This post was written by Sarah Severson, Digital Initiatives Project Librarian
This is a 3-part series on the Digitization of SEE Magazine and VUE Weekly. This post is an overview of the project, which answers the question: “How?” In the coming weeks, we’ll post a short history & timeline of the publications (the “What”), and close out with a collection of personal memories and discuss the research potential of collections like these (the “Why”). Stay tuned!
Did you hear about the SEE & VUE crowdfunding digitization campaign? Maybe you caught the article on Taproot Edmonton? Perhaps you even donated?
For almost two decades, SEE Magazine was Edmonton’s hub for arts and culture reporting. Since the magazine’s closure in 2011, this trove of cultural history has been locked in bound editions on the shelves of select libraries and archives. When researchers and former writers for the magazine approached University of Alberta Library about a potential digitization project, it was a fantastic fit!
In March 2021, we launched a crowd fundraising campaign in an effort to raise $5,000 for the digitization of SEE Magazine (1993-2011). Thanks to the generosity of the community and some matching funds from the library, we were able expand our digitization goal to include all of the issues of VUE Weekly, another Edmonton-based periodical whose older back issues were previously only available in print (we digitized 1997-2010; the 2011-2018 years are already online).
Now, after a year of taking volumes from our shelves and sending them to our partner at the Internet Archive, we’re excited to announce that we have completely finished scanning SEE Magazine and VUE Weekly! Seventeen years of Edmonton independent news and arts coverage is now available online. All files are uploaded to the Internet Archive as a part of the new Edmonton Independent News collection.
At this time, you’ll find big volumes that each contain 7-9 issues each. When the library originally collected SEE Magazine, we bound them together between hardcovers for easier circulation and to prevent damage to the thin pages. Our plan is to digitize them first and make them available immediately, then we’ll start splitting them up into individual issues for easier access. This work is well underway! In the meantime, you’ll see a combination of larger volumes and individual issues. That’s also why the total number of issues (or search results) may vary.
Searching the Collection
If you are looking for something specific, you can do full-text searches of what has already been digitized using the search box on the right-hand side. In the example below, I’m searching for any mention of “Folk Festival” in the text contents option for full-text. Within the results, each resulting volume is a small text box with my search term highlighted.
If I select a volume, it will automatically open up at the page where my search term “Folk Festival” was found for the first time, highlight it. If the term appears multiple times, all results will be shown on the left-hand sidebar.
The text is all computer-generated with optical character recognition (OCR) software, so the full-text search isn’t perfect given the small type, special fonts and layout of magazines like these. Nevertheless, it will give you a great place to start your research into specific subjects.
Thanks so much for your interest in this project, especially to the generous supporters who donated to our crowdfunding campaign! Stay tuned for parts 2 & 3…