An innovative UBC program has provided more than $1 million in funding to help B.C. communities promote their unique histories to audiences around the world, thanks to digitization.
The support will allow users to view photos related to the Japanese-Canadian internment on the West Coast in the 1940s, peruse the pages of historical B.C. newspapers and much more.
Launched by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre in 2006, the B.C. History Digitization Program (BCHDP) provides matching grants to support projects that make B.C. heritage freely accessible to the public via the Internet.
This year, nearly $188,000 in matching funds was allocated for 23 projects throughout the province. In total, the BCHDP has awarded more than $1.02 million for 120 grants over the past six years. To view digitized images from past projects, please visit http://ow.ly/az99R and click on the links under “Successful Projects.”
“The BCHDP not only provides funding to make B.C.’s history available to the world – it also represents an investment in our communities,” says Simon Neame, director of the Learning Centre. “Since its inception, the BCHDP has been dedicated to helping libraries, archives, museums and post-secondary institutions share their unique resources with a broader audience.”
“We are again pleased with the breadth and scope of historical material that will be digitized by B.C. institutions as part of this unique financial partnership,” adds Chris Hives, BCHDP coordinator and university archivist.
Sixty-six of the 120 grants given out over the years have supported projects based outside of the Lower Mainland; nearly one-third of the projects have focused on the digitization of photographs. One of this year’s recipients is the West Vancouver Memorial Library, which will use the funds to add 1,500 digitized images to its online repository.
“The B.C. History Digitization Program, together with the support of the Friends of the West Vancouver Library, has made it possible for us to draw attention to a hidden treasure in our keeping,” says Deb Hutchison Koep, deputy director at West Vancouver Memorial Library. “Local collections reflect the community and promote an important sense of ownership over cultural institutions like our Library.”
Many B.C. newspapers have also been digitized since the BCHDP began – including local papers in Prince George. That project’s next stage is focusing on digitizing titles from 1977 to 1985.
“We are extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish with funding from the B.C. History Digitization Program,” says Marc Saunders, public service manager at the Prince George Public Library. “The high-quality images we are acquiring now will be used in some form for many years to come, perhaps even for generations.”
Other items to be digitized in this latest program round include: 1,500 photos and artifacts from Burnaby’s Nikkei National Museum related to the Japanese-Canadian internment on the West Coast between 1941 and 1947; a portion of the extensive Karl Spreitz film archive at the University of Victoria; and photos from The Reach Gallery and Museum Abbotsford for the Abbotsford Living History Project.
A complete list of 2012 funding recipients is available at http://ow.ly/axmEv.