Ontario’s University Libraries Collaborate to Build a Large-Scale Shared Storage Network

  • Posted on: 27 April 2017
  • By: Anika

OCUL is pleased to announce that the Ontario Library Research Cloud (OLRC) will open its doors to subscribers as of May 1, 2017.  

The OLRC provides secure and affordable cloud storage for libraries and researchers in Ontario and across Canada.

The OLRC was born as a joint project of 11 Ontario University Libraries and OCUL, and supported by a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities. The OLRC was implemented by IT staff at Scholars Portal with support from staff at the University of Toronto Libraries and other partner sites across Ontario. ORION and GTAnet contributed their time and expertise in design and implementation of the underlying network that supports the OLRC. Project partners have been using the OLRC since October 2015.   

The initial partners were: 

  • University of Toronto (administrative partner)
  • Carleton University
  • University of Guelph
  • Wilfrid Laurier University
  • McMaster University
  • University of Ottawa
  • Queen’s University
  • University of Waterloo
  • University of Windsor
  • York University
  • Ryerson University (development partner)
  • GTAnet (network services)
  • ORION (network services)


The OLRC's features include: 

  • low cost, replicated storage using networking and data centre services of Ontario’s universities
  • all data kept on Canadian servers and data never leaves Canadian controlled networks
  • management and governance by libraries
  • web-based APIs that allow access to the cloud from any desktop or mobile device through encrypted HTTPS protocols
  • based on open source OpenStack Swift object storage service
  • no charges for data transfer, just for storage

Additional features of the OLRC to support library workflows include easy web access via SwiftBrowser, integration with Archivematica for preservation storage, and upcoming integration with ownCloud for desktop and mobile access and data sharing. 

The OLRC is “building real collaboration,” according to Dale Askey, Associate University Librarian at McMaster University Library and former chair of the OLRC Steering Committee.  “The value of this service is that it is Canadian hosted and operated and low cost compared to other cloud storage solutions.” 

“Secure, flexible and economical storage is a priority concern for many campuses,” says Wayne Johnston, Research & Scholarship Librarian at the University of Guelph and current chair of the OLRC Steering Committee.  “This pertains to the digital assets of academic libraries as well as the research data generated by faculty members. The OLRC provides a robust and trustworthy solution whose value increases through integration with other vital platforms such as Archivematica and, in the near future, Dataverse.”


For more information or to view the pricing model, please visit the website: cloud.scholarsportal.info

For subscription information and other inquiries contact olrc [at] scholarsportal.info