Novanet, Inc.-Nova Scotia, Canada

By Marshall, Penny | Information Technology and Libraries, September 1999 | Go to article overview

Novanet, Inc.-Nova Scotia, Canada


Marshall, Penny, Information Technology and Libraries


Novanet, a consortium often Nova Scotia postsecondary education institutions with twenty-six libraries serving twenty-three campuses, cooperates to enhance access to information and knowledge/or the benefit of its user communities. The core activities of Novanet are maintaining an integrated information technology management system including a single bibliographic database of member libraries' holdings, developing innovative approaches to resource sharing, and facilitating cooperative collections development among member libraries in conjunction with academic programming planning.

* A Million Books at Your Fingertips!

When a student enters a modern library in search of information, he or she probably doesn't give a great deal of thought to the technology used to find resources. To use a computer to view the library's holdings is an expected part of a quest for knowledge.

But what if you could use that computer to search not only the holdings of the library you're standing in, but also the holdings of several other university libraries across the province?

Thanks to Novanet, you can do exactly that. You can access over a million titles. Novanet's combined collections are the cornerstone of knowledge and information resources in Atlantic Canada.

* What is Novanet?

Novanet, a consortium of ten Nova Scotia postsecondary education institutions with twenty-six libraries serving twenty-three campuses, cooperates to enhance access to information and knowledge for the benefit of its user communities. Almost 55,000 students (87 percent of postsecondary students in the province), faculty, and staff of Novanet member institutions have borrowing privileges at all member libraries. Residents of Nova Scotia have access to Novanet via its Off-Campus Borrower's Card, which gives them borrowing privileges at any Novanet library.

An incorporated company in the province of Nova Scotia, Novanet is owned and managed by a diverse group of institutions and libraries with full-time enrollment (FTE) ranging from less than 100 to more than 11,000. This group consists of the following: Atlantic School of Theology; Dalhousie University; Mount Saint Vincent University; Nova Scotia Agricultural College; Nova Scotia College of Art and Design; Nova Scotia Community College; Saint Mary's University; St. Francis Xavier University; University College of Cape Breton; and University of King's College.

Novanet's mission is to enhance access to information and knowledge through cooperation among member institutions for the benefit of its user communities. Its core activities are maintaining an integrated library management system including a single bibliographic database of member libraries' holdings, developing innovative approaches to resource sharing, and facilitating cooperative collections development among member libraries in conjunction with academic programming planning. (Note: Throughout this article, the term "Novanet" refers to the member universities/libraries or to the supporting corporation or to both acting together, depending on the context.)

* A Tradition of Cooperation

In 1982 Halifax was the home of five degree-granting institutions--Dalhousie University, Mount Saint Vincent University, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Saint Mary's University, and the Technical University of Nova Scotia--which together accounted for 63 percent of all students enrolled in higher education degree-granting programs in Nova Scotia. Among these universities, cooperative ventures had been operating for many years. These cooperative efforts included reciprocal borrowing privileges, interlibrary loan programs, collection rationalization, centralized microfilm services, shared cataloging records, and a truck delivery system.

The presidents and chief librarians of these institutions saw the potential of maximizing the effective utilization of their library resources and achieving significant cost savings by sharing a single automated system through a cooperative initiative in support of the teaching, research, and community objectives of the universities using the emerging tools of information technology. …

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