Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

July 26, 1999

U of G library will benefit from $20-million CFI grant

University of Guelph students and faculty will have greater access to electronic research journals, thanks to a $20-million grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to a consortium of 64 Canadian research libraries.

CFI awarded the money from its Institutional Innovation Fund for the Canadian National Site Licensing Project. The project is spearheaded by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), of which U of G is a member. The project will be administered by CARL at its headquarters at the University of Ottawa.

The libraries will use the money to negotiate with journal publishers and vendors to obtain site licences. Rather than continue to purchase individual journal titles in print format, libraries increasingly enter into licence agreements with publishers or vendors to gain access to journal collections via electronic means, a process called site licensing.

The site licences will be for scholarly research journals, mostly in the fields of science, technology and health care, which fall under CFI's mandate. CFI was established by the federal government to strengthen research and technology development at Canada's universities, colleges, hospitals and other non-profit institutions.

"This will make material available from any computer workstation anywhere on or off campus," said Michael Ridley, U of G's chief librarian. "It will provide the full text of the article anytime you want it, and it comes to you -- you don't have to go and get it. Currently, if you are searching for an article in a research journal, you must look it up in the catalogue, then go and find the printed version of the journal on the shelf -- if we even have it."

The project is expected to be up and running by January 2000.

The three-year grant will have multiple benefits, Ridley said. Canada's academic electronic market is relatively small, so the project will give Canadian libraries some badly needed bargaining power, allowing them to negotiate a lower rate from publishers. It also means that Canadian researchers will be more competitive internationally as access to materials becomes both faster and broader.

The grant is expected to cover about 40 per cent of the project's cost. The rest will come from other partners and the participating institutions. Ontario's academic libraries spend more than $60 million a year on journals, and nearly $20 million nationwide. CFI's $20-million grant is a start, Ridley said, adding that the hope is to eventually broaden site licensing to include more disciplines.

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