Lakehead University Library and Scholars Portal collaborate on digital preservation pilot

April 6, 2017 – Thunder Bay, ON

Scholars Portal and the Lakehead University Library are pleased to announce their collaboration on the development of Permafrost, a new preservation service to help protect the unique digital collections held by Ontario’s university libraries and archives.

Permafrost is a proposed cloud-hosted digital preservation service for members of the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL). It will provide the preservation processing system Archivematica in conjunction with OCUL’s cloud storage network, the Ontario Library Research Cloud.

“Most of the work of today is born digital, and that means that the records we leave behind now, that will be historically significant in the future, are in a digital format,” said Lakehead University Librarian Karen Keiller.

“Participating in Permafrost will help us preserve this history for the next 50 years, and beyond.”

Digital files need special processing and management with an eye towards future access, and files on media such as floppy discs and flash drives age rapidly. Permafrost will help make complex digital preservation activities accessible so that Ontario’s academic memory institutions can preserve their invaluable digital assets into the future.  

Lakehead University Library will participate as a pilot partner site to help Scholars Portal develop the infrastructure and processes needed to support this preservation service across OCUL libraries, including to develop a service model and terms of service for Permafrost, installing Archivematica, and testing the service.

Lakehead University Library has a number of units holding digital materials requiring long-term preservation, including digitized student theses, oral history interviews, and born digital archival materials from private donors.

The archival collections at Lakehead are a resource for students, faculty, and the public. The Archives acquires, preserves, and facilitates the use of original historical records that document the history of Lakehead University; organizations, individuals, and institutions closely affiliated with Lakehead University; and records that document the history of Northwestern Ontario.

This project will be a significant advance in Lakehead’s capacity to preserve historical material in an electronic format. 

The initial phase of the pilot will run until May 2017. A second phase will bring additional institutions online through to November 2017. Once the pilot is complete, the service will be made widely available to Ontario university libraries interested in preserving their digital collections.

Lakehead University Library provides services to over 8600 students on two campuses, including: access to journals and books; access to databases and data sets; research support; and spaces for study and group work. The Archives are on the Thunder Bay Campus as part of the Chancellor Paterson Library, and preserve and provide access to unique historical material.

Permafrost is part of OCUL and Scholars Portal’s commitment to preserving Ontario’s academic collections, both print and digital, for the benefit of current and future generations of scholars.

Further information about Permafrost is available on the Permafrost SPOTdocs space.



– 30 –



Media: For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact Brandon Walker, Media Relations Officer, at (807) 343-8177, or




Lakehead University has about 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. In 2016, for the second consecutive year, Re$earch Infosource ranked Lakehead first among Canada’s undergraduate universities. Visit


About OCUL’s Scholars Portal                                                                                                


Scholars Portal is a service of the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL). The Scholars Portal technological infrastructure 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 data sets, geo reference data and geospatial sets. 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.


For further information contact Grant Hurley, Scholars Portal Digital Preservation Librarian

E: P: 416-978-5648