Online access

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EDMONTON – For the first time, First Nations colleges in Alberta will have online access to their own collections and a wide selection of culturally significant academic materials shared by other post-secondary institutions in the province. The First Nations Information Connection will allow students and faculty in six First Nations colleges to take full advantage of the Lois Hole Campus Alberta Digital Library.

“We are especially grateful to the University of Alberta and the Alberta Government for the inclusion of our colleges in the Lois Hole Digital Library and for making it possible through sponsors to create the First Nations Information Connection” said Vivian Ayoungman, executive director of the First Nations Adult and Higher Education Consortium.

The First Nations Information Connection is a network of libraries including the Aboriginal Resource Centre, Blue Quills First Nations College, Maskwachees Cultural College, Old Sun Community College, Red Crow Community College and Yellowhead Tribal College. The colleges have each received computer hardware, software, technical support and training for their library staff.

The network was built in response to a need to assist Aboriginal colleges get access to a large variety of regularly updated online resources, including digitized photographs and artifacts, historical and scientific information, Aboriginal themed e-books and other academic research materials. The First Nations Information Connection is a U of A initiative done in partnership with the Online Computer Library Center, Nexen Inc., Alberta Advanced Education and Technology and Sun Microsystems of Canada Inc.

“The result of this collaboration will enable participating First Nations colleges to provide their students and faculty with access to the rich digital research environment shared by learners across the province, so that their students can move forward confidently into other post-secondary institutions and into lifelong learning,” said Ernie Ingles, U of A’s vice-provost and chief librarian.

“No matter where they live, students deserve the best, leading-edge technology to support their studies,” said Doug Horner, minister of Alberta Advanced Education and Technology. “The Lois Hole Digital Library is a great example of Alberta’s vision for greater collaboration and co-operation through our provincial post-secondary, Campus Alberta system.”

Reference and other community resources are also provided by the First Nations Information Connection.

Additionally, the six libraries have received book donations secured by the U of A. The university has also provided training for college faculty and students, including students at U of A’s Aboriginal Teacher Education Program at Blue Quills College. University staff will continue to develop Aboriginal resources for the network in partnership with the colleges.