"This is an exciting development for Canadian publishers and libraries to promote and offer Canadian content to their communities and cardholders.  The Gibson brothers have a long, successful history of innovation in Canadian libraries and Canadian digital content.  It is worth investing time in understanding this transformational approach."


Stephen Abram

Stephen's Lighthouse
May 30, 2013



desLibris: A portal to Canadian books and documents for libraries

What is desLibris? desLibris is a delivery platform for books from and about Canada. It might be described as a database of Books. This public site displays over 50,000 Canadian monographs in preview form. Applying powerful search capabilities based on high-quality metadata, anyone may find books and documents of interest, and use the links provided to find these books on review sites or in bookstores and libraries.

Built for libraries. Memberships provide libraries with the ability to “take ownership” of desLibris content, giving their patrons access to fulltext online and borrowing by download. With customizable MARC record sets, libraries may create links to desLibris content from their catalogues, focussing on their fields of interest. (That is, special libraries may easily configure MARC sets around subject criteria (such as "Law" or "Education in Ontario" so that only that content is exposed to their users through their catalogues.)

Platform neutrality. Access to copyright material is controlled by IP authentication, not by the creation of customer-specific sites. This is an important feature, because it allows for universal access and generic MARC records. In the CEL/ebrary platform, each title bears a url which is unique to a particular library channel. This means that the MARC record pointing to that title must be customized for that library so that the “856” field (the link between the MARC record and the book online) is correctly configured. This in turn means that each library channel must maintain and manage a unique set of MARC records customized to its site url.

Open URLs promote sharing. Every book and every search result in desLibris is given a persistent url, which means that anyone can find a book or create a list and share it with others without limit. Even though the link recipients may not have access to the fulltext, the links will work and provide basic information about the book. Where recipients do have access to the fulltext through IP authentication, this can be an important tool for instructors or book club members who wish to build and share reading lists. Another useful sharing device in desLibris is the “List Results” view, which allows any site visitor to produce an Excel listing of all books in any search.

Canadian focus.  desLibris is an unmatched resource for Canadian content. The bilingual (English-French) interface gives Canadian readers access to all content in their language of choice. For public libraries, desLibris provides an economical means of providing Canadian content to patrons. Smaller Canadian publishers are typically poorly represented in Canadian library e-book collections; their books take second place to the latest best-sellers, to which libraries must devote large budget outlays to satisfy public demand. With desLibris, public libraries may offer their patrons a superb collection of current Canadian books and public affairs documents at affordable prices for system-wide use.

Buy button.  Authenticated users may purchase many books in the collection through one-click access to Kobo.


Document Publication. desLibris will offer selected Open Access publishers and content owners the ability to submit new Creative Commons-licensed materials for immediate worldwide distribution. 

API. desLibris will offer platform-neutral access to ebooks by providing API links which can "speak" to library servers, providing both source files and metadata for use within a local library "discovery layer." This will allow library systems to offer direct access to desLibris content through local catalogue interfaces (OPACs) and discovery layers like SIRSI and Bibliocommons.