Written by Sarah Severson
Did you know that the University of Alberta Library has a huge collection of digitized items, many of them dating back a century or more?
2019 has been a busy year for the University of Alberta Library’s digitization program and has seen us add almost 22,000 new items to our Internet Archive collection.
For several years, we have partnered with Internet Archive as our digitization partner, and this year we expanded our scanning center at the RCRF and opened up a second scanning center on North Campus that can accommodate rare or special materials. In addition to this new digitization capacity, we’ve also started to upload material digitized in the past with other partners, and giving it a new home in the Internet Archive.
We’re adding new things every day, so check back in!
Highlights from the Past Year
Peel’s Prairie Provinces Internet Archive collection holds material related to Western Canadian history and the culture of the Prairie Provinces. For users of our larger Peel’s Prairie ProvincesDigital Collection, this new collection provides complementary additions.
The collection includes material such as:
- 3516 issues of the Gateway newspaper that cover 100 years of student publishing history (1916-2016)
- Local newspapers such as: the Vulcan Advocate, The Raymond Recorder, Didsbury Review, the Coleman Journal, Chauvin Chronicle and many more.
427 high resolution scans of a variety of historical postcards depicting scenes of life on the prairies in the late 19th-early 20th centuries. Many of these were scanned as part of SLIS practicum projects, giving students the opportunity to digitize and describe a small, curated set of materials, and make them available to the public.
In the fall we digitized 800+ playbills housed at the University of Alberta’s Bruce Peel Special Collections. These document in detail the casts, contents, dates and prices of the performances staged in major playhouses of the United Kingdom from 1779 though 1949. The playbills also provide a wealth of information and opportunity for research in the study of history, graphic design and linguistics.
This is not all!
In total, we have almost 125,000 thousand items in the Internet Archive and we are actively working on other major projects. Go to: archive.org/details/university_of_alberta_libraries to explore some of our other collections!
The Internet Archive is a non-profit organization dedicated to building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. With a mission to provide Universal Access to All Knowledge, Internet Archive forms partnerships with institutions like ours to digitize various materials and make them available to anyone, anywhere in the world. Internet Archive is our primary digitization partner.
The Internet Archive interface offers a few key features, including:
- Full-text search of each item: Internet Archive uses an automated process, OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to “transcribe” the text by machine, so it may not be perfect every time, especially for historical items or funky typography! Search each item individually or search the texts of an entire collection.
- Download high-resolution files: Each item includes the highest resolution files we have that you can download yourself as image files or PDF; see download option the left-hand side of each item.
- Find something that you need to “Borrow” or “Join Waitlist”? That means it’s still under copyright, so your ability to download & copy the item is limited. Create a free account with Internet Archive to Borrow for 2 weeks at a time or join the waitlist.
- Need to download a whole collection for your research? You can do that using the Internet Archive’s command-line interface.
Internet Archive is one of the many places where we hold U of A’s digitized collections; find more digital collections at: https://library.ualberta.ca/digital-initiatives/digital-collections
Questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org