Government Documents and the Data Liberation Initiative (DLI)

Gov Docs Depository Service

The library is a partial depository for Canadian federal and Nova Scotia government publications. Unless indicated otherwise, publications are made available to libraries free of charge. If a cost is indicated, it is charged to the general fund.

Dalhousie and Acadia Universities are full depositories for Canadian and Nova Scotia documents. In addition, Saint Francis Xavier University and Cape Breton University are full depositories for Nova Scotia documents. About the Depository Services Program provides information on the objectives of the program and guides on the use of government documents, incl. statutory materials.

Most documents are selected from the Weekly Checklist issued by the Depository Services Program of Public Works and Government Services Canada and the Monthly Checklist distributed by the Nova Scotia Government Bookstore. Unless a document updates an item already in the catalogued collection, it is the practice now to only select materials from the checklist which are unavailable as PDF documents via the Internet.

Statistics Canada publications are selected from the weekly checklist. Unless designated “occasional”, most are serials issued weekly, monthly, or annually, and are free of charge if ordered from the first issue.

The selection is made by librarians according to criteria established for monographs and serials acquisitions. Those government publications ordered outside the depository program, or as priced checklist items, are acquired through the selection process for monographs, and then fully catalogued for the main collection.

Collection Maintenance

Apart from those which are fully catalogued, documents are shelved as a separate collection under the name of the issuing department. The prefix FG in the shelf number indicates federal government, the prefix CP indicates provincial government, and the prefix NG indicates publications received from non-governmental agencies and organizations .

Statistics Canada publications are shelved as FG CS and then by their unique classification number as in FG CS 81-201. The most recent editions of some major statistical compendia , including the Canada Yearbook and the Market Research Handbook, are catalogued and shelved in the reference collection. Statistics Canada datafiles on CR-ROM and documentation acquired from the Data Liberation Initiative are also shelved under the appropriate Statistics Canada class number.

The library must endeavor to keep statutory materials current. New updates to loose-leaf binders are shelved as soon as they arrive.

Data Liberation Initiative (DLI)

A. Overview
The Mount’s agreement with DLI entitles the University to access Statistics Canada data products, such as public use micro-data files, standard files and databases and geography files, for ” the exclusive purposes of teaching, academic research and publishing, and/ or planning of educational services.”
The DLI Collection consists of data files, documentation and supplementary files such as SPSS and SAS commands. Virtually all publicly available data sets and databases currently released by Statistics Canada are being added to the site; as well, some older files from the past three decades are being added as per demand and availability.

The DLI service is offered in four ways at the Mount:

I. The DLI Collection
You may contact Meg Raven (902-457-6403) [], the University’s designated DLI Contact, who then will download the requested files to the local network. As indicated in the Faculty Handbook , DLI is “unsupported” by the Library, i.e. instructors and research assistants are expected to be familiar with the steps for accessing files which have been downloaded to the local network, and with using statistical software.

II. Equinox Data Delivery Systems – formerly IDLS (on and off-campus access)
The Equinox Data Delivery Systems website at the University of Western Ontario provides access to a large number of DLI survey files. If you are familiar with using statistical software, you can select variables for marking and downloading. In addition, using the Beyond 20/20 browser will enable you to display and format many tables with little difficulty. Please refer to Beyond 20/20 : A Brief Introduction for guidance.
Note : Since Mount faculty and students have direct access to Equinox from campus offices and labs there is no need to use the DLI Contact as your intermediary.

E-Stat may provide the data needs for the majority of your students by providing access to the Censuses and to CANSIM (Canadian Socio-Economic Information Management System) time series with annual updates.
UPDATE: Please note that the Statistics Canada portal E-STAT has been discontinued and will no longer be available as of July 1st, 2013.

We encourage you to use the free CANSIM database and the Census portal on the Statistics Canada website

B. What’s Available from DLI
The DLI site can be reached using the following path:
Statistics Canada >> English >> Learning Resources >> Postsecondary >>Data Liberation Initiative >> DLI Collection
Under “DLI Collection”

the public and librarians have access to guides for identifying surveys and data sets. The DLI site provides the following information:

DLI product release dates

Survey Names and Acronyms in both official languages:

Listing of Surveys :

An alphabetical list of surveys which are available for ftping. Survey Name / Acronym / Year / Availability by Medium i.e. CD, FTP or Web / SPSS Code Availability

Search/Browse the Collection on the Web

Searching the Collection : A very useful source for Faculty and Researchers who are new to DLI.

You may enter a search term which then lists the relevant surveys and data sets.

Once you select a survey by name you will be provided with an abstract and information on using the data files, and links to a listing of files for each survey. While the DLI Contact alone is able to transfer the data files ( often compressed “zip” files which must be unzipped) to the local network, any Faculty member or research assistant on campus can download the pdf and wpd files which will provide useful documentation ( code books etc.) for interpreting the survey data.

Additions and changes to the FTP Collection