For Archives Week we thought it would be fun to highlight our oldest and our newest digital projects, since we have been creating them for so long. The internet has changed a lot since we put up our first digital project. For context, Internet Explorer was released in 1995, the same year as our earliest documented digital project.
"Digital project" is a term we use to broadly cover the websites, databases, and digital exhibits that we create using materials and documents from our collections in order to promote them and make them more accessible.
While we can’t say for sure what our absolute oldest digital project is, we believe that one of the first that was up and running (and is still standing in its original ‘90s glory) is The Northwest Resistance (1995) which was created in conjunction with Resources for Aboriginal Studies (1995), a website which has since been incorporated into the newer Our Legacy (2008). The Northwest Resistance is a database of materials from our collection on the 1885 resistance led by Louis Riel.
We have two digital projects which we would consider our newest – having both come out at about the same time. One being the Howdy McPhail Aerial Photographs (2019) which is an online image database of aerial photographs taken of towns and farms in the Canadian prairies. The other is the Rosen Veterinary Medicine History (2019) site which discusses and displays items from the extensive Rosen Collection of Veterinary Medicine History found in our Special Collections. We also have the Jack Rosen fonds (MG 536) in our archival holdings as well.
Comparing our oldest and newest digital projects really gives a sense of how the internet and web design has grown over the last 25 or so years. As technology has progressed we have also been able to add more content, and at a higher digital quality, than we were in the past. New software has allowed us to add new features like the McPhail map which allows you to find images that have been pinned to a map in the geographic location the photo was taken.
These are just a selection of the many digital projects we have created over the years. Do you have a favourite that wasn't listed here?