It was my great pleasure to join the City of Vancouver Archives as a work experience student from Fall 2010 until Spring 2011. This was a UBC-SLAIS professional experience project that focused on the creation of a web presence for the Archives’ Major Matthews Early Vancouver Online project.
First, I developed a design and layout for a template that was used for the Major Matthews section of the Archives’ website. Using the Matthews template as a guide, I created the individual pages that formed this section. Some of the pages focused on the project itself, while others focused on the Major and his work.
I then created and organized the Volume One web page so that viewers have three options. You can
- search the entire volume by keyword
- download Volume One in its entirety, in either PDF-A or ODF format, or
- download/view any of the 254 individual chapters of Volume One in PDF-A format
The template created for Volume One will be used by Archives staff for Volumes Two to Seven.
Early Vancouver Volume One presented some major archival and technical challenges. These had to be overcome in order to bring this digitized resource to the web in a form that was befitting of the original source. Sometimes I wondered whether the Major and his cat were sitting next to my computer to make sure this happened. I think the Major would be pleased to see the end result, with his years of hard work being brought to a wider audience via the web.
The Major’s work was groundbreaking and unique, and it is one of the most used, and most loved, resources in the Archives. In the past, Matthew’s Early Vancouver could only be used by researchers in the Archives’ reading room. However, this project will allow his work to be enjoyed by anyone in the world with Internet access, at any time. It also reduces handling of the badly deteriorating originals, allowing the City of Vancouver Archives to present, promote and preserve Early Vancouver for future generations. It is fitting that its launch in late May will be part of the Archives’ celebration of Vancouver’s 125th Anniversary.
It was a truly wonderful experience to work with Archives Manager Heather Gordon, Digital Conservator Sue Bigelow and Archival Assistant Nancy Mulligan. They are some of the most creative, knowledgeable, hard working, and funny people I have ever met who work at an archives. I want to thank them for allowing me the opportunity to present Major Matthews’ work on Vancouver’s history to the world.
Lisa Snider has been a professional web developer for the last 15 years, working with businesses, organizations, academics and archives from around the world. She is now completing her MAS/MLIS Dual Degree at UBC’s School of Library, Archival & Information Studies.