – a review of the national interlibrary loan code and the development and implementation of a national Resource Sharing Award (see the announcement of the Award below).

A preliminary review of the interlibrary loan code was conducted to identify areas for revision. After the code was reviewed, it was recommended that the code not be overhauled at this time as the number of items that were out-of-date were very few and did not justify the time and effort necessary to go through revision process.

The ALA program committee did not accept the sessions proposed for the ALA/CLA Conference. However, the RSIG co-sponsored Serials Pig in the Aggregators Poke III with ALA’s ALCTS Serials Section, Policy, Research, & Publications Committee.

CLA/OCLC Canada Award for Resource Sharing Achievement

The OCLC Canada/CLA Award for Resource Sharing Achievement recognizes outstanding professional achievement, leadership and contributions to library resource sharing in Canada. The award made its debut this year and will be presented at the ALA/CLA joint conference in Toronto. The first recipients of the award are the Reference Department Staffs of the Harriet Irving Library, University of New Brunswick and the University of Alberta Libraries.

The call for nominations for the award brought many inquiries and by the 15 May deadline, five excellent nominations were received from libraries across the country. The task of selecting a winner for the award was a difficult one but the collaborative online reference project undertaken by these two universities moved ahead of the other nominations in the final evaluation.

Through their collaborative online reference project, the Universities of New Brunswick and Alberta have brought better service to users through the mutually beneficial sharing of human and technological resources. Taking advantage of time zone differences, the libraries have been able to provide broad hours of access to online reference services while using fewer staff than would normally be required at each institution. Disparity in the availability of resources between the two institutions was accommodated in the project's design. It was evident that ease of use and seamlessness for the user were given a high priority but the invisibility of the resource sharing activity for the user is clearly a sign of its strength. As is the case with any innovation, sharing project details and findings is key to the advancement of professional practice and user services. The project teams have published and presented widely through all stages of the collaborative online reference service.

The award will be presented at the OCLC Update Breakfast of the ALA/CLA joint conference in Toronto at 7:00 am on Sunday, 22 June.

3. Other ILL system implementations

Relais International's Enterprise and Relais Express software is currently being implemented by the East Coast Relais Consortium (Memorial, University of New Brunswick, Dalhousie, University of Prince Edward Island, Acadia, and Mount Allison - soon to include all the members of the Council of Atlantic Canadian Libraries). The same software is also being implemented by the Alberta Relais Consortium (University of Alberta and University of Calgary and by the University of Manitoba, and the National Library uses Relais Express for electronic delivery of documents. Recently, Relais International signed a deal with the British Library that will see Relais software used to automate document delivery at the British Library.

Submitted by

Carol Smale

Director, Resource-Sharing Services

The Library and Archives of Canada