VREs (Virtual Research Environments)

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The Robertson Library's VRE (or Virtual Research Environment) services bring cutting-edge, web-based research and collaboration tools to UPEI researchers and administrative groups. Currently, the Robertson Library maintains over 150 VREs built on our homegrown, open-source Islandora software, which leverages the experience and ability of an international community of users and developers and is based on current best practice for data management.

The VREs extend Robertson Library's commitment to the principles of open and accessible information for the betterment of local, national, and international community of learning and teaching. For this reason, access to our source code is unrestricted. Whoever would benefit or chooses to contribute to the software has access. We also expect that UPEI Faculty and Staff taking advantage of the VRE services will make their research and collections available to the public where it is appropriate.

 * Note: If you are a member of the PEI community working on the development of a community project (without a Primary Investigator/Project Manager that is a Faculty Member at UPEI) please find out more about how UPEI processes these requests, and submit the application found on this page.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a VRE?

As the research process grows increasingly complex, VREs or Virtual Research Environments provide tools for creating, manipulating, and sharing data, as well as keeping it safe. This means that VREs provide a number of web-based tools to support research projects within and across organizations, disciplines, and geographic boundaries. VREs may be private to a group, or contain some publicly available information.  VREs at UPEI are also being used to house digitized community collections, as well as financial and administrative documents. VREs are also developed to facilitate planning and registration for conferences, and events. 


Who may get a VRE?

VREs are available to Faculty, Administrators, and Researchers affiliated with the University of Prince Edward Island. If you are a member of the community without a University of Prince Edward Island affiliation, you may still qualify for a VRE. Please visit this page to apply.


How do I get a VRE for my project or research group? (What is the process?)

The first step in building your VRE is filling out our online application form. You will be contacted by our Repository Manager who will ask additional questions about your VRE, and will confirm receipt of your completed application. Your request is then brought before the  VRE management group (which meets weekly)  for approval. At this stage your project is assigned a VRE manager with knowledge appropriate to your project, and a tech lead.

You will then be contacted to schedule a meeting, where we develop a plan for how your team will work with ours to build a VRE that meets your needs, and to develop a Statement of Work (with timelines, planned features, etc.). The Roberstson Library also supports your group after the VRE is built, providing training and upgrading for your VRE as part of the program's regular maintenance on all VREs. 


What does it cost?

Faculty, Administrators, and Researchers affiliated with the University of Prince Edward Island may apply for a VRE which may involve a cost for setup and maintenance. The fee may be waived on a case-by-case basis, based on sufficient resources and project appropriateness (as determined by the VRE management team).  Customization, support, and integration with other research tools may require additional funding to cover the time of staff and resources. These requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis and managed within the workflow for all VREs. This means that the timeframe for completion of your VRE will be affected by the number of concurrent customization projects.