09 January 2017

DHCP Round 1 Achievements: Major Projects

Objectives for the first round of the Library and Archives Canada Documentary Heritage Communities Program were:
Increase access to, and awareness of Canada's local documentary institutions and their holdings, specifically:
- Conversion and digitization for access purposes;
- The development (research, design and production) of virtual and physical exhibitions, including travelling exhibits;
- Collection, cataloguing and access based management; and
- Commemorative projects.

Increase the capacity of local documentary heritage institutions to better sustain and preserve Canada's documentary heritage, specifically:
- Conversion and digitization for preservation purposes;
- Conservation and preservation treatment;
- Increased digital preservation capacity (excluding digital infrastructure related to day-to-day activities);
- Training and workshops that improve competencies and build capacity; and
- Development of standards, performance and other measurement activities.

Awards were announced on 14 December 2015 with 65 proposals funded. Proponents only had until 31 March 2016 to complete the work. Final reports were due shortly thereafter.

Four projects receiving more than $50,000.

  • The Canadian Research Knowledge Network's Canadian National Heritage Digitization Index was granted $71,683. 

The award, to develop an index of  digitized Canadian heritage collections located at Canadian universities and provincial and territorial libraries, was announced on 18 December on the network website. The objective was to increase awareness of, and access to digital heritage collections in Canada, to support the academic research enterprise and to facilitate information sharing within the Canadian documentary heritage community.
The tasks were described as collection, cataloguing and access based management; development of standards, performance and other measurement activities and; communication and publicity.
A news release that the website had gone live was issued on 31 March 2016.
As of 18 April 2016 over 600 collections had been identified, indexed and posted on the CNDHI site. Between launch and 28 April 5,493 external page views from 820 unique users had been recorded. The initiative was profiled in the message from the Executive Director with a full page article in the Canadian Research Knowledge Network 2015-2016 Annual Report (pdf) at which time the CNDHI included 1,109 collections from 142 institutions. As of this post there are 1,241 collections of which 131 have Library and Archives Canada, not described as a collection source, as the hosting institution.
The final report stated that the cost of the project exceeded the grant by $741. Consultant fees (65%) and salaries (34%) were the major costs.

  • Dr. James Naismith Basketball Foundation's The Brothers of the Wind Documentary Heritage Project received $69,946.

The project covered a broad range of activities. The final report dated 18 April 2016 documents
- development of a travelling exhibit which was displayed at another institution, another exhibit ready for display and another in development;
- four workshops attended by a total of 17 people;
- 30 linear meters of textual material, 1,800 items of graphic material and five hours of A/V material converted to digital format;
- cataloguing 2,400 artifacts
- upgrading of equipment and policies
Materials and supplies accounted for 52% of the expenditure, catalogue and interpretive material 25% and salaries 22%.
There is no mention of social media activity and the grant receives no acknowledgement on the Foundation website. Neither is reported as being mentioned in a presentation to the local council.
As a result of the project the final report mentioned 80 visitors with four repeat users and three institutions interested in long-term project usage.

  • Arnprior and McNab/Braeside Archives Online Digital Expansion of the Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives was granted $63,655.

The objective was characterized as to increased digital preservation capacity building (excluding digital infrastructure related to day to day activities).
Achievements described in the final report were "The current website was migrated and online analytics have begun. Both the in-house database and the online search engine have been updated to current versions, giving a modernized look and feel, including viewable results on smartphones and other devices. See www.adarchives.org/
As well a selection of documents were successfully added to the search engine to test out functionality for future phases. Now, besides the collections database,searches can be made across 228 Family Historian newspaper articles by local author Patrick Wohler, three exhibits and municipal bylaws at the same time. Researchers are eagerly awaiting the ability to do this for the newspaper collection in a future phase. We continue to correct a few technical glitches as they become apparent.
70% of the expenditures were attributed to "other costs."
The awarding of the grant was acknowledged on the AMBA Facebook page, in the annual reports of the President and Archivist at the AGM, available online, as well as on the website front page with a photo of the National Librarian and Archivist and a link to an interview with Archivist Laurie Dougherty.

  • Nunavut Bilingual Education Society's Iqqaumajuakkuvik Project: Digital Audio Archive of Inuit Oral History received $56,750.

The project was to both increase awareness and capacity.with conversion and digitization for access and preservation.
As a result the final report dated 28 April 2016 stated "we located, acquired and digitized approximately 550 hours of audio and video material, and 350 slides of Inuit history. We researched and spoke to various oral history projects and archives around the world to learn more about contemporary practices and issues in the field. Then we created a policy framework  regarding donations, access and usage. We reached out to (other stakeholders) to inform them of our project and encourage the donation of material.  Finally we identified Inuktitut language podcasts to disseminate over the radio and on the Internet."
77% of expenditures were for consultant fees, and 19% for travel.

I was unable to locate any online resource that publicized, acknowledged funding or otherwise made the project visible, including on the Nunavut Bilingual Education Society website.

From a genealogist perspective the most promising of these project sources are the Canadian National Heritage Digitization Index to assist in locating contextual resources and, Online Digital Expansion of the Arnprior & McNab/Braeside Archives enhancing discoverability for those with roots in the area.

A following post will look specifically at projects with genealogical potential.

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