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​PDL Communique - #1, October 2016

October 4, 2016

“Balancing perfection with agility in both planning and development.”
May 10th PDL Symposium, p. 3

We hope many of you had a relaxing summer and are now back into the swing of everything  that autumn brings. 

On May 10, 2016, more than 100 representatives from the academic, archive, K-12, library,  and museum sectors gathered to engage in conversation about shared aspirations for a Provincial Digital Library (PDL) for British Columbia.  You can find the May 10th report at

But it doesn’t stop there! Following the May symposium, the PDL initiative remains active  and in forward motion.

Making it Happen: Steps taken since the May 10th Symposium

An important discussion regarding a provisional governance structure took place. The original Planning Committee was renamed the PDL Steering Committee and endorsed  to move forward on the PDL initiative. Full Steering Committee membership can be found at

Work is moving forward on several of the identified priorities.

May 10th Priority: Target expansion of Steering Committee membership

The PDL Steering Committee has expanded to include representatives of the broader community,  along with thought leaders and subject matter experts. 

Immediately following the May 10th meeting, the Steering Committee welcomed ….

Christina de Castell
- Director, Collections and Technology at Vancouver Public Library.
Christina is responsible for the library’s print and digital collections, technical services, and IT. She also oversees VPL’s digital services, including and This Vancouver - VPL’s digital destination for sharing Vancouver’s history and local stories.  Christina is involved in provincial, national, and international library organizations on committees related to eBooks, copyright and digital licensing.

Bronwen Sprout
- Head, Digital Programs and Services at University of British Columbia Library.
Bronwen has extensive experience in managing digitization initiatives. She oversees the UBC Library's digitization, digital repository, digital preservation, and scholarly communication activities.  Bronwen is the lead for the BC History Digitization Program run out of the Irving K Barber Learning Centre.

...and most recently two more new members include,

Denise Williams
Executive  Director, First Nations Technology Council
Denise is Coast Salish from Cowichan Tribes on Vancouver Island. She is an advocate for social justice and has spent her career seeking out opportunities to play a role in the advancement of Indigenous sovereignty. She is known for her early involvement and leadership in new and innovative initiatives addressing reconciliation and economic development leveraging technology  and within the technology space. For the past ten years Denise has worked under the mandate of First Nations communities and leadership in British Columbia to address specific capacity building efforts in education and technology. She has worked federally,  provincially and locally with a genuine approach to collaboration and partnership development that builds strong networks capable of moving critical initiatives to the forefront. Denise has an MBA from Simon Fraser University and specializes in social enterprise  business development. 

Max Otte
- Digital Information Strategist for the Government of British Columbia.
Max previously worked as an archivist for the Government  of BC. He is the Vice President (incoming President) of the Archives Association of British Columbia. Max is particularly interested in the question of how to provide access to archives in the digital age and is excited to be involved in the PDL initiative.

There is increased optimism and momentum with this broadened representation from LAM institutions across sectors.

May 10th Priority: To ensure that Steering Committee focuses on the broader strategic decisions, create a smaller committee  to support operational decision-making.

In July, the newly minted Steering Committee met for an in-person strategic direction discussion. As part of these discussions was an offer made by two institutions to donate staff time in kind to  the PDL initiative. The result is our first PDL Admin Team!

The new PDL Admin Team includes:

  • Dan Sifton, Coordinator of Library Automation and Technical Services from Vancouver Island University. Dan is exploring open source platforms suitable for a PDL prototype.
  • Dana McFarland, eResources Librarian from Vancouver Island University, and Caroline Daniels, Systems Librarian from Kwantlen  Polytechnic University are focussed on next steps such as communications, community engagement, and financial sustainability.
  • Anita Cocchia, from BC Electronic Library Network , with her experience in cross sectoral planning, is providing leadership and  administrative support for the Admin Team.  

“I think the Provincial Digital Library has enormous potential to showcase the remarkable and multiple identities of B.C.  Our collaborative  efforts can highlight our past, our present and help us define aspects of our future.  Putting information into the hands of every British Columbian through a seamless, easy to access platform is a really  transformative, unifying and democratizing endeavour,  that moves us from an organizational focus to a greater focus on the public good.  I am pleased that VIU is able to contribute at such an early stage in the PDL development.”  
- Tim Atkinson, University Librarian, Vancouver Island University

What else has the attention of the Admin Team and Steering Committee?

  • Developing a communications framework
  • Developing funding principles and exploring funding opportunities
  • Shaping an invitation for further contributions from stakeholders
  • Engaging further with identified digital libraries with open platforms
  • Investigating the DPLA toolbox
  • Launching a prototype

Guiding Principles

Always at the forefront to any work surrounding the PDL, is the  set of guiding principles  created at the November 4, 2015 meeting, and endorsed at the May 10th, 2016 Symposium.

At the core of these values is the deeply held belief and commitment to the public good.

  • Radical Collaboration – develop partnerships across institutions
  • Action – collaborate to produce tangible outcomes
  • Sustainability – commit to the sustained success of the PDL
  • Stewardship – at all times act responsibly and ethically
  • Coherence – align our efforts with the national developments

Find out more!

You can find more information about the PDL, including past meeting reports and environmental  scans, Steering Committee full membership, and more at