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About BC ELN

The British Columbia Electronic Library Network (BC ELN) is an award-winning consortium of 34 private and public post-secondary libraries. BC ELN's purpose is to develop and support system-wide mechanisms that allow post-secondary libraries to meet the expanding information needs of learners, educators, and researchers at the lowest possible cost. These mechanisms ensure learners in British Columbia have equitable access to resources and services that support their academic success.

BC ELN achieves this by:

BC ELN operates with core funding from the Province of British Columbia, with additional project funding and staff time contributed by partner libraries.

Key Partnership with eHLbc

BC ELN is the Administrative Centre for the Electronic Health Library of BC (eHLbc). eHLbc provides the academic and health care community of British Columbia with easy access to online health library resources. The purpose of eHLbc is to support and improve practice, education, and research in the health sciences.

BC ELN's History

From the outset, BC ELN’s mission has been “to extend the collective resources of the province's post-secondary libraries, to make these resources available to students and researchers regardless of their location in the province, and to enhance resource sharing among libraries through the innovative application of technology” (DeBruijn, 1995).


BC ELN emerges from the “Access for All” education strategy introduced by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Job Training. The strategy expanded open learning opportunities, created partnerships across sectors, and fostered innovation through the use of new technologies. BC ELN was the mechanism through which the “Access for All” strategy was implemented in post-secondary libraries.



  • Coordinates the development of the serials and media databases, as well as Outlook database (a union database representing the combined collections of 53 BC public and post-secondary libraries) in partnership with PLSB and Auto-Graphics Inc., partners with UBC for hosting and makes all three available to post-secondary students, faculty, and staff throughout British Columbia


  • Begins coordinating consortial licenses for index and abstract databases
  • Assumes responsibility for the Online Journal Access (OJAC) service, which permits users at 20 post-secondary libraries to search databases, retrieve citations, and request documents in one online session


  • Assumes management of the B.C. Post-Secondary Interlibrary Loan Network (NET) and administration of the Media Exchange Cooperative (MEC)
  • Implements FileServer ILL Management service
  • Licenses CBCA FT, the consortium’s first full-text database
  • Joins inaugural meeting of the International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC)


  • Implements GODOT link resolving service, part of the open source reSearcher suite of services developed by SFU Library
  • Launches OutLook OnLine, hosted by Auto-Graphics, a hybrid virtual / union portal to the public and post-secondary library catalogues of BC with integrated item requesting and tracking
  • Reconstitutes BC ELN Advisory Committee as the BC ELN Steering Committee
  • Begins licensing an average of 5 new databases a year
  • Becomes founding member of Consortia Canada



  • Launches BC ELN Resource Forum and Ranking Survey, allowing partner library staff to nominate and rank resources they feel should be considered for licensing by the consortium
  • Launches GODOT full-text linking
  • Launches web-based BC ELN ILL Statistics Module
  • Hosts 8th meeting of ICOLC


  • Receives funding from Ministry for special projects: Ariel document delivery initiative, and licensing of ebook Business Collection and Health Sciences Databases
  • Implements live look-up of Serials database
  • Co-chairs Consortia Canada


  • Moves to new Host Institution Simon Fraser University
  • Releases Database Licensing Framework
  • Receives project funding for Provincial Virtual Reference, Ariel upgrade, Hospitality & Tourism Index & CBCA Business


  • Begins role as Administrative Centre for newly launched Electronic Health Library of BC (eHLbc)
  • Launches AskAway provincial reference service
  • Co-sponsors the Library 2020 Symposium: Envisioning the BC Library


  • Introduces the Undergraduate Foundation Collection (UFC), a multi-sector core suite licensing initiative
  • Pilots membership of private post-secondary associates
  • Co-organizes the BC Digitization Symposium
  • Releases first Innovation & Success report
  • Revises BC ELN Model License, signed by all major BC ELN vendor partners



  • Coordinates feature film public performing rights licenses previously administered by the Advanced Education Media Acquisition Centre
  • Develops Benefits and Responsibilities for BC ELN members, outlining the value of BC ELN services and responsibilities for full and associate members
  • Expands licensed content to online streaming video and ebook collections
  • Begins coordination of WriteAway pilot, a new online writing support service for BC learners
  • Welcomes sixth private institution to join BC ELN membership


  • Implements a system-wide restructuring of BC’s post-secondary resource sharing system; migrates to new OutLook OnLine interface
  • Celebrates BC ELN’s 25th Anniversary!
  • Transitions AskAway to self-sustaining service entirely self-funded
  • Secures funding from Post-Secondary Administrative Service Delivery Transformation program and Ministry of Advanced Education to launch Arca, an open network of post-secondary digital repositories


  • Actively participates in the cross-sector Provincial Digital Library (PDL) Symposium
  • Migrates and launches new BC ELN website with improved functionality and structure
  • Supports Partner Libraries through the decommissioning of ReSearcher
  • Arca grows from 7 early adopter sites to 15 participants
  • AskAway welcomes its 31st participating institution; WriteAway welcomes its 15th


  • Licenses a new iteration of the Common Suite (which started as the Undergraduate Foundation Collection in 2008), a multi-year bundle of resources to support undergraduate studies
  • AskAway undergoes a software review process; selects LibraryH3lp and transitions all 31 institutions to new platform
  • WriteAway selects Springshare’s LibApps for its new platform and transitions all 15 institutions
  • Outlook Online migrates to SFU’s cloud hosting facility, rebrands as Illume, and migrates to version 6 of the SHAREit software
  • Arca migrates to SFU’s cloud hosting; continues to grow with more sites joining the service
  • BC ELN hosts the North American meeting of the International Coalition of Library Consortia, which attracts over a hundred individuals from consortia around the world