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ARCHIVED - The Council on Access to Information for Print-Disabled Canadians

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Minutes of Meeting Held on
February 15, 2008
Ottawa Ontario


Members:

Present
Sharlyn Ayotte for Jacques Côté
Neil Graham
Anne Hepplewhite
Jacqueline Hushion
Margaret McGrory
Donna Pletz Passey
André Vincent
Paul Whitney (Chair)

Regrets
Jacques Côté
Joby Fleming

Guests
Sean Berrigan, Director General, Strategic Office, Library and Archives Canada
Peter Bruce, Director General, Information Technologies Branch, Library and Archives Canada

Policy Advisors:

Present
Gilles Monvoison for Carmelita Olivotto , Human Resources and Social Development Canada
Julie Larocque, Canadian Heritage
Catherine Moore, CNIB

Secretariat
Chanel Blanchard, Library and Archives Canada
Mary Frances Laughton, Library and Archives Canada (Secretary)
Trisha Lucy, Library and Archives Canada
Ralph Manning, Library and Archives Canada

Welcome

Sean Berrigan welcomed the Council to its tenth meeting with thanks for continued support. He spoke about the fact that it had been some period of time since the last meeting, but that lots had been happening in the interim. He stressed that the Council is in place to provide advice on all issues within the mandate of Library and Archives Canada not just on the Initiative for Equitable Library Access. He welcomed the new members and expressed pleasure that the archives community is now represented on the Council. He also expressed delight in having Ralph Manning back to work.

The meeting's Draft Agenda was approved by consensus. The minutes of the ninth posted on the Council website.

Sharlyn Ayotte asked if the Council endorsement of "Opening the Book" was done before or after the comments that were submitted by the Multiple Format Industry Association, as only one of the recommendations were acted upon. The Council endorsed the document after having reviewed all comments submitted.

ARCHIVED - Initiative for Equitable Library Access (IELA)

Mary Frances Laughton reviewed the ARCHIVED - IELA workplan. There followed a Q&A session. There was some detailed discussion about the work underway on the Electronic Clearinghouse. A successful consultation was held with publishers and some producers early in February to discuss issues regarding the revision of the standard agreement. The report of that meeting with recommendations will be available shortly and the agreement will be revised accordingly. Issues which were discussed included the removal of some accusatory language, recognition of the cross boundary issues, the development of trusted intermediaries and the activities happening in the US.

André asked if IELA will continue to solicit the participation of French language publishers and if the team would be consulting with L'Association nationale des éditeurs de livres (ANEL). M.F. Laughton responded that it is a priority to encourage participation of French language publishers and that ANEL and ASTED will definitely be consulted. S. Ayotte stated that private sector companies should have the opportunity to participate with non-profit suppliers in the Clearinghouse. Margaret McGrory suggested that efforts to solicit the participation of more Trade publishers should be made.

Cathy Moore suggested that both the Canadian Council of the Blind and the Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) be included in the consultation plans. M.F. Laughton stated that IELA staff had already met with the CCD membership and will be including both organizations in future consultations.

M. McGrory asked for clarification on the relationship between IELA and the CLA/Community endorsed "Opening the Book". M.F. Laughton stated that "Opening the Book" would be one of the foundation documents in the work of IELA, but that it could not be "the" strategy since the IELA strategy can only work in the area of federal jurisdiction. She went on to state that work would be initiated to develop a federal/provincial/territorial (FPT) plan to address those issues that are outside the federal jurisdiction. C. Moore expressed the critical importance for IELA to concentrate on the FPT planning and implored LAC to assume its leadership role in the context of building a equitable system in Canada.

M. McGrory asked if any IELA funds would be used for the actual production of materials in multiple formats. The answer was no but that funding for multiple format production would be part of the costing exercise that will be included in the advice to the Government..

S. Ayotte asked what the costing models for libraries would encompass, and if the purchase of commercial audio reading materials would be promoted. M.F. Laughton responded that IELA would be looking at costing assistive technology equipment for library branches and staff training. The acquisition of commercial audio materials will be encouraged as a way of improving access to materials in multiple formats.

Neil Graham asked about the scoping in the development of the IELA strategy and how current digital technology trends will influence the strategy. Various scenarios will be developed and research on trends will inform the strategy.

Questions were asked about the relationship between the Council, IELA and the Canadian Digital Information Strategy (CDIS). All activities are managed from the LAC Strategic Office and there is a crossover in the personnel and the planning, so accessibility issues will be addressed. Two Council members, P. Whitney and M. McGrory, were part of the CDIS Strategy Development Committee and the Council submitted a formal response to the draft strategy at: www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/cdis/012033-1050.25-e.html

Anne Hepplewhite spoke about the relationship between the Council and the archives community. What is being digitized, what are the Intellectual Property issues and what are the jurisdictional issues? She also asked about finding aids, ATIP requests and non published material. Answer: This is one of the issues which the IELA team will field on behalf of LAC. CDIS is working with LAC's Intellectual Management Office

D. Pletz Passey asked about the development of standards. All the standards efforts will involve the collection and utilization of existing standards and the development of those standards where there is a gap. The standards will be both technical and service related.

Terms of Reference and Council Membership

The Terms of Reference for the Council were discussed. The final Terms are posted on the Council website at: www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/accessinfo/005003-2300-e.html

Suggestions for additional representatives on the Council were:

  • Seniors
  • Commercial producers
  • Representation from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business
  • Trade publishers
  • Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC)

Suggestions for new Council members should be submitted to M.F. Laughton before the end of March. We need to keep in mind that we want to keep a consistency and continuity in the Council membership and to be visibly involved. M.F.Laughton also mentioned the need to keep a linguistic and geographic balance in the Council membership.

Copyright Update

The bill has not been tabled. There is discussion between the two responsible departments on when it should be tabled. There is pressure being brought by the community. When the act is tabled, it will be important for the Council to review it especially with a view of the technology protection measures and their possible unintended consequences.

Outside the revision of the act, there are a lot of copyright activities. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has released a report on exceptions. Canada is quite different from other nations in its inclusion of those with learning disabilities in its exemptions in addition to exemptions for the blind which is more common in national legislation.

S. Ayotte stated that the in the view of her industry, the Section 32 exemption is a negative thing. In a mainstream world there would be no need for exceptions and N. Graham agreed as technology is addressing these issues. She stated that if there are exceptions that they should be expanded to the private sector. P. Whitney responded that special cases and exceptions are fundamental underpinnings of the act and that it was unlikely that there would be any mention of Section 32 in this revision.

Mention was made of a Study Group on Section 108 of the US Copyright Act (www.loc.gov/section108/mission.html). The purpose of the Section 108 Study Group is to conduct a re-examination of the exceptions and limitations applicable to libraries and archives under the Copyright Act, specifically in light of the changes wrought by digital media. The group will study how Section 108 of the Copyright Act may need to be amended to address the relevant issues and concerns of libraries and archives, as well as creators and other copyright holders. The group will provide findings and recommendations on how to revise the copyright law in order to ensure an appropriate balance among the interests of creators and other copyright holders, libraries and archives in a manner that best serves the national interest.

Canada Project

A presentation was given by Peter Bruce, the Director General of the Information Technology Branch of LAC.

The goal of the Canada Project is to make all Canadian knowledge accessible to all Canadians. The Canada Project is the first initiative of CDIS. CDIS is the umbrella under which it operations. The Canada Project is a multi-partner initiative in which LAC is one partner. Business, government, and academic organizations are partnering to mobilize and digitize the accumulated knowledge of the nation.

In January 2007, Legal Deposit was changed to require that one copy of any digital publication must be submitted to LAC. The LAC Virtual Loading Dock will be tested this year with Queens University Press.

The amount of Canadian digital content available should be proportional to our geography and not to our population.

N. Graham commented that digitization must preserve the text not just be an image. P. Bruce agreed and noted that this is also essential for searching.

S. Ayotte asked about the standards being used in the digitization and commented that perhaps there is a ned for multiple standards.

The IELA team will provide text for P. Bruce to incorporate in the Guiding Principles slide that will reflect the access issues for Canadians with print disabilities.

Donna Pletz Passey suggested that the Council of Education Minister of Canada should be involved in the planning of the Canada Project and that concern might be paid to the educational producers as well.

P. Bruce suggested that access for Canadians with print disabilities should move from an unintended consequence of the Canada Project to be a planned action. The Council all supported this notion.

Member Updates

M. McGrory spoke about the CNIB Library. It is now fully digital with no analog circulation. Funding is still a major concern. They will be moving to an on-demand service in April with CDs created on request. The DAISY Board is meeting along with the IFLA Section for the Blind (SFB) in Zagreb in late February. This is a follow-from the Redmond meeting on the GlobalLibrary for the Blind and will include significant discussions on copyright. There are now more than 600 Visunet service points in public libraries and other agencies across Canada. Print disabled patrons of these libraries have online access to the CNIB Library's collection as well as some deposit collections. Training of staff is one of the Visunet services. There will not be a satellite meeting of the IFLA SFB in conjuction with the Quebec City IFLA meeting. There will however be a general session on accessibility which is being organized by Helen Brazier.

N. Graham asked what the status of the Unified English Braille (UEB) code is in the CNIB. CNIB strongly supports and enforces UEB and is using it internally, but is not yet being used in their mainstream services. CNIB is also developing a Braille on-demand service for next year.

S. Ayotte expressed her pleasure at being at the meeting. She spoke about the acquisition of Audible.com by Amazon and the difference this would make to the availability of talking books.

D. Pletz Passey stated that Canadian Association of Educational Resource Centres for Alternate Formats (CAER) is now a member of the Braille Authority of North America (BANA) which is the only body that can make changes in the Braille code. The next annual CAER meeting will be in conjunction with Canadian Library Association conference in Vancouver in May. There are a number of digital repositories established in the CAER network, one in BC, one in Alberta and planning for one in Ontario. There is some restructuring going on in Manitoba.

André Vincent spoke about the restructuring ongoing in Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) with his being name chief of the unit in support of users with print disabilities. The change in June has given the unit more visibility. The action plan being developed will allow those with a learning disability to be served by BAnQ. The conversion of analog to digital is underway but they are still loaning analog materials. Work on a portal is ongoing. Workstations for wheelchair users are being implemented. BAnQ adopted the Unified French Braille in December. Digital book readers are available from the Government of Quebec to users who are blind but not to those with a learning disability.

When asked about services to francophones outside Quebec, A.Vincent replied that talks were ongoing with CNIB.

P. Whitney talked about the production of audio books by Interlink. 90 titles were created in 2007 with a 2008 budget available for 60 titles. 2008 will be the last year of analog production. These funds are coming from library budgets.

Paul closed the meeting by thanking Chanel Blanchard and Trisha Lucy for their meeting organization and expressing thanks to the translators and the technician. He closed the meeting by reminding the members to stay tuned on the copyright issue. The next Council meeting will be held in Winter 2008/2009.