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Library and Archives Canada to Implement WorldShare Management Services

Smart Libraries Newsletter [June 2017]


Library and Archives Canada announced that it has finalized its contract to implement WorldShare Management Services from OCLC to replace AMICUS. The selection of WorldShare Management Services by this national library represents a major boost for OCLC, especially given the broad scope of service it provides. The current AMICUS system, in addition to managing the collections of Library and Archives Canada itself, supports a national union catalog, which includes materials held by 1,300 libraries throughout Canada. AMICUS includes over 30 million bibliographic records, representing many different formats of materials, including books, serial publications, government documents, maps, audio recordings, and braille and large print materials. Once implementation is complete, WorldShare Management Services will support the acquisitions, cataloguing, access, and circulation of the collections of Library and Archives Canada, and WorldCat will function as the national union catalog.

The current AMICUS system is based on software developed specifically for Library and Archives Canada, which was implemented in 1996. According to the October 1997 issue of Library Systems Newsletter, the initial development of AMICUS was performed by a software development firm named CCI. AMICUS library had previously used DOBIS, a mainframe-based automation system developed and supported by IBM. As a system that has been developed and supported in-house for two decades, Library and Archives Canada is ready to replace AMICUS with a standard commercially-available product.

The selection of WorldShare Management Services not only provides a new technology platform for its own operations, it essentially outsources the maintenance of the national union catalog to OCLC. The holdings representing libraries in Canada will be transferred to WorldCat as part of the implementation. Subsequently, Canadian libraries will work directly with OCLC to keep their holdings current in WorldCat. The ability to set holdings in WorldCat depends on these libraries being OCLC members. Currently most Canadian libraries are not OCLC members, but the project will provide financial support to support membership for small and mid-sized libraries.

Serving a bilingual country, the new service must be offered in both French and English, including interfaces use by library personnel and by users. In support of this project, the French name authority file will be implemented on WorldShare Management Services.

Library and Archives Canada had previously provided an interlibrary loan service for materials represented in Amicus. Due to budget cutbacks and declining use, this interlibrary loan service operated by LAC ceased operation in December 2012. According to statistics provided on the LAC website, requests had dropped from around 150,000 annually in the 1990's to 34,000 in 2011. AMICUS can be used to locate which Canadian libraries may own materials of interest, but requests are no longer brokered directly by AMICUS. Materials in Canadian libraries will be discoverable in WorldCat and available through OCLC's WorldShare Interlibrary Loan service.

This contract culminates a process that has been underway since 2014. At that time, Library and Archives Canada began negotiating with OCLC, which it had previously identified as the only provider able to meet its requirements. The shift from a locally-developed and supported automation system to a commercial product and the outsourcing of the national union catalog is part of its reallocation of priorities to support its new digital strategy (Digital Strategy 2015 and Beyond: -us/publications/digital-strategy/Documents/LAC-Digi tal-Strategy.pdf).

The transition to the OCLC WorldShare platform is expected to be completed in 2019.

View Citation
Publication Year:2017
Type of Material:Article
Language English
Published in: Smart Libraries Newsletter
Publication Info:Volume 37 Number 06
Issue:June 2017
Publisher:ALA TechSource
Place of Publication:Chicago, IL
Record Number:22741
Last Update:2022-11-29 00:30:19
Date Created:2017-07-01 14:27:23