Collaborative Futures

About the Project

Omni: A new library system for a collaborative future! 

The University of Ottawa Library is excited to announce the launch of Omni, a new library system for finding and accessing books, articles, and other materials in our collection.  Press release

Omni will be available from the library website on December 10, 2019 and will replace the existing search interface and the Classic Catalogue, as well as the A-Z list of journals. Omni is designed to meet the needs and expectations of modern researchers, and will make it easier to manage and work with our large and increasingly digital collection that includes nearly 4 million books, 75,000 journals, 1000 databases, and more.  

RACER (interlibrary loan) and Ares (course reserves) will not change following the launch.

While we are making every effort to minimize service disruption and impact on our users during implementation, our user community can expect a few temporary changes to library services in the weeks leading up to the launch. Details on those changes will be made available in the Updates section below.

This project is part of Collaborative Futures, a new consortium of 14 universities in Ontario that are working together to implement a shared library services platform. The goal of this consortium is to improve services and to facilitate access to collections held in university libraries across the province. To learn more, see Collaborative Futures (Ontario Council of University Libraries).

If you have any questions, please contact

Why a new library system? 

uOttawa Library’s current library system is 20 years old and was primarily designed to manage physical collections. Omni will make it easier to manage and work with our large and increasingly digital collection that includes nearly 4 million books, 75,000 journals, 1000 databases, and more. 

Why a shared system? 

By implementing Omni together with our 13 partner institutions, we’ll have the common infrastructure needed to work together in new ways, share expertise, collaborate more efficiently in managing and preserving our collections, and offer broader access to resources for our communities. 

What does a new library services system mean for you? 

For students, faculty and staff at uOttawa, Omni will mean broader and more streamlined access to resources both in uOttawa’s collection as well as in those of our partners; in all, you’ll gain access to over 18 million bibliographic records currently available in the shared collections of the 13 participating universities. It will also mean the replacement of the Library’s “classic catalogue” with a modern search engine with powerful new features for both novice and advanced researchers.  


November 12, 2019

Interruption to Requests

From November 15, 2019 to December 15, 2019 you will not be able to place a request on items that are already out on loan to other patrons. Any requests placed before November 15 will remain in effect and will be delivered in the regular time frame.

If a book or item you need is out on loan, we recommend requesting a copy through interlibrary loan.

You will still be able to request material held at off-campus storage.

This temporary disruption to our service is required as part of the work being done this semester to implement Omni, our new library system.

If you need help finding what you are looking for, please contact

October 30, 2019

Purchase Suggestions and Ordering

As a part of the upgrade to Omni, we will be unable to order new library resources from October 15, 2019 to January 6, 2020. Suggestions for purchase will be reviewed as they are received, but most items suggested after October 15 will not be available until late January 2020. The exception to the pause on ordering will be items to be purchased for course reserve, which should be sent directly to reserves via the usual processes ( We appreciate your understanding during this time as we work towards an improved library system. If you have any questions, please contact

October 23, 2019

New System Affects Links to Library Resources in Virtual Campus

When Omni is launched on December 10th, existing hyperlinks directed to the old system will no longer work.  This will affect certain kinds of hyperlinks included in Virtual Campus (Brightspace) course pages.

Students will not be able to access links that contain the words “uottawa-primo.hosted”. 


Please check the modules in your courses in Virtual Campus to for any hyperlinks to the existing system so that your students will be able to link to the resources after December 10.  If none of your links include “uottawa-primo.hosted”, no further action is necessary.

If your Virtual Campus course pages include links with “uottawa-primo.hosted” you will need to manually update the links to ensure your students will be able to access the resources.  How to manually update links to Library resources.

Patron Requests

In preparation for the launch of Omni, the ability for patrons to place requests in the Classic Catalogue will be temporarily suspended between Saturday November 16 and Monday December 9. If you urgently require an item, we recommend that you request a copy of the item through interlibrary loan. Rest assured that requests placed before Saturday November 16 will migrate to the new system.

Improved Loan Privileges

Once Omni is launched, user will benefit from improved loan privileges (up to 500 items for 120 days!) and the library will no longer collect overdue fines on regular loans of materials.

More detailed information concerning the improved loan privileges will be made available closer to the launch date.


Who are the Ontario Council of University Libraries?

The shared library system project is an initiative of the Ontario Council of University Libraries (OCUL). OCUL is a consortium of Ontario’s 21 university libraries who are committed to working together to maximize their collective expertise and resources; since 2002, they have joined forces to build a shared technology infrastructure, provide access to online content (books, journals and geospatial data), offer a province-wide virtual chat reference service, and more. 

Which universities are participating?

Fourteen of OCUL’s 21 member institutions are currently participating in the initiative, and we anticipate that more will join in the future. In addition to uOttawa, current partners are Brock, Carleton, Guelph, Lakehead, Nipissing, Ontario Tech, Queen’s, Trent, Waterloo, Western, Wilfrid Laurier, Windsor and York. 

What platform was selected?

We have selected a combination of solutions from Ex Libris - their Alma® library services platform together with Primo® discovery and delivery system: 

  • On the front end, Primo® enables us to personalize your experience and maximize discoverability and  resource sharing. The Library’s existing Search+ system is powered by Primo and we’ll be introducing the latest version of this system. 
  • On the back end, the Alma® library services platform will help us eliminate silos, redundant processes, and the duplication of data.  It also offers powerful analytics to support data-driven decision-making. 
When will the new system be rolled out?

We anticipate “going live” with our new system in December. We’ll continue to provide updates as the new system nears implementation. 

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