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Paul Whitney (Chair)
Pam Armstrong, Manager, Digital Repository Services and Standards Office, LAC
Sean Berrigan, Director General, Strategic Office, LAC
Gillian Cantello, A/Director General, Published Heritage, LAC
Carole Julian, A/Manager, Database Networks, LAC
Craig Riggs, Turner-Riggs
Mary Frances Laughton, Industry Canada
Carmelita Olivotto, Human Resources and Social Development Canada
Catherine Moore, CNIB
Ralph Manning (Secretary)
Sean. Berrigan brought regrets from Ian E. Wilson, Librarian and Archivist of Canada who was unable to attend the meeting due to a prior commitment in Vancouver. He then opened the meeting by welcoming the members and guests to the eleventh meeting of the Council. He particularly welcomed the newest members of the Council, Constance Forest, John Tooth and returning member Joby Fleming. He also expressed the appreciation of Library and Archives Canada for the advice and support of the Council.
S. Berrigan announced the event that would be held on the following day to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the 200th anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille, and the progress being made by the Initiative for Equitable Library Access.
The meeting’s Draft Agenda was approved by consensus, having noted that the date of the last meeting was in fact February 20, 2008 and that Trisha Lucy would be providing the Electronic Clearinghouse update.
The minutes of the tenth meeting (Feb 20, 2008) were approved with minor changes. They will be amended on the Council website.
Ralf Manning provided an update on IELA. He explained that Mary Frances Laughton had been Manager of the Initiative while on a secondment to LAC from Industry Canada. When R. Manning returned to work, he and Ms. Laughton became co-managers until the completion of her secondment at the end of October 2008. Trisha Lucy and Chanel Blanchard have been the Project Officers and Karine Desjardins provides administrative support. He expressed his gratitude to the entire Team for their support and hard work.
One of the key aspects of the IELA mandate is to ensure appropriate and ongoing consultations with stakeholders. Consultations have been held with the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians, Learning Disabilities Association of Canada and CNIB. In addition, discussions have been ongoing with the Association nationale des éditeurs de livres, the Canadian Publishers Council, and library assocations. The IELA Team visited Bibliothèque et archives nationale du Québec and also undertook a series of library consultations in the late summer. When written reports of these consultations are available, they are being posted on the IELA website.
One of IELA’s key deliverables is the electronic clearinghouse for multiple format materials. A separate report on this project will be given at the next agenda item.
Another major deliverable is the development of library service standards and training and advocacy materials. A considerable amount of work on this deliverable has been done and IELA is now giving consideration to possible outcomes including the development of a web-based resource/toolkit that will provide detailed guidelines to libraries on providing equitable library service to readers with print disabilities. A formal training package will also be developed and provided online. A pre-conference workshop on library accessibility will be delivered by IELA at the May 2009 conference of the Canadian Library Association.
A survey of public libraries was completed in the summer to gain a better understanding of the level of service currently being offered by public libraries to people with print disabilities. We expect to publish a brief report of the findings of that survey which resulted in responses from all provinces and territories. M.F. Laughton noted that the libraries responding to the survey represented a service population of over 7 million Canadians. She noted that the survey demonstrated that larger libraries tend to provide more varied services and she was pleased to note that Internet access was universal in the libraries that responded. The survey also generated some interest in the CNIB VISUNET Partners Program.
A background study on the Library Book Rate and the Literature for the Blind program has recently been completed and a major study on audio and digital publishing in Canada will be available on the IELA website in January.
IELA is continuing to work on a strategy for implementing nationwide partnerships, activities and services to meet the long-term library and information access needs of Canadians with print disabilities and will be consulting with the Minister of Canadian Heritage and other government agencies in the new year.
Trisha Lucy reported that IELA has been working to improve the Clearinghouse from a basic form to an e-business solution. The Clearinghouse aims to provide publishers and producers with a more user-friendly interface which would incorporate new features to further reduce time delays and costs for both the publisher and the producer. The application will have separate modules which will allow them to customize the application to their needs and preferences. These new features could include client management systems, statistical data, reporting and a request management system.
The Clearinghouse is supported by the major publishers and multiple format producers in Canada. IELA has also been working with the Canadian Publishers Council (CPC) and the Association nationale des éditeurs de livres (ANEL) to encourage more publishers to join the initiative. The standard licence agreement between publishers and producers has been reviewed and updated to better reflect the interests of both these key groups.
Craig Riggs joined the Council to discuss the report that his firm, Turner-Riggs, had recently completed under contract to IELA. IELA will be making the full report available in January in English and French on its website. He noted that this report is the third report that he has completed on this topic, the first two covering the Retail industry in Canada and Book distribution in Canada. The latest report for IELA, titled Audiobook and Digital Publishing in Canada, deals with mainstream publishing as well as publishing specifically for persons with print disabilities both in the English and French markets. Some of the highlights of his presentation included:
Paul Whitney stated that the greatest fear for authors is obscurity, not privacy, and that public demand and consumer push-back to DRM will be our trump card for rolling out access. He also noted that the demand in public libraries for eBooks is relatively small, but that the demand for audiobooks is growing. He also noted that public libraries have a responsibility to raise community awareness about the availability of eBooks.
Constance Forêt pointed out that sometimes authors are unaware of the needs of people with disabilities. Standardization and education are important issues. She also noted that there is a need for further collaboration between English and French publishers as well as between the commercial and non-commercial sectors.
In conclusion, C. Riggs recommended that a clear xml-based file format with common provisions for digital rights be developed.
Pam Armstrong, Manager of the Digital Repository Services and Standards Office at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) presented an overview of the Trusted Digital Repository (TDR) Project. LAC has launched a multi-year project to develop a digital preservation infrastructure to accommodate electronic publications acquired through legal deposit and government digital records acquired as archival records. Based on the ISO standard, Open Archival Information System Reference Model, and the attributes of a Trusted Digital Repository, the project will deliver functionality related to acquisition, ingest, metadata management, archival storage, preservation and access for Canada's digital documentary heritage. Pam also discussed the Web Archiving program at LAC and the Government of Canada Web Archive, found on the LAC website at: www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/webarchives/index-e.html
Anne Hepplewhite responded to the various reports being given by noting that Canadian archives and other cultural institutions require the same training as do librarians in serving clients with print disabilities. She observed that the timing could be right for this since funding for the National Archives Development Program (NADP) is now in the 4th year of its 5-year cycle. S. Berrigan noted that LAC will keep this in mind as plans for the NADP progress.
Paul Whitney informed the Council that he had written a letter on its behalf to Doug Rimmer, Assistant Deputy Minister, Programs and Services Sector at LAC in response to the Discussion Paper on the Development of the Service Strategy by LAC Services Branch. In his letter he offered some suggestions regarding the inclusion of services to people with disabilities. Mr. Rimmer responded by assuring him that the next version of the document would take these concerns into account and noting that LAC is very conscious of its responsibilities in serving Canadians with disabilities.
Carole Julien, newly appointed Manager of Database Networks at LAC, expressed her pleasure at being invited to the meeting and assured the Council of her commitment to maintain contact.
Carmelita Olivotto, representing Human Resources and Social Development Canada explained that she is involved in policy development to remove barriers in the federal domain, particularly in areas related to procurement and the built environment.
Margaret McGrory noted that the CNIB Library is now fully digital and is moving to a “Daisy on Demand” service. The Library is currently distributing about 5,000 CDs per day across Canada. CNIB would like to move to a fully electronic service, eliminating the need to distribute physical materials. One of the requirements to allow this to happen is an Internet Accessible Player which facilitates the use of electronic files for people with print disabilities, particularly seniors. She also informed the Council about the Global Library Initiative, a joint group of the IFLA Section on Libraries for the Blind and the Daisy Consortium. The four working groups are: discovery and access, shared collection development and exchange, business model for the global library and partnership development. She emphasized that the word “access” in the title of the first working group implies that intellectual property rights information must be made known.
Catherine Moore informed the Council that CNIB and many other national disability organizations had recently participated in discussions at CRTC dealing with the virtual world including barriers to accessibility, issues of broadband availability and interoperability. M.F. Laughton added that she will be preparing a detailed report on these hearings and will make her report available to the Council. C. Moore also noted the recent discussions at WIPO and the draft treaty on international copyright.
Joby Fleming explained that he would be working closely with LDAC to develop factsheets for users on how to access library service. He has been visiting libraries to understand first-hand how they deal with people with learning disabilities and he commended Ottawa Public Library on its service. He noted that many libraries require clients with disabilities to complete forms, including medical certification, in order to get audiobook library service and this presents a systemic barrier to equitable access. He stressed that self-identification should be enough. It was noted that RFB& D, which was an early concern of the Council, continues to have cross-border challenges and at the present time also have financial concerns.
Jacques Côté explained the role that Braille Jymico has been playing in the World Blind Union and the work being done to develop the Unified English Braille Code. He explained that Braille Jymico dealt primarily with textbooks in the area of science and mathematics. There is a strong need for the development of standards in the description of graphics. He noted that Braille is being used less frequently in favour of audiobooks or electronic materials. He also commended libraries for the extraordinary role that they play.
SharlynAyotte has been working on alternative format standards for the Province of Ontario Information and Communication Standard, which is undergoing a review period. She will send information to enable the Council to develop comments.
Constance Forêt noted that Quebec publishers as a whole need to do more work on accessibility but that the university publishing sector is fairly advanced in this area.
Andrè Vincent spoke about the services being offered by Bibliothèque et archives Nationales du Québec. He explained that the SQLA portal had been enriched and that a number of reference materials were now available for consultation. BAnQ is diversifying its services, notably for the deaf and intellectually disabled communities. Training programs have been developed for front-line library staff. A communications plan for services to people with disabilities has been developed.
Neil Graham asked about the status of Bookshare in Canada. M.F. Laughton replied that she owned the rights to the domain name Bookshare.ca and that she would release the domain to the managers of Bookshare.com. She hoped that news on this front would be forthcoming in the near future.
John Tooth expressed his pleasure on being appointed to the Council. He noted that CAER had processed an large number of interlibrary loans resulting in major savings--$250,000 in Manitoba alone. He also mentioned that CAER had withdrawn its membership in BANA due to the high costs but that CAER would still cooperate with them. The next meeting of CAER will take place on April 29-30 in Alberta, and one of the main agenda items will be codification of the ILL process.
Paul Whitney spoke briefly to the copyright issue, noting that the Canadian Library Association Copyright Committee had submitted a response to Bill C-61, which has now died on the order paper. He noted that the Bill included undue constraints on clients with print disabilities due to the difficulties in bypassing the effects of Technological Protection Measures. It remains to be seen whether the new government will reintroduce the same legislation. He also explained that the recent U.S. agreement between Google and the Authors Guild had not yet been fully assessed and the impact on Canada was not known. He expressed the need for vigilance to ensure that issues related to print disabilities remain at the forefront and encouraged LAC, CNIB and others to continue playing a leadership role.
M.F. Laughton explained that the Assistive Devices Industry Office would shortly be disbanded. The Business Development Office would then have responsibility for outstanding issues related to assistive devices. She also pointed out that the Canadian Library Association Working Group on IELA continues to be active and that she has recently been appointed to that group. She has a specific responsibility to provide period updates to the membership of the Canadian Library Association.
R. Manning reinforced the commitment of the IELA Team and the LAC management to the IELA file.
P. Whitney expressed the appreciation of the Council to M.F. Laughton and R. Manning who had provided exceptional support to the Council for many years. Each of them will be retiring in the next few weeks.