Canadian BIBFRAME Readiness Task Force


In 2013, the Library of Congress announced that it would be exploring a linked data successor to the MARC format.  LC contracted the development company Zepheira to produce a linked data schema for encoding bibliographic data. The schema produced through this partnership is the Bibliographic Framework (BIBFRAME), currently in its second iteration, BIBFRAME 2.0. In June 2018, the Library of Congress announced that it would be migrating from MARC to BIBFRAME. This will result in an enormous change that will affect all Canadian libraries.

MARC (Machine Readable Cataloguing) has been the standard encoding scheme used in Canadian libraries since the 1970s and it forms the basis for most Integrated Library Systems (ILS) and Library Service Platforms (LSP). The MARC standard is maintained by the Library of Congress and is governed by the MARC Steering Group, which includes a representative from Library and Archives Canada. The Canadian Committee on Metadata Exchange (CCM) is a member of the MARC Advisory Committee (MAC), which advises the MARC Steering Group on changes to the MARC 21 format. MAC members include national libraries, OCLC, and a number of specialist cataloguing groups representing a broad cross section of the cataloguing community. The core members of CCM are two members representing LAC, two representing CFLA-FCAB and two representing the Fédération des milieux documentaires (FMD).

BIBFRAME remains largely an LC project, but it is expected to be rolled out across the globe in all libraries currently using a MARC-based ILS or LSP. The full implications of this migration are currently unknown, but it will obviously have a major impact on libraries in terms of infrastructure, staffing, and costs. The Canadian role in the development or implementation of BIBFRAME is not yet clear, but it is hoped that LAC and CCM will continue to have a role that mirrors the one currently held in MARC governance.

To help Canadian libraries prepare for the shift to BIBFRAME, the CFLA-FCAB Cataloguing and Metadata Standards Committee/ Comité sur les normes relatives au catalogage et aux métadonnées (CMSC/CNSM) is partnering with FMD (Fédération des milieux documentaires) and Library and Archives Canada to strike the Canadian BIBFRAME Readiness Task Force. The task force will prepare documentation that CMSC/CNSM will use to develop a Canadian BIBFRAME strategy, and present a set of recommendations for education and advocacy that will help Canadian libraries make informed decisions.

Task Force Mandate

The mandate of this taskforce is to produce documentation that:

  • Outlines the impact of migrating from MARC to BIBFRAME on libraries in Canada
  • Assesses the understanding of and readiness for BIBFRAME transition in libraries in Canada
  • Makes recommendations for how CMSC-CNCM and CFLA-FCAB and FMD can support Canadian libraries’ transition to BIBFRAME.

Documentation will include:

  • ​A plain-language description of BIBFRAME and its potential impact on Canadian libraries;
  • A survey of the Canadian library community to gauge the community’s understanding of BIBFRAME;
  • A final report including a list of recommendations for training, education and advocacy that will help Canadian libraries prepare and make informed decisions.

All documentation will be shared with Canadian libraries in English and French.

The BIBFRAME Readiness Task Force is appointed for an initial term to end June 1, 2020, with the understanding that the charge and duration of the group may need to be extended or revised, depending on progress made over the coming year. The task force will commence work in Fall 2018 and will produce a preliminary report in Spring 2019. The final report will be published by May 2020. The task force will provide regular status updates to the CMSC-CNCM.

Task Force Members:


  • Heather Pretty (Chair), Memorial University of Newfoundland (NLA)
  • Ian Bigelow, University of Alberta (CARL)
  • Thomas Brenndorfer, Guelph Public Library (OLA)
  • May Chan, University of Toronto (OLA)
  • Shona Dippie, Edmonton Public Library (LAA)
  • Patrick Rousseau-Trepanier, Bibliothèques de Laval (ABPQ)
  • Dan Scott, Laurentian University (OLA)
  • Dean Seeman, University of Victoria (CARL)
  • Olivier Spéciel, Services Documentaires Multimédia Inc. (ABQLA)
  • Kris Wawrzyniak, Toronto Public Library (OLA)


  • Marie-Chantal L’Ecuyer-Coelho, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec

Library and Archives Canada

  • Andrew Dunnett

Library of Parliament

  • Alexandre Fortier

Questions or Comments?

If you have questions, comments, or are interested in participating in this effort, please contact us!