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Concordia and university libraries across Quebec partner to offer access to their shared catalogue and data

3 new online platforms allow faculty and students to browse resources from 18 different institutions
November 4, 2019
By Alexander Hackett

The Bureau de Coopération Interuniversitaire has announced a new partnership between Quebec university libraries that will provide access to a unified catalogue of more than 20 million documents from 18 different institutions.

Formally unveiled on October 11, the Partenariat des bibliothèques universitaires québécoises creates three new digital platforms that will allow faculty and students to access academic materials from across the province in both French and English. The program was financed with $10.4 million from the Ministère de l'Éducation et Enseignement supérieur and resources from the 18 Quebec universities.

"We started working on a strategic plan for the network about four years ago," says Guylaine Beaudry, Concordia's university librarian and vice-provost of digital strategy.

"Instead of developing services individually in every university, we decided to work together for the next phase of academic libraries in Quebec. We've always had a high level of inter-institutional collaboration and that's something we want to continue."

All of the province's universities are joining the new system, including the Montreal-based universities very often used by the Concordia community: McGill, Université de Montréal and Université du Québec à Montréal. A complete list of the universities is available on the new website of the Partnenariat des bibliothèques universitaires québécoises.

Wider access and more services

The three different platforms will each serve a specific purpose.  

At the heart of the system is the Shared Services Platform (SSP), a consolidated interface and database that will allow students to search all of the materials in the 18 collections more quickly, from wherever they are.

"Right now there are ways of finding the material you want, of course, but this system will make it much easier and save you a lot of time," Beaudry explains.

The Géoindex platform is a collection of geospatial datasets, including topographical maps and aerial photos from both past and present.

"Up until a few years ago you had to pay for this data," she notes. "One of Concordia's contributions to the partnership was to be involved in the discussion with the Ministère de l'Énergie et des Ressources naturelles that led to a new agreement now providing free access to all Quebec university communities to most of the data produced by the Quebec governement."

And finally there is the Dataverse, a free repository software for the dissemination and preservation of small- to medium-size data sets for all disciplines.

Géoindex and Dataverse are currently up and running. The SSP platform, which has yet to be branded, will go live in June 2020.

In the months leading up to the launch of the SSP platform, Concordia Library will be communicating with members of the Concordia community about the project and this information will be available on our website.

"It's a big change for everyone, but it will be really beneficial," Beaudry adds. "With these three platforms, Quebec academic libraries are working in collaboration like never before for the benefit of their users. We are embracing digital culture to offer services that meet their expectations and needs."

Find out more about the services available at Concordia Library.



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