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Digital library hailed as virtual gold mine

OneMine affi liation offers CIM membership free access to 150,000 research papers If Googling the Internet for scientific information is like looking for a needle in a haystack, OneMine.
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OneMine affi liation offers CIM membership free access to 150,000 research papers

If Googling the Internet for scientific information is like looking for a needle in a haystack, OneMine.org, a new digital library, aims to thread that needle for mining professionals.

“The chances of getting what they’re looking for is much greater in OneMine,” said David Kanagy, executive director of the non-profit library, owned by participating mining societies in Africa, Australia and North America.

The Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) is the newest member to join and contribute its research to this online service. Once CIM papers have been incorporated, OneMine expects to offer about 150,000 research papers that have been presented, peer-reviewed or published by participating societies.

Research covers topics ranging from mineral exploration to processing and probably everything in between, says Kanagy. Shaft sinking, mine construction and rock mechanics are a few examples. “Whether it’s a safety issue, a ground control issue, a ventilation issue or flotation, you name the topic, I guarantee you’re going to find some material in OneMine that may be valuable to you,” he said.

OneMine originated in 2008 when the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration Inc. (SME) began looking for ways to index thousands of documents on its library shelves. If a member called asking for an article published on a certain date, finding it would not be a problem, said Kanagy.

“The problem was when we got the phone call saying, ‘I’m looking for an article on ‘XYZ’ topic. There was one published and I can’t remember when it was published, by who or anything.’ We had almost zero chance of finding that article for anybody.”

SME struck a committee to develop an indexing system. Members soon realized a comprehensive library, available to all professionals in the world’s major mining societies, would be a great resource. “It’s taken us about six years, but we’re starting to get it where it really needs to go,” said Kanagy. “It will be a fantastic resource for everybody.”

Anyone, anywhere in the world, can search the OneMine database and obtain an abstract of a paper at no charge.

Obtaining a copy of the paper, however, will cost non-members $25. Members of participating societies, including the CIM, SME, Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, can obtain research papers at no charge. Using the OneMine online library saves time.

While Googling ‘ground control’ will produce more than 800,000 matches, OneMine narrows that choice to 5,370. ‘Tailings management’ gets 158,000 hits on Google. One Mine identifies only 212 matches. “If a professional goes to OneMine, they’re going to find exactly what has been published and researched in the industry already,” said Kanagy.

Before joining OneMine, CIM had started to digitize its library of technical papers and faced the daunting task of scanning and tagging 100 years of historical research.

“People just don’t go to libraries and look at hard copies of things anymore,” said CIM executive director Jean Vavrek.

CIM members, some of whom had already joined other mining societies in order to access OneMine, wanted an easier way to look up information without having to go to five or six different sources, Vavrek said.

OneMine offers a sophisticated metadata tagging system that makes it easier to find relevant research papers and documents. “A lot of people are looking for history on a property, or history on a piece of technology. They may want to find other users of a piece of equipment. Most of those are mentioned in many papers,” Vavrek said.

CIM tested OneMine with a limited batch of papers and quickly found there was substantial online interest in its documents. “One of our roles is to help our members showcase what they do,” Vavrek said. “By putting the papers on OneMine, it will definitely attract people on a global level to Canadian expertise.”

Online access makes crucial information conveniently portable.

Mining professionals are so mobile they may have to solve a problem or find a source anywhere around the world at any time, Vavrek said. “If you end up in developing countries, be it in Africa, Latin America or in the Stans, you don’t have access to libraries,” he said. “They’re not going to have paper libraries to the extent that we have in what I call the Western world. So, I think if we want to service those countries and make sure they develop their natural resources in the best possible way, that’s also how we’re going to help - by making the knowledge available to them.”

Both Kanagy and Vavrek cite OneMine as a great resource for students. “They’re the next generation leaders for the industry,” said Vavrek. “Strategically, we’ve made a commitment to bring these students more value.”

Vavrek expects about 10,000 CIM documents to be online with OneMine in early 2015, with thousands more by year end.

Combined, the societies participating in this digital library represent about 40,000 people. Currently, the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation, MIRARCO and CAMIRO are not members, but “we are always looking for more participating societies and their subject matter,” said Kanagy.

www.onemine.org