Library and Archives Canada (LAC) Releases Policy on Maintaining the Canadian National Union Catalogue
March 22, 2021
Library and Archives Canada (LAC) recently published a Policy on Maintaining the Canadian National Union Catalogue to clarify the roles and responsibilities for the management of the National Union Catalogue (NUC). The new policy will be implemented through collaboration between LAC and a NUC Advisory Council.
The NUC Advisory Council will include representatives from LAC and stakeholders from the library community. It will act as a collaborative and transparent consultation forum, which will allow LAC to seek advice and support for the NUC.
Policy on Maintaining the Canadian National Union Catalogue
1. Effective date
This policy has been approved by the Management Team of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and takes effect on December 21, 2020.
The Policy on Maintaining the Canadian National Union Catalogue clarifies the roles and responsibilities for the management of the Canadian National Union Catalogue (NUC).
The implementation of the policy is iterative. It will be shaped through engagement between LAC and the library community in Canada that is contributing to or is interested in participating in the management of the NUC through the NUC Advisory Council (see Section 6.1).
Voilà is the public interface for the National Union Catalogue. This single point of access to the collections of libraries across Canada includes books, magazines, maps, music and more, such as works in special format (Braille, large print, talking books, captioned videos, etc.) for persons who are print- or hearing-impaired.
See Appendix A of the Access Policy Framework.
LAC’s former library management system provided access to LAC’s published collections and the published collections of hundreds of other libraries in Canada through the NUC. However, the technology underpinning the system reached the end of its lifespan, becoming unreliable and not sufficiently responsive to the needs of its clients. Voilà, as the interface for the NUC, has the mandate to enable resource discovery and sharing by providing a central source of information about Canadian library collections.
As set out in the Library and Archives of Canada Act, the “objects and powers” of LAC include making Canada’s documentary heritage known and facilitating access to it. The policy is part of LAC’s Access Policy Framework. Under this framework, LAC works toward removing physical, technological and geographical barriers that limit access to its discoverable and available holdings and associated metadata, to allow improved access to all digital and analog content.
LAC, as part of a larger library and archival community, seeks meaningful collaboration with clients, government institutions, memory institutions, not-for-profit organizations, and/or the private sector, both nationally and internationally.
LAC works with stakeholders and users to find innovative approaches to increase access to documentary heritage, as well as to enhance the democratization of knowledge through the effective engagement of citizens.
The policy clarifies LAC’s commitment to transparent, accountable and meaningful consultative processes related to NUC governance. The policy supports the vision and objectives for the NUC as a comprehensive, inclusive and sustainable resource that meets the needs of libraries in Canada and their clients.
The policy clarifies LAC’s commitment to a participative process with the goal of promoting:
- A comprehensive NUC that reflects the diversity and entirety of the published landscape in Canada;
- An inclusive NUC that enables the participation of libraries in Canada;
- A sustainable NUC that is sufficiently resourced for enduring access to documentary heritage in Canada;
- A responsive NUC that reflects the needs of libraries in Canada and their clients as they evolve over time, including copy cataloguing and interlibrary loans;
- A representative NUC that evolves as library collections evolve;
- An efficient NUC that leverages existing regional library networks and consortia in Canada to avoid duplication of services.
6.1 NUC Advisory Council
LAC will establish and chair a NUC Advisory Council. This council will be a collaborative and transparent consultation forum for LAC and the library community in Canada. The NUC Advisory Council will be composed of representatives from LAC and stakeholders from the library community in Canada. LAC will actively seek advice and support for NUC objectives from the NUC Advisory Council.
The NUC Advisory Council will:
- Offer specialized advice and support to LAC for NUC objectives;
- Support LAC to effectively prioritize objectives for the NUC that reflect the needs of the library community in Canada;
- Identify potential improvements to the NUC that reflect the needs of the library community in Canada;
- Represent and relay library clients’ needs to LAC.
6.2 NUC Platform Host
- Manage the Voilà interface, taking into account the needs of the library community in Canada;
- Communicate the needs and concerns expressed through the NUC Advisory Council to the NUC Platform Host when possible and necessary.
LAC will encourage participating libraries to:
- Contribute bibliographic records and holdings information in support of copy cataloguing, interlibrary loans and resource sharing;
- Participate in problem solving;
- Avoid duplication of services by leveraging existing regional library networks and consortia.
7. Roles and Responsibilities at LAC
The roles and responsibilities concerning the policy are as follows:
- The Deputy Librarian and Archivist of Canada (DLAC) is responsible for advising the Librarian and Archivist of Canada on access policies, strategies and approaches, including those related to this policy.
- The Director General, Published Heritage is responsible for the implementation of the policy, including the establishment of the NUC Advisory Council.
8. Monitoring, Evaluation and Review
The Director General, Published Heritage will review the policy to assess its effectiveness every three years following the date it comes into effect, or upon request from the NUC Advisory Council.
9. Consequences for Non-Compliance Within LAC
Non-compliance with the policy could mean that the inclusiveness and comprehensiveness of the NUC may be compromised, the needs of the library community may not be understood, the needs of library clients may not be taken into account, and the NUC may not reflect the publications that meet the Canadiana criteria.
Inquiries should be addressed to:
Director, Strategic Research and Policy
Library and Archives Canada
550 de la Cité Boulevard
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0N4