Gabriel Dumont Institue


A World of Information on Your Desktop

Jan 7, 2020

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Did you know that even if it is inconvenient for you to use one of the three GDI Library locations in Prince Albert, Regina, or Saskatoon, you can still access library resources at your desk or in your classroom? Through participation in the Saskatchewan Electronic Resources Partnership (which enables post-secondary, public, and special libraries in Saskatchewan to pool funds to purchase access to licensed digital content) and by leveraging the capabilities of our library management software, GDI Libraries are able to provide Institute staff, students, and clients with access to a wide variety of electronic content.


There is something for everyone, whether you’re looking for car repair manuals, historical documents, health research, news, or just to browse the latest issue of your favorite magazine. In the coming months, GDI Library staff will be profiling some of the content that you and your students or clients can access from an Internet-connected device at any of the Institute’s locations across the province. First up: Frontier Life.

Frontier Life: Borderlands, Settlement & Colonial Encounters is a database of digitized content dealing with Indigenous–settler relations in Africa, Australia and New Zealand, Central America, and North America. A co-operative effort between museums, libraries, and archives on those continents, it contains digitized copies of documents dating from the 17th century to the mid-20th century. Of particular interest are contributions from the Glenbow Museum, the Manitoba Museum, and the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives. Materials that previously could only have been viewed by way of an out-of-province road trip are now available on your computer screen, including censuses of the Red River Settlement; diaries, letters, and wills of people living there and in other parts of what later became Western Canada; and hand-drawn maps, land registers, account books, fur-trade post journals, images, etc.

There are two ways to retrieve content from this database. The first is to do a search on keywords in Quick Find (the GDI Libraries’ catalogue) and then click through to view the digitized content in the Frontier Life interface. This is a good strategy if you’re looking for something very specific that you know is included in Frontier Life, and you just want to go straight to it as quickly as possible.

Alternately, you can search for “Frontier Life” in the Quick Find search box, and click through to the database’s interface. Once you are in the database, you can browse by thematic group, region, contributing organization, document type, etc. This is an effective strategy when you want to familiarize yourself with the scope of the database’s content and use some of its internal features to limit your searching by format, contributor, or region.

If you have questions or difficulty accessing Frontier Life or any of the licensed digital content available through the GDI Libraries’ catalogue, please contact library staff for assistance. Happy browsing!

By GDI Library Staff

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Gabriel Dumont Institue

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