ARCHIVED—Minutes of the Depository Services Program Library Advisory Committee (DSP-LAC) Meetings, 2008

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Meeting Dates and Location

Monday, August 25 2008 and Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Confederation Room A, 2nd Floor
Constitution Square, 350 Albert St.
Ottawa, ON Canada

Table of contents


Guests / Presenters


Day 1: Monday, August 25, 2008

A. Review of Minutes and Action Items

  1. The meeting was called to order by Christine Leduc at 8:40 a.m.
  2. Questions pursuant to the minutes from the 2007 meetings were considered
  3. Louise Carpentier requested a list of attendees of those meetings
  4. The twenty-one action items cited in Appendix 1 of the 2007 minutes were reviewed
  5. Three of these were discussed in detail:
    • Members to provide DSP with as much data as possible on the use and value to users of materials provided to the depository libraries represented by the DSP-LAC membership.
      • Gay Lepkey reported that DSP has received some responses, but these have been mostly anecdotal rather than quantitative in nature
      • Gay Lepkey reported that statistical reports on downloads from NRC Research Press have been received. NRC Research Press will be able to provide monthly statistics on downloads of online journal articles. He sent an MLIS co-op student to the University of Ottawa to see what data could be derived from citation indexes. Louise Carpentier noted that download statistics would likely be more persuasive than citation statistics
    • Members to report "fugitive" material (i.e., Government of Canada publications that should have been provided to the DSP, but were not) via InfoDep.
      • Christine Leduc reported that there has been some response from depository libraries and it had been acted upon successfully in most cases
    • Exploration of the possibility of a study on the costs / investments by DSP partners in providing Canadian government information to their users.
      • Christine Leduc said that it had been unclear how the DSP and their partners were supposed to proceed, and she asked for feedback on how libraries could provide cost estimates. When asked by Sylvie Nadeau whether this question was still important, Christine responded in the affirmative, saying that it would be useful to be able to show the hidden costs to libraries and to end-users associated with access to electronic publications, for example
      • Christine and Gay noted the regular occurrence of mandatory program reviews
      • Sylvie suggested that a survey be sent to depository libraries to collect data on how many publications are downloaded, how many are printed, how much time is spent answering reference questions using DSP publications, what percentage of cataloguing time is spent on DSP publications, and so on. Barbara Malcolm suggested also asking how much time was spent by librarians reviewing the Weekly Checklist
      • Gay mentioned an estimate of the value of the DSP's service to the public, often cited by a former DSP Director. According to this estimate, the value is around ninety million dollars per year. However, Gay has been unable to find any support for how this figure was derived, and he would like to be able to back it up with some tangible evidence. He said that some libraries have already figured out how much it costs to catalogue federal government publications, and he thinks that we may be able to extrapolate from this a unit figure. He would ideally like to find out how much it costs to download, print, bind, preserve, catalogue and house an item, as well as how much reference service time is spent answering questions using DSP-supplied publications. He mentioned a Library and Archives Canada study that concluded that up to 70% of reference questions are answered using government publications
      • Dorryce Smelts suggested appending a survey to the yearly agreement between the DSP and depository libraries. Christine did not think this idea would be feasible. There was general agreement that more discussion was needed concerning this item

B. Update / Report from Committee Members (Round Table)

  1. Barbara Malcolm reported on DSP-related activities of New Brunswick Public Libraries over the previous year as follows:
    • the information matters that arose from the last meeting had been communicated to the provincial Reference Services Committee through the head of Reference for the Fundy Library Region
    • a presentation was being developed to demonstrate to selective depository library staff how to use the Weekly Checklist effectively to place online orders
    • once completed, the above-mentioned presentation would be presented at the next meeting of the Provincial Reference Services Committee, tentatively scheduled for November, and ultimately placed on the intranet
    • the cataloguing of permanent URLs for federal government publications was still to be followed-up on
    • the trend towards less paper and more electronic access was being monitored as selection guidelines were being developed
    • a provincial meeting of library managers/directors of selective depository libraries within the NBPLS was to be organized within the coming months in order to discuss the program, processes, selection guidelines and any other relevant issues
    • Barbara also mentioned that this would be her last time attending a DSP-LAC meeting, and she expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to have been a part of the committee for the past three years
  2. Marcel Fortin reported on news from the world of map libraries as follows:
    • Natural Resources Canada had made national topographic data freely available to all Canadians in April 2007
    • NRCan had decided to close the National Map Office in 2007 but this decision was reversed as a result of lobbying by the ACMLA and map librarians generally
    • The bigger struggle was to get the federal government to continue mapping all of Canada at a small scale, and to update old data, since the existing maps at the National Map Office are old
    • Robarts Library of the University of Toronto was continuing to receive maps from the federal government, although numbers were declining and many maps were still "falling through the cracks"
    • Services were being re-structured at Robarts Library including the creation of a new Data, Map and GIS Centre.
      • Christine Leduc asked Marcel to share a list of maps considered by the community to be important but that have not yet been distributed by the DSP. Marcel agreed to do this
      • Gay Lepkey said that the DSP has an agreement with NRC that would facilitate a request to have a map printed for distribution if a case were to be made that the map was useless as a PDF or as a small B&W print-out
      • Gay noted that no such agreements exist with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans or Environment Canada, but should a case be made to these departments, it would be more compelling if it came from libraries rather than from the DSP
  3. Dorryce Smelts reported that:
    • the consultation and cooperation among Manitoba libraries that arose from the DSP's proposed revisions to the depository library agreement had highlighted "how involved, and I would say even passionate, libraries are about the stewardship of their federal publications collections"
    • the new retention guidelines proposed by the DSP were well received by smaller libraries in Manitoba having limited space. "There is an overwhelming awareness among libraries in [Manitoba] that the availability of electronic materials will extend the service of DSP." Because of deficiencies in the technological infrastructure of some remote areas, however, access to electronic publications was to remain an issue to be addressed in the near future
    • She (Dorryce), Carla Graebner and Louise Carpentier submitted a letter to "CLA, ASTED and CARL to invite association support for DSP's long tradition of providing open and stable access to federal government information for Canadians and Canadian libraries, and to encourage these associations to recognize the challenges faced by DSP and the unique role it plays in Canadian society."
    • She had been involved in efforts by parliamentary and legislative libraries across Canada "to determine the state of our collections of statutory materials and official publications, our practices in archiving both legacy print materials and digital versions, and the opportunities to share these."
      • Barbara Pilek asked Dorryce for a copy of a proposal mentioned by Dorryce that dealt with a pan-Ontario portal to digital archives at legislative libraries. Dorryce said that she would send a copy to Christine Leduc and Elizabeth Sander
  4. Barbara Pilek reported that:
    • The Library of Parliament had been hosting the IFLA preconference earlier in August
    • The person in charge of distributing Library of Parliament research papers had retired and had been replaced by Michel Corriveau
    • For every research paper published by the Library of Parliament and available on the public website, two copies of each language edition are sent to Library and Archives Canada for cataloguing and copies of the PDF editions are sent to the DSP.
      • Christine Alexander noted that LAC had been cataloguing the electronic versions as they appear in the Weekly Checklist and that the cataloguing backlog of print versions, which arrive through the legal deposit division, had pretty much been eliminated
  5. Brent Roe introduced himself and expressed his pleasure at the opportunity to work with this group. Louise Carpentier suggested that Brent raise awareness of the new depository library agreement during the next CARL meeting, which was scheduled to take place in early October. Brent agreed
  6. Bernie Gloyn reported that:
    • Munir A. Sheikh had recently been appointed to the position of Chief Statistician following the retirement of his predecessor, Ivan Fellegi, who is now Chief Statistician Emeritus
    • The Census had reinstated the print 2006 CSD profile after reaction from the library community, however the intentions for the 2011 Census were to eliminate all print publications. Several teleconferences were being organized for the Fall to solicit input on the 2011 Census Dissemination program from libraries and one item for discussion of ways to minimize the impact of having no print publications
    • The target date for the conversion of Statistics Canada's website to CLF 2.0 standards was October 14, 2008.
      • There was discussion about using the InfoDep listserv to make people aware of the teleconferences and facilitate their signing up for them
  7. Louise Carpentier reported on a new web portal and research tool for federal and provincial government information. This resource, the Government Reports Research Guide, was first developed by a co-op student at the Université de Montréal and is now hosted on the internet by CREPUQ. It can be found at:
    • (english) or
    • (french)
  8. Christine Alexander reported that:
    • in July, the Acquisitions section of the Legal Deposit Unit, Library and Archives Canada, had started to take note of items arriving from the DSP. This would allow the generation of reports of government publications that do not come through the DSP, i.e., fugitive publications
    • the cataloguing of DSP materials had continued to be done on a priority basis
    • a new policy for the Cataloguing in Publication program had taken effect in June, including new criteria for eligibility
    • the British Columbia Legislative Library would no longer serve as the CIP agent for BC publications, and BC publishers would now have to apply for CIP through LAC
    • the official launch of the third website harvesting for the Government of Canada Web Archive was expected to be in September
    • a "trusted digital repository" pilot project was underway
    • plans were underway to assemble a Canadian working group to look at how Resource Description and Access (RDA) would impact cataloguing
    • an RFP for an ILS was in development, as there was a need for new cataloguing, serials and acquisitions control modules
  9. Sylvie Nadeau said that she did not have anything more to add to what had already been reported by other members

C. DSP Annual Report

Christine gave an overview of the major results of a program evaluation of PDS that had recently been completed. She reported that the PDS had scored very well on all points that were evaluated. Two major recommendations emerged from the evaluative process:

Print-outs of Christine's PowerPoint presentation were included in the DSP-LAC meeting kit.

D. Membership Renewal

Since two permanent members—Gwendolyn Ebbett (CARL/ABRC) and Maureen Collier (CLA/ACB)—had announced that they would be stepping down, and since all three of the members at large—Marcel Fortin, Yvonne Footz and Barbara Malcolm—had reached the end of their terms with the DSP-LAC, there was much discussion about membership.

In the end, the committee agreed to ask Margot Jeske, David Jones and Doris Ricard to be the new members at large, to ask Angela Lonardo to be the new CARL/ABRC representative, subject to approval by CARL at their October meeting, to ask Patrick Provencher to be the new CLA/ACB representative, and to ask Katharine Barrette to fill a new role of college libraries representative.

E. DSP Website Integration Project

Nicholas Barakett gave an overview of the major project underway to integrate the websites of Government of Canada Publications and the Depository Service Program. He described the two major phases of the project:

Nicholas described the transition from the current static index pages for CMHC, Statistics Canada and Library of Parliament publications to permanent URLs for all catalogue records. The URL of the integrated website will be:

There was some discussion about the impact the transition would have on libraries. Gay Lepkey said that a concordance file would be provided to libraries which would show the mapping of old URLs from the static index pages to the permanent URLs of the new serial records. Gay emphasized that the URLs of files in the electronic publication collection are permanent. Gay further described how we would be sending out communications to libraries and how we would have a customer support line to help libraries cope with the changes.

F. Common Look and Feel (CLF) 2.0

Rachelle Bergeron gave a presentation on CLF 2.0, the new Treasury Board standard for web publishing in the Government of Canada. A major point of discussion was the CLF 2.0 requirement that all website content be in XHTML format. Since almost all publications in DSP's electronic collection are in PDF format, the Program was seeking an exemption from this requirement for its externally produced content, i.e., its electronic publications. The exemption request was scheduled to be submitted to Treasury Board on December 1, 2008.

After Rachelle Bergeron left the room, Christine Leduc and Gay Lepkey drew the committee's attention to some possibly serious consequences that could result because of the shift to CLF 2.0. For example, some Departments that are not able to meet the conversion deadline may decide to remove content from their websites rather than update it. More seriously, some Departments may decide to stop making publications available in PDF format. It would be nearly impossible for the DSP to capture and aggregate publications in XHTML format, so this would have a major impact on the e-collection.

Day 2: Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A. Canadian Public Library Statistical Reports

Don Mills, director of the Mississauga Public Library, is also chair of the National Core Library Statistics Program committee of Library and Archives Canada and a member of the Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC). Don described how the collection, processing and presentation of statistical data is central to the lobbying efforts of CULC for increased funding of its member libraries. Qualitative data has recently been collected online by means of "Key Survey" or "Survey Monkey," tools which allow for the anonymous collection of data, including free text. Quantitative data has been collected through Excel spreadsheets. The goal has been for the one hundred largest public libraries in the country to participate, but no more than seventy libraries had ever participated. CULC's statistical gathering project had benefited many libraries, notably several in Quebec, Don said. The statistical activity follows an annual cycle, where surveys are collected in January, results are circulated in May and libraries are invited to submit corrections or updates until July.

There was some discussion about one of the trends that has been demonstrated through CULC's statistical reports: the decline of circulation usage, implying a decline in usage of materials in physical formats. Don referred to this trend as access trumping ownership.

Don suggested that it would be possible for questions about holdings and usage of federal government publications to be added to future surveys. If a sampling methodology were used, it would probably be feasible to gather quantitative data. It may also be possible, using data that has already been collected, to derive a unit cost to libraries for holding a government publication.

There was some discussion about ways to determine what percentage of reference questions are answered using federal government publications. Marcel said that, at the University of Toronto Libraries, reference librarians would use codes to record what types of reference questions they were answering; for example, reference questions that were answered using a government publication were given the code "GO." Gay raised the point that, even if libraries were willing to do something like this, it would not give a full picture, since it would not capture circulation statistics or usage outside the context of actual reference questions.

Brent suggested that it may be possible to identify both among public libraries and academic libraries a few examples where government publications are segregated in the stacks. If some counts could be done at these libraries, then we could perhaps extrapolate to get an idea of what is happening at other libraries.

Don said that CULC libraries would probably be cooperative with any data-gathering initiative on the part of the DSP. He closed by referring committee members to the CULC statistical reports found on the Mississauga Public Library website:

B. Federal Depository Library Program

Cynthia Etkin, a program planning specialist from the Office of the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, provided the committee with a rich overview of the U.S. counterpart to the DSP, the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). Cynthia provided all people present with promotional materials and she left a copy of her PowerPoint presentation for anyone interested. The FDLP "Desktop" is found on the internet at:

C. Canadian Book Exchange Centre Closure

Alison Bullock, Acting Director of Library and Archives Canada, provided an update on the redistribution of materials since the decommissioning of the Canadian Book Exchange. She spoke about how some materials had been sent to Eastern Africa, some to Library and Archives Canada, and some to local libraries. Alison said that it was hoped that the Canadian Book Exchange Centre (CBEC) listserv would replace the physical CBEC warehouse by allowing libraries to communicate directly with one another about physical items being weeded or sought.

Christine Leduc and Gay Lepkey offered the use of the InfoDep listserv for circulating communications about the status of the remaining items in the warehouse.

D. Letter of Agreement

Gay Lepkey discussed the draft of the new letter of agreement that had been sent out to 988 depository libraries in the fourth week of July. The covering letter that was mailed together with the draft agreement requested comments to be submitted within sixty days. However, since there had been significant delays in the delivery of the mailings, it had been agreed that a reminder would be sent out over InfoDep and that an extended deadline for comments of October 15 would be set.

Among the approximately thirty responses that had been received so far, there were seven negative comments about the stipulation that libraries should provide access to timely publications within 10 days. There was agreement among several committee members that the corresponding sentence in the draft agreement should be revised, as some libraries would have difficulty providing full bibliographic access to materials within 10 days. On the other hand, it was noted that the sentence in question did not actually stipulate that timely materials should be catalogued within 10 days, but merely that they should be made available to the public within 10 days. There was a suggestion that, in any case, the language should be softened somewhat in order to emphasize a relationship of partnership between the DSP and depository libraries.

E. Wrap-up

Christine Leduc solicited general comments from participants about this year's meeting. She then distributed and went over a draft of actionable items. It was agreed that the next meeting of the DSP-LAC should be near the end of August, 2009.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:06 p.m.

Appendix 1: Action Items

Carried over from last meeting

New Action Items

Originally published: January 26, 2009
Re-published: August 11, 2011

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