ILL Committee Liaison Report--National Library of Canada

Midwinter 2002 Report

Digital ILL Pilot Project

Shamelessly copying Chris Wright's "hobby" project at the Library of Congress, the National Library of Canada is embarking on a pilot project to digitize certain types of material requested on interlibrary loan but unlendable due to circumstances such as age or condition. We will be concentrating on smaller Canadian items for which copyright has expired, but may in certain cases consider obtaining copyright permission to mount copies on our website with links to the bibliographic record for ease of access.


AMICUS is an information resource developed and maintained by the National Library of Canada (NLC) for libraries, researchers and the public. Available free of charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, AMICUS provides different services to suit your needs. Use it for searching, information verification, interlibrary loan, reference, and cataloguing and collection development. Support for the print disabled and other services are available. Some more advanced services require registration and the use of a username and password, all of which are free of charge as well.

New AMICUS modules for Serials Control, Circulation, Acquisitions and a new OPAC are scheduled for implementation in February 2002, giving NLC a completely integrated library system. The existing AMICUS ILL module will finally have an interface with the circulation module, allowing ILL searchers to see what the circulation status of a specific item is before completing an ILL request. This will allow us to respond quickly with an explanation and suggestions for alternate locations when a requested item is missing or out on loan. Interlibrary Loans staff have been involved in extensive testing of the new system and the development of new procedures for completing requests, handling reserves and partial shipments and maintaining our client directory.

ILL Protocol

Interoperability testing with VDX and OCLC is proceeding well. Many public and university libraries in Ontario will implement VDX this year and we are waiting for one of them to be ready to exchange messages with us so that we can smooth out any last difficulties.

And, you will be very glad to hear that we should at last be able to exchange messages with OCLC as soon as we have made some small programming changes and some procedural decisions. This should mean that requests sent to us on OCLC would be handled more quickly and with clearer messages. Look for an announcement in the next few months.

2. Canadian Library Association (CLA)


The CLA annual conference will be held this year in Halifax, Nova Scotia from June 19th to the 22nd. The theme of this year's conference is "Inventing our future". Conference information can be found at We invite you to join us in Atlantic Canada's Entertainment Capital!

And don't forget: ALA and CLA will be holding a not-to-be-missed joint annual conference in Toronto in 2003. Information on Toronto, a terrific city with lots to offer visitors (not to mention the extremely advantageous US$ exchange rate) can be found at We are very excited about welcoming you to Canada!

Resource Sharing Interest Group

The CLA Resource Sharing Interest Group is working on the establishment of an award to recognize excellence in resource sharing. Once approved, the proposed award will be presented yearly at the annual conference of the Canadian Library Association and will recognize an individual, library, project or consortia that significantly advances library resource sharing in Canada.

3. COPPUL study

The ILL/DD Task Group of COPPUL (Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries) is continuing work on a variety of projects including an ILL cancellation study (investigating the reasons for cancellation (non-filling) of ILL requests), and an exploration of new models for compensation of large net lenders within the consortium.

4. Electronic Library Network

The British Columbia (BC) Electronic Library Network (ELN) conducted a survey on resource sharing in November 2001 among its 32 partner libraries. Results of the survey are now being compiled, with a report expected in March 2002. The project goals include streamlining interlending within the province's post-secondary sector and proposing efficiencies in delivery methods throughout the province. This follows up an ELN initiative from 2001 that saw provincial funding for Ariel software and scanners in all ELN libraries. Extending Ariel use into the college sector in BC has been a welcome development.

5. Bath Profile

In December, the International Coalition of Library Consortia endorsed the Bath Profile. Sixty-eight consortia worldwide have signed the endorsement. This endorsement along with previous endorsements should encourage the vendor community to do the development work necessary to conform to the Profile.

The Bath Profile is an internationally registered profile that provides specifications for the search and retrieval of information from library catalogues in order to improve interoperability when doing broadcast searches across multiple catalogues. More information is available at

A program on interoperability difficulties and solutions, including the role of profiles in improving resource sharing, will be presented at ALA in Atlanta.

6. Sm@rtLibrary

The National Library of Canada is one of 5 partners (NLC, CISTI, Ottawa Public Library, Carleton University Library, University of Ottawa Library) participating in the Sm@rtLibrary Project. The objective is to provide a single window to the library resources and services of the partner libraries and ultimately all libraries in the region. The project received funding from the Smart Communities program at Industry Canada, a federal government department, as part of a major demonstration project called Sm@rtCapital (see The initial phase of the project is to provide a web/http gateway to the catalogues of the participating libraries. Service issues and decisions will be addressed during phase 2 in 2003.


Negotiations for the renewal of the library book rate in Canada have begun. A committee of library representatives from the National Library, the Canadian Library Association and ASTED are meeting with the staff of Canadian Heritage, the federal department that funds the service. Discussions on a survey are in progress. Issues for the library community include a 'one-way' library rate and inclusion of non-book materials in the program.

Submitted by

Carol Smale

Director, Resource-Sharing Services

National Library of Canada