On Wednesday, April 11, 2012, San Diego, California-based Soutron Global announced that the Royal Canadian Military Institute (RCMI), which has Canada’s largest privately-held military library, had completed their conversion to Soutron Global from InMagic. The RCMI is based in Toronto, Canada.
The RCMI was founded by a group of fifty army officers in 1890. Albert Henry George Grey (1851-1917), 4th Earl Grey (1894-1917), Governor-General of Canada (1904-1911), laid the cornerstone in 1907.
The founding president was Lieutenant Colonel William Dillon Otter (1843-1929), later General Sir William Dillon Otter. It is analogous to the Royal United Services Institution (RUSI), also known as the Royal United Services Institute for Defence & Security Studies, a think tank founded by Field Marshall Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852), the 1st Duke of Wellington (1814-1852), 1st Duque de Ciudad Rodrigo(1812-1852) in the Spanish nobility, 1st Prince of Waterloo (1815-1852) in the Dutch nobility, in 1831.
In 2008, the RCMI entered into an agreement to demolish its graceful building to allow Tribute Communities to construct a forty-two-story condominium tower with a six-floor freehold in the new building that would actually provide more space. Part of the façade of the old building would be reconstructed as an integral part of the new mixed-use building and part of the old building’s interior would be recreated in the RCMI space of the new one.
According to itself, “The RCMI, that unique mix of educational institute, military library, active social club, and affordable accommodation is on the move- first across town and then skyward. The RCMI on University Avenue, fronted by its British army cannons from the Napoleonic wars, has been a Toronto landmark since 1890. However, with appropriate ceremony and flag lowering on June 18, 2010, the century-old building closed, before being demolished to make way for spectacular new premises.”
During the construction process, the RCMI’s librarian and museum curator have been at work on research and digitizing the RCMI catalogue of collections. Upon re-opening, the RCMI will display hitherto unseen Canadian military artifacts.
The 15,000 volume RCMI Research Library holdings include significant books detailing Canada’s military history, including digitized historical archives from the 17th Century. The library’s wide range of subject matter encompass: the unified Canadian Armed Forces (the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, and Royal Canadian Air Force); training and equipment; tactics and strategy; uniforms; medals; war art; and poetry. The RCMI permits a detailed study of subjects not readily found elsewhere.
Librarian Penny Lipman, B.A., MLS, needed an efficient solution which could accommodate not only the books in the RCMI collection, but also one that could seamlessly evolve to incorporate photographs and archival material. Additionally, she required a system that would securely provide a Web-based searchable catalog with basic Guest gateway access and a Login for exclusive member-only feature access.
The RCMI Library began with a donation of 200 volumes from “the late Militia Institute.” In 1925, a second large donation of 733 volumes came from the estate of Colonel George T. Denison. By the mid-1930s, through donations and purchases, the collection consisted of over 10,000 volumes.
Since transforming the library catalog with the use of book covers, self-issue, along with reviews and ratings capabilities, Ms. Lipman is particularly impressed by “the Library of Congress auto-cataloging feature [which] is an invaluable help with the backlog, to lighten the load on a solo librarian.” Founded in 1890, the RCMI included “the promotion of Military Art, Science and Literature” in its mission, with a core element of the RCMI’s activities being the field of “Defense Studies,” particularly on issues related to Canadian military heritage and contemporary Canadian security.
According to Soutron Global, it “upholds the RCMI’s mission by providing an informal social knowledge-based network for discussions related to matters of ‘security and defense.’ Specifically, its social knowledge-based network enables public and private users of the RCMI library the ability to comment on and rate materials.”
“I am delighted to be able provide RCMI a secure, state-of-the-art library and knowledge management solution that delivers access to not only their historic possessions, but also provides RCMI members with enhanced Social Knowledge Networks (SKN) ,” stated Tony Saadat, President & CEO of Soutron Global.