September 2022

Scholars Portal Newsletter

In This Issue:

Confused by an acronym? Check out the OCUL Acronym Glossary. If there’s something we’re missing, you can email to suggest an addition!


What’s New at Scholars Portal?

  • Join us in welcoming Nana Boateng as our new front-end developer and Hafsah Hujaleh to our Data Services Team! Hafsah is an Early Career Resident in digital preservation, at the University of Toronto Libraries and will be joining the Scholars Portal Data Services Team for the 2022-23 academic year to assist with the ODESI migration project.
  • More staffing news: Carlos MacGregor, formerly in a DevOps position on the Systems team, has moved into a vacant Senior Systems Administrator position, and Mohana Sarmiento, formerly a programmer/analyst for the OLRC, has moved into Carlos’s former role. In addition to her role as Distinctive Collections Librarian at Scholars Portal, Ravit David has been appointed as a Visiting Program Officer for Copyright at CARL.
  • In June, we transitioned Scholars Portal Dataverse to its new identity: Borealis, the Canadian Dataverse Repository / le dépôt Dataverse canadien. The new name evokes connections to the Canadian landscape and reflects the growth to a national service, now used by more than 60 academic libraries and research institutions across Canada.
  • Join us on October 27 at 1:00pm for the Scholars Portal Fall Update Webinar! This one-hour webinar will discuss what’s new and what’s upcoming with Scholars Portal services, including a demo of text & data mining functionality on the Scholars Portal Journals platform, an update on accessible books, and more!
  • The ODESI team has begun testing for the migration of datasets from the Nesstar repository to an ODESI collection in the Dataverse service. While the back-end repository is changing, the ODESI search site at will remain operational, minimizing any disruption for users. Keep an eye out for a webinar about the migration this fall, and a test site in winter 2023.
  • The University of Victoria and the University of Alberta have joined the Ontario Library Research Cloud (OLRC) as new subscribers, officially extending the OLRC’s reach from coast to coast. The other subscribers from outside Ontario are Concordia University and St. Francis Xavier University.
  • The Permafrost team released a new guide to user-submitted metadata in Archivematica. Jenna Lemay will also be hosting a related webinar on descriptive metadata on September 21 at 1:00 pm (tomorrow!). The webinar will cover the new guide, including working with CSV files and how to avoid and/or fix errors.
  • Ask a Librarian opened for the fall semester on Tuesday, September 6, with fall hours: Monday-Thursday 10-10, Friday 10-5, and weekends 12-6. The fall schedule will run until Friday, December 9, with a closure on Monday, October 10 for Thanksgiving.


New Content

New on Scholars Portal Journals:

  • Emerald Journals: The full archive of Emerald’s eJournals are now available on Scholars Portal Journals from 1994 to April 2022 and we’re working to set up ongoing loading of new content going forward.
  • Ongoing loading continues for our existing publishers. On average, we add 60,000 articles per week to the Journals platform.

New on Scholars Portal Books:

  • Springer 2022 subject collections have finally arrived! These have been sent to Ex Libris as Alma Community Zone collections, but they may not appear for a little while. If you’re interested in tracking this progress, our list of existing Scholars Portal Alma collections also includes a tab for collections we’ve asked Ex Libris to create for us.
  • We continue to receive a large volume of content from De Gruyter as part of the CRKN deal – but we’re still very low on 2022 content. Other years are starting to be sent to Ex Libris as Alma Community Zone collections, but they may not appear for a little while.
  • Pont Casse Press: Thanks to a partnership with UTL, Pont Casse Press, a small publisher that specializes in publishing books about Dominica, has agreed to make the entirety of their backlist available as open ebooks. This collection is now available on the Books platform and will soon be in Alma.

New geospatial datasets in Scholars GeoPortal:

  • Central Ontario Orthophotography (COOP): 2021 data provided by Land Information Ontario is now available on GeoPortal as compressed GeoTIFF files. The high-resolution imagery was captured in the spring of 2021. It covers an area of approximately 49,540 square kilometres, including Timmins, Temiskaming Shores, Greater Sudbury, Elliot Lake, North Bay, Lake Nipissing, and Manitoulin Island.
  • Historical National Topographic System Maps: In August, CRKN announced the addition of 22,000 digitized maps from the McGill University Library to the Canadiana portal. These maps are also being georeferenced by the University of Toronto’s Map & Data Library with support from Compute Ontario. Once georeferenced, the maps are being added to Borealis and to the GeoPortal, where users can interact with them both as visual maps and as rich geospatial datasets, enabling in-depth geospatial research and facilitating historical comparisons. The new collection complements our existing collection of Ontario maps from the same series.
  • City of London orthophoto imagery for 2020 and 2021. The City of London Digital Mapping Data Distribution dataset contains very detailed high-resolution orthoimages of the City of London.

New surveys in ODESI:

  • Democracy Checkup, 2019: An online survey of Canadians conducted by C-Dem that addresses urgent questions about political engagement, underrepresentation, levels of government, and the evolution of public opinion between and across elections.
  • Canadian Internet Use Survey (CIUS) 2020: A survey examining Internet access and use, the use of Internet-connected smart devices and smartphones, social connections in the digital age, the use of government online services, e-commerce, digital skills, security, privacy and the confidence Canadians place on digital technologies, online work and the changes in use of digital tech as a result of COVID-19.
  • Homicide Survey 1960 to 2020: This survey collects detailed data on homicide in Canada. The survey has collected police-reported data on the characteristics of all murder incidents, victims and accused persons since 1961 and all homicides (including murder, manslaughter and infanticide) since 1974.
  • Survey on Early Learning and Child Care Arrangements, 2020: The survey, which addresses child care in Canada for children younger than 6 years old, asks about the different types of early learning and child care arrangements that families use, difficulties some families may face when looking for care, as well as reasons for not using child care. The survey will also cover the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on child care.


Spotlight: Improving Discovery of Canadian Census Data, Pre-Confederation to Today

The spotlight is an opportunity for members of the OCUL community to share how Scholars Portal services fit into their work. This edition’s spotlight was contributed by members of the Canadian Census Data Discovery Project.

The Canadian Census Data Discovery Project is a two-year project to improve access to and research conditions for existing qualitative, quantitative and spatial data sources from the population censuses of Canada. The project’s vision is to build a Canadian Census Discovery Portal that will be an openly available platform for discovery and access to Canadian census data. Within the scope of the project, our aim is to create a comprehensive inventory of born-print publications, digital statistical tables, datasets, and mapping products, as well as relevant documentation, going back to the earliest known pre-Confederation censuses. The portal will also be completely bilingual.

During the first year of the project, one major focus has been to build and develop the census data discovery inventory, which includes metadata created for each data item. To date, we’ve completed inventorying the majority of the identified censuses in scope. By the end of the project period, censuses between 1666 and 2016 will be inventoried using a consistent schema, to create the foundation of the Canadian Census Data Discovery Portal. Further refinement and evaluation of the metadata standards and an assessment of the tools and platforms for metadata infrastructure, is slated to ramp up in year two.

Another major focus this year has been on developing an evidence-based understanding of the needs of the portal’s future users. This research intensive process has involved consultations with many partners and stakeholders including academic libraries, census researchers, and government data producers and disseminators. Several consultation reports have been published that outline what has been learned about existing census portals and research collaborations which are vital for understanding users’ needs and future infrastructure development.

Our continuing collaboration with infrastructure partners at Scholars Portal and OCUL provides a connection to a suite of data services including ODESI, Scholars GeoPortal, and Borealis (the Canadian Dataverse Repository), as well as existing data- and government information-centered communities at member institutions. These connections enable us to collaborate on a shared, reliable, consistent approach to gathering information about access to government, commercial, and research data resources. Openness across the whole spectrum of scholarly works and data entails consideration of infrastructure, tools, workflows and standards, to support making data findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR).

As the project moves into the second year of the SSHRC Partnership Development Grant (PDG), work will continue to focus on completing the inventory. Building on work completed in year two of ranking data discovery and related features of existing Canadian census data portals, we will begin pre-user testing of data portals, as well as beginning to explore potential platforms and technologies for the envisioned discovery portal. Further, as these salient parts of the portal come together, there will also be a continued focus on conducting user testing with future users, and ongoing consultation with stakeholders. The continuation of evidence-based work will build upon what has already been learned about existing census portals models and will inform the development of the CCDDP prototype portal interface.

The CCDDP Partnership looks forward to sharing more when the inventory is complete and plans for a future portal interface have been developed more!For more information on the project and those involved, check out the project website or sign up for the mailing list. This project is currently funded by a SSHRC PDG, which provides funding for approximately two years. The project is currently entering into its second year.

Leanne Trimble is the Data & Statistics Librarian at the University of Toronto Libraries and Principal Investigator for this project. Other members of the leadership team are listed on the project website

You can find census data and census-related publications on ODESI, Scholars GeoPortal, Scholars Portal Books, and Borealis.


The Nitty-Gritty

New and improved features:

  • The Journals team has improved handling of supplementary materials from certain publishers, including ALJC (De Gruyter).
  • Ask a Librarian operators who have a personal SpotDocs account can now access the Ask space through their own account, without having to log out and use the generic operator credentials.
  • Globus transfer is being set up for all subscribers on OLRC 2, enabling large file transfer.
  • New usage reports are available for Permafrost subscribers.
  • New access tokens have been generated for the Accessible Content ePortal.

Bug fixes:

  • The RACER team has resolved several issues communicating with other ILL systems, including Relais, Rapido, and BCI.
  • The Journals team resolved several bugs, including a bug preventing preprint articles from displaying in the browse list, a bug causing duplicate citation information to appear, and a bug causing problems displaying mathematical formulas in abstracts.
  • Over the summer the Books platform made a huge jump from Angular 2.4 to 13.3.11 and the most recent version of Node.js, which brings with it significant performance and security enhancements.

Many thanks to all those who reported bugs to us or assisted in testing! If you spot any problems, please report them via our built-in feedback forms or to


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Next edition: January 2023

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