Whether you are investigating the meteoric growth of Internet usage in Canada, the shifting demographics in Vancouver’s downtown core, or mapping the coastal temperate rainforest cover in British Columbia, Abacus represents a significant service enhancement for all academic researchers.

Its launch coincides with the opening of UBC Library’s new GIS/Research Data lab in Koerner Library. This new space brings together data gleaned from Abacus and visualization resources that will enhance scholars’ ability to discover, interpret and present their research.

Developed by UBC Library in partnership with Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria and the University of Northern British Columbia, Abacus is a platform to access research data from a central interface. It allows students, researchers and faculty from British Columbia’s major universities to discover and download numeric data from organizations such as Statistics Canada.

“We’ve moved to a newer, better way to search and organize material from Statistics Canada, DMTISpatial and other data providers,” says Mary Luebbe, Data Services Librarian at UBC.

“We’ve also expanded our services to the partner universities. This means that librarians in Prince George or Victoria can direct their students there to download the files they need.”

“This will allow faculty members to browse, find and download data on various subjects,” says Walter Piovesan, SFU Librarian for Research Data Services. “There never was an easy way to get at all these resources. But with Abacus, researchers can search all available datasets using nothing more than a Web browser. All that’s required is a login using their university IDs.”

Abacus’s collaborative and centralized nature makes it easier for researchers across the province to access the extensive survey data made available through Statistics Canada’s Data Liberation Initiative (DLI). The DLI is a Canada-wide effort to provide post-secondary institutions with unlimited and cost-effective access to Statistics Canada’s household surveys, censuses and geospatial data for GIS applications.

For more information, please contact Data Services at 604-822-5587 or visit http://data.library.ubc.ca.

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