Minutes of the Depository Services Program Advisory Committee teleconference, June 14, 2017

Third-party information liability disclaimer

Some of the information on this web page is from external sources. The Government of Canada is not responsible for the accuracy, reliability or currency of the information supplied by external sources. Users wishing to rely upon this information should consult directly with the source of the information. Content provided by external sources is not subject to official languages, privacy and accessibility requirements.

Teleconference date

June 14, 2017

Publishing and Depository Services Directorate (PDSD) representatives

List of participants


Participating observers

Meeting summary

  1. Opening remarks by Julie Couture, Director of the Publishing and Depository Services Directorate (PDSD). Julie passed on the regrets of Marc Saint-Pierre, Director General, Government Information Services Sector, who was unable to attend.
  2. Minutes from the October 27, 2016 teleconference approved.
  3. Julie Couture provided an update on Open Information.
    1. In 2014 the Open Information Portal (OIP) was launched with all of PDSD's and LAC's electronic government publications. These were taken down as the PDF format is not deemed an accessible format. Last fall (2016), PDSD staff added additional resources (PDF with their associated HTML formats to meet accessibility requirements) for a re-launch of the portal (55 documents). Since then, more documents have been added, now totalling 165 publications.
    2. The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) is reviewing how best to populate the OIP. Possibly the PDSD and LAC will remain as the main repositories of publications, while the OIP will house working documents and encourage Canadians to comment on those working documents.
    3. TBS has asked the PDSD to add HTML links to its holdings where available, linking the PDSD bibliographic records to the originating departments' sites or to the Canada site.
    4. It was noted that the expense of converting PDSD's collection to accessible formats was too large, so PDSD will begin with a focus on publications from 2016/17, working progressively towards implementing links to HTML versions dating back to 2011, when the Supreme Court of Canada decision on what constitutes accessibility was made.
    5. Chantal Akeson addressed concerns about inactive links, saying that PDSD is working to develop a strategy on this.
    6. Graeme Campbell suggested a collaboration with the LAC to link to archived HTML web pages. Julie Couture confirmed they were looking into it and that they would collaborate with LAC to see if PDSD could leverage their HTML archives.
    7. Caron Rollins was concerned that the move to HTML might influence government departments to no longer produce PDFs. Chantal Akeson clarified that while some departments had moved to providing HTML-only publications, she was communicating with departments to inform them that information resources of long term value should be produced in portable formats, that current procedure requires departments to publish in electronic portable format and that the acquisitions team at the PDSD are flagging those publications which are not produced in PDF format.
    8. Jennifer Trower questioned who would be evaluating the HTML formats provided by departments. Chantal Akeson indicated that the HTML format provided would not be policed and reiterated that current policy requires that documents of long-term value should be released as PDFs. She is hoping to see a trend towards stability of both formats.
    9. Jacqueline Luffman asked why the Portal was changing directions and expressed concern over varying terminology on the Open Government website and a lack of definitions. Jennifer Trower explained that the Open Portal working groups were continually trying to define and scope what should be on the Portal, that clarification and definition on what will be included is still needed. She will take the concern over the varying terminology back to TBS.
    10. Jennifer Trower introduced the pilot project being run by the Open Government division in conjunction with four departments (Canadian Heritage, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat), in which they will leverage the GCDOCs environment for proof of concept in adding working documents to the Open Information Portal. They are looking at September for a launch date.
    11. Chantal Akeson added that with the OIP there are barriers for including certain documents that have copyright restrictions. Using working documents, which carry no copyright, is an easier place to start. Jennifer Trower said that accessibility, in regards to official languages, is forming another part of the discussion. Julie Couture added that, in regards to accessible formats, EPUB3 is considered an alternative, but the departments' ability to produce in that format is limited. Eventually departments may end up producing in EPUB3, but it will take time for that change to happen. The struggle over different formats continues (accessible formats versus portable ones). Jennifer Trower added that the importance of accessibility will become more important over time. Alex Benay plans to have a “hack-a-thon” open to the public to help develop accessible formats. She added that not being accessible carries legal risks.
    12. Caron Rollins raised concern over inconsistent headings between the Open Government website and the OIP. She also suggested the box redirecting users to the PDSD/LAC websites could be reworded for clarity. Graeme Campbell suggested that more specific detail on what is currently available in the Portal would also be welcome.
  4. Carlie Maloney provided an update on the PDSD website redesign.
    1. The re-skin of the site will be harmonized with other government sites by the fall of 2017. There will be no changes to search functionality, although there will be a new search box on the home page, so clicking-through can be avoided. This new box will provide basic search functions.
    2. After a question from Caron Rollins, Chantal Akeson affirmed that since the PDSD website will be keeping its current URL, not moving under the Canada.ca umbrella, the re-skin is important so it has the look and feel of Canada.ca.
  5. Weekly Acquisitions List (WAL) redesign
    1. Melissa Graham gave a summary of the changes to the WAL, which were included on a March 24 Infodep message. There is now a hyperlinked table of contents, several filter options, the URLs within the same record have been consolidated, as were the periodicals. It is also possible to differentiate multiple URLs within the same record, downloading individual records is now customizable, the display has been updated to show the record count in the WAL and a count of how many MARC records the user has selected to download.
    2. Heather Coulter asked about filtering by language. Melissa Graham said that it is possible to filter by the language a publication was catalogued in, French or English, not yet by language of publication. This may be enhanced in the future.
  6. Client Satisfaction Survey
    1. Chantal Akeson thanked everyone in the library community who participated. The survey is in its final stages and the results will be posted in September, at which time she welcomes any reviews of its results.
  7. Digitization projects (Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Statistics Canada, Canadian General Standards Board)
    1. Carlie Maloney informed members that Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) has digitized over 2000 historic publications, most dating from the mid-twentieth century and mostly monographs. Some are appearing in the WAL now. This project was a partnership with the Public Services and Procurement Canada's digitization program.
    2. Statistics Canada has consolidated the Canada Yearbook from chapters and sent them to the PDSD. The 160 files covering the years 1867 to 1967 should be available by the end of the week.
    3. Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) publications have also been received and are currently being catalogued; they will all be available over the next few months. Carlie Maloney noted that they used to be priced, but now they will be available for free.
    4. Caron Rollins asked what will be integrated into the PDSD collection and what will exist in separate collections. Carlie Maloney said that the INAC publications and the Canada Yearbook will be part of the PDSD collection, while the CGSB standards will have a specialized catalogue and also be integrated into the PDSD collection. The specialized catalogue will hopefully be launched by the fall. Chantal Akeson added that there has been a trend toward making government information freely available. Caron Rollins asked if the standards will include historical standards or just the ones currently enforced. Carlie Maloney replied that they will consist of the ones currently enforced for now, but moving forward, standards that become out-of-date will not be removed.
    5. Graeme Campbell asked whether online access to the standards will disappear. Chantal Akeson said that the PDSD doesn't have access to the historical standards now, but it may in the future be able to act as an intermediary to acquire them from the CGSB and make them available. She is also looking into preparing a communication strategy with CGSB about the new collection to post on Infodep.
    6. Caron Rollins asked about the Privy Council's Royal Commissions digitization project. Carlie Maloney confirmed that they have now been added to the PDSD collection, including all the supporting documentation, and that the project is complete.
  8. Federal Science Library
    1. Chantal Akeson re-introduced the partnership with the Federal Science Library (FSL). Some exploration of this partnership has occurred, and while there was some reorganization at the FSL, she has made new contacts there. She has been speaking with the Public Services Procurement Canada (PSPC) contracting office, asking how to make metadata available to everyone. PSPC is looking for ways people can self-serve, and are also exploring LexBox, making sure the technology is understood and the policy is thoroughly explored. There will be more information to come.
    2. Mary Carroll gave a brief overview of the FSL, a consortium of seven science-based libraries, which launched its public Web portal in early March, and continues to be developed. She said they would appreciate any feedback from users. Chantal Akeson invited the FSL to share the link to their public site on Infodep, which would reach a wide network of librarians. Aspi Balsara asked which libraries were part of the FSL. Mary Carroll said they are from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Health Canada, National Research Council Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Public Health Agency of Canada. The National Science Library still exists separately, as part of the National Research Council.
  9. Annual Statutes update
    1. Julie Couture provided an update on Annual Statutes, which are currently printed every year. The printing format required by the Publication of Statutes Regulations is very complex. In 2016 Justice Canada changed the layout of the Annual Statutes for readability but the new layout is now incompatible with the regulations. The Publication Statutes Regulations need to be repealed in order to continue printing the Annual Statutes. Approval has been obtained by the Minister of Public Services and Procurement to undertake the necessary steps to repeal the Regulations and print the Annual Statutes in the new format. Eventually the Publication of Statutes Act may be modified so that printing will not be required and an electronic publication will suffice. This is an evolving file.
    2. Caron Rollins asked if the new format will take effect in 2016. Julie Couture replied that yes it will, but since Justice Canada doesn't use the old format anymore, they can only be printed once the Publication Statutes Regulations is officially repealed. PDSD expects the Annual Statutes to be printed in January 2018. There was a discussion about the historic value of retaining print copies. It was noted there has not yet been an official consultation process on ceasing the printing of the Annual Statutes. Chantal Akeson noted that while the library community's demands dwindle, the legal community still requires them.
    3. Chantal Akeson added that a “call-out” email will be sent to all parties that have received the printed copies in the past asking if they are interested in continuing to receive them. This email will come late in the year, around October or November, and those interested should respond as soon as possible so that the correct number of copies can be printed. Those who haven't received them before but are interested in doing so should contact PDSD client service and ask to be added to the mailing list.
  10. Events and teleconferences
    1. Catherine McGoveran shared that the University of Ottawa, Carleton University and LAC are collaborating to host the eastern version of Government Information Day, held on October 26, 2017 at LAC. Save the date notices will be sent out towards the end of June.
    2. Caron Rollins shared a useful resource: Help, I'm an Accidental Government Information Librarian series of webinars, put out by the North Carolina Library Association.
  11. Questions
    1. Beth Christianson asked about the status of PDSD's involvement with the GALLOP Portal. Melissa Graham is working with Peter Ellinger. She said there have been some bumps in exporting, but she is working with them to get it back up and running. Chantal Akeson said they will send out an update soon. Melissa Graham added that the PDSD's metadata uses MARC, though both LOCKSS and GALLOP prefer Dublin Core, so some mapping issues have resulted with serial holdings. Both will eventually be in Dublin Core.
    2. Chantal Akeson mentioned that the Library of Congress approached the PDSD, seeking to archive part of its website. A few items still need to be worked out before moving forward. The Library of Congress wants to archive the Browse Serials specifically. She noted that other federal departments have similarly been archived by the Library of Congress. It was suggested by members of the Committee that they may wish to archive the Weekly Acquisitions List (WAL) as well. Chantal Akeson acknowledged that there remains a gap in the digitization of the WAL, which she is interested in filling. Depending on budget constraints, she hopes to address this in the next year or two. Sophie Wei also wanted to clarify that the WAL will be available from the Library of Congress archive because it's a serial holding.
  12. Next meeting.
    1. Julie Couture thanked all participants for a very productive meeting. She indicated that the next meeting would be in the fall of 2017.
Date modified: