iPortal tool for indigenous studies
By BROOKLYN THORPE / VICTORIA MARTINEZ The University of Saskatchewan Library celebrated the 25,000th live record on the Indigenous Studies Portal on Jan. 25.
iPortal is designed to aid student research for the department of native studies and its records range from diary entries to e-books and archival photos to indigenous thesis.
Preliminary discussions to use iPortal started around 10 years ago, but it didn’t become fully functional until March 2005. Since 2007 about 19,000 records have been added to the iPortal.
“It’s a real mixed bag in there,” said Deborah Lee, the iPortal librarian and team leader. “It provides one stop searching for a variety of documents.”
The map function on iPortal, for example, allows researchers to find specific information to any reserve in Saskatchewan on a Google Maps interface. The reserves are listed alphabetically and selecting one on the map links to a wealth of information.
“The iPortal is an affirmation that Aboriginal cultures are important and are being recognized in the academic realm,” said Ken Ladd, the university library associate dean, in a U of S press release.
The 250,000 milestone was celebrated in the Murray Library Jan. 25 in the Learning Commons. U of S Elder Walter Linklater began the ceremony with a prayer, followed by a hand drum song and a few speeches. Joan Greyeyes, the university president’s special advisor on Aboriginal issues, also made a speech.
Buffalo Boy Productions put on a drum and dance performance in the Library Link Gallery. At noon, a stew and bannock lunch was served to students in the Murray Library.
In the afternoon, Lee held demonstrations of the iPortal website in the Murray Library computer lab. Lee also offers presentations by request to interested groups of students.
With a resource as varied and extensive as iPortal, the sheer amount of available information can be daunting. Lee’s presentations enable indigenous studies students to use the tool “for its maximum benefit with little time wastage.”
image: Pete Yee
This piece first appeared in The Sheaf - The University of Saskatchewan Newspaper Since 1912.