Logo for Borealis, The Canadian Dataverse Repository

Borealis, the Canadian Dataverse Repository, is a bilingual, multidisciplinary, secure, Canadian research data repository, supported by academic libraries and research institutions across Canada. Borealis supports open discovery, management, sharing, and preservation of Canadian research data. Dataverse is an open-source repository software developed by the Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences (IQSS) at Harvard University, with contributors and adopters across Canada and the world.

This guide explains how to use Borealis to deposit, explore, and download research data for storage, sharing, and reuse.

Bilingual Interface

The Borealis interface is available in both English and French. However, user-uploaded content (files, metadata) may be in any language.

Getting Help

Please refer to the Support & Additional Resources section at the end of this guide for information on how to obtain support for using Borealis.

What is a Collection?

A Collection (also known as a “Dataverse collection”) is a container for one or more datasets or collections. Each institution in Borealis has an Institutional collection that may contain other sub-collections and datasets.

A diagram showing the container structure of a collection.

What is a Dataset?

A Dataset is a container for a particular set of research data, documentation, and/or code, often relating to a particular study or research output. Datasets have metadata to provide contextual information about the dataset and facilitate its discovery. The repository accepts all types of file formats, including tabular, text, and image files.

A diagram showing the types of files that may be contained in a dataset.

The Demo Repository

In addition to the Production version of Borealis, the Demo version is designed for users to try out the platform and its functionality without worrying about making mistakes. Accounts created in the Demo repository will not be available on the Production” repository (and vice versa).

User Interface

The top portion of the interface for Borealis includes:

  • The title for the repository, which is also a link that will return the user to the splash page.
  • The main menu which includes links to a Search function (for the entire repository), the User Guide, the Support contact window, the interface language toggle, and the Log In screen.
    • Once a user is logged into the repository, the Log In link will be replaced by their username and a drop-down menu to manage their account.
  • A light blue box with a link to the Demo repository.
  • A link to Metrics reports for Borealis, including the current number of file downloads.
  • A link to the support Contact window.
  • A Share link that can be used to share the Borealis repository on social media.
  • A horizontal scrolling list of Institutional Collections.
  • A second Search function, limited to searching only within the collection currently being displayed.
  • A link to the Advanced Search page.

The top half of Borealis, showing the main menu and the list of institutional collections.

In the middle of the page are two lists: on the left, a list of filters or facets that can be used to search for specific metadata within the repository; and on the right, a list of all published (publicly accessible) collections and datasets sorted (by default) from the newest to the oldest. There is also a Sort button that will allow the user to change the way the collection/dataset list is sorted (alphabetically, oldest to newest, etc.).

The filters or facets on the left side are set to include the default metadata fields. These same filters/facets will be displayed for all collections in the repository, unless the administrator for that collection has changed them.

When a user is logged into the repository, the list of collections and datasets will include those that are unpublished (or in draft format) that the user has access to.

Below the list of collections and datasets are links to advance to the next (or previous) page.

The bottom half of Borealis, showing the current version of the software.

At the bottom of every page within Borealis is the Dataverse Project logo and the version number of the software currently in use.


Published September 2022
Dataverse Project v5.8.3-SP