May 27, 2022

Library and Archives Canada Moving National Union Catalogue to WorldCat, Other Services to WMS

Background: The original proposal from Library and Archives Canada to move to WorldCat/WMS was made three years ago (April 2, 2014). Here are several infoDOCKET posts from that time.

Announcements and Info from OCLC & Library and Archives Canada

From OCLC (April 13, 2017):

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has entered into an agreement with OCLC to use OCLC WorldShare Management Services as its library services platform and move its National Union Catalogue to WorldCat.


OCLC was awarded the contract following a Government of Canada public procurement process. OCLC was determined to be the only organization that was able to meet all of LAC’s requirements.


Under this agreement, current union catalogue data will be loaded and maintained in WorldCat, the most comprehensive union catalogue that currently represents the collections of hundreds of Canadian libraries and thousands of libraries around the world.

[Our emphasis] A subset of WorldCat will be created to produce a Canadian view of the catalogue, and a link to this subset will be available on the LAC website.

There are currently more than 122 million holdings from Canadian libraries represented in WorldCat, and as many as 10 million unique items are held by Canadian libraries.

More Canadian libraries will be able to join OCLC to take full advantage of services offered. Many Canadian libraries already subscribe to OCLC interlibrary loan and copy cataloging services. LAC’s transition to OCLC will not affect these libraries. As a provision of the agreement, LAC will support small public libraries and small libraries at post-secondary institutions.


As part of the unique features OCLC will offer to LAC, OCLC will continue maintaining the LAC French-language name authority file using WMS. Once these authority records are migrated to the WMS platform and WorldCat, LAC will use WorldShare metadata management applications to create and update French name authorities. LAC French-language authority data will be integrated into OCLC’s cataloging services and continue to be freely accessible through the Virtual International Authority File.

More From Library and Archives Canada Announcement

LAC’s current system is outdated and no longer adequately meets the needs of Canadians. Following an in-depth analysis and consultations with key stakeholders in the Canadian library community, LAC concluded that it would be less costly to acquire these services than to build and maintain an in-house system.

[Our emphasis] The total cost of initial and mandatory services for the first five years, including applicable taxes, is $4.47 million.

This system will be less costly for LAC over time than the current outdated one. In addition, users will have access to state-of-the-art services.

OCLC will replace LAC’s 20-year-old library management system, called AMICUS, which is currently used to manage published materials held at LAC, and to support discovery of holdings located in hundreds of libraries across Canada. LAC’s current system includes the National Union Catalogue, made up of bibliographic descriptions and location information for these resources. It covers all subject areas and formats including printed books, computer files, sound recordings, videos, maps, microforms, newspapers, and works in large print and Braille.

[Our emphasis] Implementation of LAC’s new library management system will take place over the next 24 months.

LAC will continue to serve its clients using AMICUS while the new service is implemented. Once the OCLC system is fully operational in 2018, AMICUS services will be discontinued.

Read the Complete OCLC Announcement
Includes comments by Guy Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist of Canada & Skip Prichard, OCLC President and CEO.

Read the Complete Library and Archives Canada Announcement and FAQs

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.