The IOFSC Virtual Library (VL) provides access to over 3,600 digital documents in 18 languages and from 34 countries. The collection consists mostly of grey literature1produced by financial services cooperatives (FSCs) around the world, as well as other publications of interest (e.g., books and periodical publications). Documents in French constitute 35% of the collection, those in English 31%, German 11%, Spanish 8% and Portuguese 7%.
The types of documents available in the VL are corporate reports, periodical issues, journal articles, books and working papers, and the content is organized through common metadata schemes developed specifically for the documentary collection and compatible with the ISO 15836 “Information and documentation – The Dublin Core metadata element set” international norm.
The document content is only available in digital format to enable full-text search, one of the features offered by the VL. The acquisition is achieved by the following means:
Semi-automated monitoring of targeted institutions;
Sending of documents by partners;
File Deposit on the IOFSC portal;
Digitization of documents.
Document selection is performed by the librarian on the basis of collection development and acquisition policies established by the IOFSC team.
Copyrights and License agreement
A license agreement is essential to obtain the formal approval of an institution in order to collect and disseminate information protected by copyrights. Document acquisition in the VL is carried out according to the partnerships established by the IOFSC and is modulated by the document publication rights granted, or not, to the IOFSC by every institution through a License agreement.
What motivated the creation of a Virtual Library
Analysis has shown that some institutions offer publications directories or brief summaries sometimes accompanied by a short biography of the author. Often, these efforts cover all cooperative sectors and not specifically the area of FSCs, and generally they are limited. In addition, commercial bibliographic databases rarely deal with FSCs at the international level. Thus, research on FSCs is either published in journals of very heterogeneous disciplines or outside standard dissemination channels, unpublished or with limited distribution by FSC or organizations. Finally grey literature on FSCs is spread on the Internet.
Developments of the Virtual Library
The IOFSC team is currently working with the Myriam and J.-Robert Ouimet Library and the Technologies Department of HEC Montréal to improve the VL platform. The objective is to increase the visibility and attractiveness of the VL by allowing the system to be interoperable with other systems, as well as to improve search features and expand the types of documents acquired together with the supported file formats.
A proposal has been submitted to the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) to fund technological modifications to the platform, the digitization of documents on cooperatives and the development of a thesaurus on FSCs, as there is no controlled language specific to the domain.
For more information on the IOFSC Virtual Library, please contact us.
1 « Documents and ephemeral material issued in limited amounts outside the formal channels of publication and distribution.” Grand dictionnaire terminologique, Office de la langue française, 1989.