Press Release - February 19, 2013

OCUL’s Scholars Portal- Canada’s first certified Trustworthy Digital Repository


Scholars Portal, a service of the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL), is now the first certified Trustworthy Digital Repository in Canada. This certification, the only generally recognized certification for digital archives, was issued by the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) following an audit of the Scholars Portal Journals repository. This is an important milestone in OCUL’s commitment to its members to provide access to a diversity of learning and research materials, and to ensure their preservation through sustainable and responsible stewardship.

The audit, which began in January 2012, evaluated the ability of Scholars Portal to fulfill this long-term preservation commitment in regard to e-journal content. The audit measured Scholars Portal’s compliance with established criteria for trusted digital repositories, including the Trustworthy Repositories Audit & Certification: Criteria and Checklist1 (TRAC) and other metrics developed by CRL on the basis of its analysis of digital repositories.
Scholars Portal was evaluated in three areas: Organizational InfrastructureDigital Object Management, and Infrastructure and Security Risk Management, receiving high scores across all three categories. The final audit report is now available on the CRL website.


In 2007, OCUL identified the need for an organized digital preservation effort and subsequently decided an audit of the Scholars Portal Journals platform was an important initial step.  As a result, Scholars Portal implemented rigorous internal standards to ensure the long-term integrity, authenticity and usability of the Scholars Portal Journal collection. The CRL audit took place between January 15, 2012 and July 15, 2012. On April 17 & 18, 2012, CRL visited the Scholars Portal offices and met with representatives from OCUL, Scholars Portal, and the University of Toronto Libraries.  In early February 2013, OCUL was granted accreditation as a trustworthy digital repository for e-journal content.

Benefit to Ontario’s Scholarly Community

OCUL’s commitment to contributing to a world-class learning and research environment in Ontario through information stewardship and technological innovation is founded on the practice of collaboration. As OCUL Chair, Margaret Haines explains, “This achievement is due to the hard work, expertise and collaboration of many people in the OCUL community. ”  

It is also indicative of the collaborative approach within the digital preservation community. “OCUL and Scholars Portal have benefited from the expertise of several organizations who are deeply engaged in digital preservation and who have already created trusted digital repositories,” explains Scholars Portal Digital Preservation Librarian, Stephen Marks.  “We are especially grateful to these organizations for their encouragement and generosity in sharing their knowledge and experience.”

Likewise, OCUL also hopes its example is a source of encouragement for others considering long-term digital preservation endeavors. “The ability of libraries and their consortial organizations to accomplish achievements like this has been proven once again ” said Margaret Haines. “ I hope that OCUL and Scholars Portal will be able to share what we have learned with more libraries who are engaged in trusted digital repository work.”

Into the Future

OCUL is committed to preservation of digital content for the benefit of future scholars. Achieving trustworthy digital repository status for Scholars Portal is the first and most fundamental element of OCUL’s ongoing preservation mandate. It provides the framework for extending Scholars Portal preservation practices to other content types. OCUL and Scholars Portal look forward to building on this success and contributing to the development of a national digital preservation strategy. 

Further details about OCUL’s preservation mandate and the TDR accreditation process can be found on the OCUL website or by contacting Scholars Portal Digital Preservation Librarian, Stephen Marks (steve [at]


About the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL)

OCUL is a consortium of Ontario’s 21 university libraries. Its strength lies in its commitment to work together to maximize collective expertise and resources. OCUL enhances information services in Ontario and beyond through collective purchasing and shared digital information infrastructure, collaborative planning, advocacy, assessment, research, partnerships, communications, and professional development. (For further information contact Kathy Scardellato, OCUL Executive Director, at kathy.scardellato [at], 416-946-0578.)      


About OCUL’s Scholars Portal

Scholars Portal is a service of the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL). The Scholars Portal technological infrastructure, including the Scholars Portal Journals platform, preserves and provides access to information resources collected and shared by Ontario’s 21 university libraries. Through the Scholars Portal online services, Ontario’s university students, faculty and researchers have access to an extensive and varied collection of e-journals, e-books, social science datasets, geo-referenced and geospatial datasets. Scholars Portal Journals alone currently provides access to in excess of 33,000,000 articles from over 14,000 full text journals. Scholars Portal also supports the online inter-library loan platform for Ontario’s universities and provides support for citation management systems, a virtual chat reference service and other tools designed to aid and enhance academic research in Ontario. Scholars Portal continues to respond to the research needs of Ontario universities through the creation of innovative information services and by working to ensure access to and preservation of this wealth of information.