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Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library Announced in Alberta

:: Yesterday, in the Speech From the Throne, which opened the First Session of the Twenty-Sixth Legislature of the Province of Alberta, preliminary details of Bill 1, the Access to the Future Act, were read by His Honour The Honourable Norman L. Kwong, CM, AOE, Lieutenant Governor. Among the highlights was the announcement of the Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library. Lois Hole was the Province's previous Lieutenant Governor, who passed away on January 6, 2005. Mrs Hole was passionate about libraries and literacy. Among the tributes planned for her by the Government of Alberta, the Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library will have a dramatic impact on services provided in post-secondary libraries in Alberta. It is one of a number of initiatives announced regarding Bill 1:

The Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library is a leading-edge initiative centered on the work already underway at the University of Calgary. This province-wide initiative will, at full implementation, allow all post-secondary students and faculty, wherever they are located in the province, access to the resources and knowledge currently held in the individual libraries of Alberta's technical institutes, colleges or universities. The library will be governed by The Alberta Library, the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, the University of Lethbridge, and Athabasca University.

This initiative will be a digital gathering place for students, faculty and the community to access a wealth of knowledge. It will also provide a mechanism for sharing of print collections. Building on the opportunities created by the SuperNet and post-secondary collaborations already in place, the Digital Library will be part of a province-wide system that, with SuperNet, will give Alberta capabilities for e-learning, e-health and e-commerce across the province that are second to none.

The wide-ranging access to the vast array of information made available by this innovation will make Alberta one of the most information-rich provinces in North America. Through the technologically sophisticated learning facilities of Alberta's universities, the Digital Library will support satellite points to connect people with life-long learning.

Initial costs for the Digital Library are estimated at $30 million over three years. The project will include the acquisition of digital information products, implementation of infrastructure to deliver information to the entire post-secondary system, and the development of four regional Digitization Centres.

Needless to say, our imaginations were wandering just a little in my library today. Does this mean that all electronic resources currently available at all of Alberta's universities, colleges, and technical institutes will be made available at all the libraries in those institutions? Imagine the possibilities, not to mention the contract negotiations with the vendors! Regardless, it is a fitting tribute in honour of Lois Hole, whose library legacy program continues to enrich the lives of people in Alberta.

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