In nearly every case, “historical geodata” means a paper map. Digitizing that map gives us an image of a paper map. While an image can be useful, historical maps turned into actionable data are much more useful. Moving geodata from paper to electronic data can be complicated and involve many actions, including:
- Describe the map accurately, preferably using standard terms
- Digitize the map
- Georectify the digitized image (associate points in the image with their geocoordinates, for example, so that the image can be positioned on OpenStreetmap or Google Maps exactly where it belongs)
- Extract image features—such as polygons, text, or contour lines—as digital layers
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, flagship building of the New York Public Library. Photographer Sue Bigelow.
From November 5-7, 2014, I attended a meeting of 54 people from three continents at the New York Public Library called Moving Historical Geodata to the Web. This meeting, including expenses for attendees, was funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. We were the only archives and the only Canadian institution represented. Continue reading
Thanks to funding from the British Columbia History Digitization Program, we’ve recently completed a project to digitize over eight thousand images from the Pacific National Exhibition fonds that you can easily view and re-use. In addition, we’ve digitized another 874 images that are under copyright to other parties, but which can be viewed at the Archives. The dates range from 1914 to 1980.
Man and woman eating foot-long hotdogs from P.N.E. Gayway concession stand, 1953. Photographer unknown. Reference code AM281-S8-: CVA 180-2219.
These photographs were either created for the P.N.E. or collected by the P.N.E. staff. They document a wide variety of activities at the fair, including rides, displays, competitions and performances.
Women on Sky Glider chair lift, 1971. Photographer Bob Tipple. Reference code AM281-S8-: CVA 180-6891.
Many buildings on the site are shown, including: Continue reading
In October, I attended the annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) in Savannah, Georgia. Here are a few of the highlights.
One view of the vendor’s area of the conference. Photograph by Lindy Leong for AMIA
Christmas trees were burned at the beach. The Champlain Heights neighbourhood was developed. Vancouver submitted a bid for the 1976 Winter Olympic Games. Civic elections were held every two years. The Georgia Viaduct was replaced. Habitat I was held here. The federal Local Initiatives Program funded many labour-intensive projects.
North side of intersection of Broadway and MacDonald Street, looking east, April, 1976. Reference code COV-S663-4—: CVA 800-286. Photographer Al Ingram.
Now you can easily explore all the issues discussed by City Council in the 1970s. We’ve made the minutes of Vancouver City Council meetings, along with the accompanying reports, searchable online. Continue reading
In early November, I attended the annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) in Richmond, Virginia. Here are a few of the highlights.
Buttons from AudioVisual Preservation Solutions, consultants specializing in AV preservation.
The Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) is an association for many different types of professionals involved in the preservation and access of moving image heritage. Members come from all over the world to attend the conference.
In partnership with the Digital Library Federation, AMIA held its first Hack Day. Software developers and non-developers (like me!) spent a day solving problems. I was part of the group of non-developers that created a guide to using FFmpeg software which was aimed at archivists who would like to use it but find it too complex. We put the guide on a wiki, expecting it to become more useful as information is added. Our group won one of the jury prizes. Continue reading
Thanks to funding provided by the Friends of the Vancouver City Archives, we have been able to describe and digitize over one thousand of James Crookall’s images and make them available online.
James Crookall was born November 7, 1887 in Preston, Lancashire, and came to Vancouver as a child. Throughout his life, Crookall was an avid amateur photographer and an enthusiastic outdoorsman. He was an active member of the Vancouver Photographic Society and regularly exhibited his photographs in international salons. He died on July 27, 1960, and his fonds was donated to the Archives by Mrs. Doris Crookall in 1979.
Self portrait, 1938. Reference code AM640-: CVA 260-978.
Thanks to funding from the British Columbia History Digitization Program, we’ve completed a project to digitize 512 maps and plans in our holdings. Here are some highlights from the project. We’ve provided links to descriptions in our database so you can click through to the full-resolution versions of the maps if you’d like to examine them in detail. Here’s the link for the map below.
Panoramic view of the City of Vancouver, 1898. Detail from reference code AM1594-: MAP 547
The project makes these maps available to everyone quickly online, and makes them easy to re-use. It reduces damage to the oversized originals due to handling, as they no longer have to be retrieved from storage. Very light-sensitive materials, like blueprints, may be kept in the dark so they don’t fade. Continue reading
In early December, I attended the annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) in Seattle. Here are a few of the highlights.
The Cinerama has been restored to its 1963 space-age look. A showing of “Hendrix 70: Live at Woodstock” was a highlight outside of the conference program. Photograph: Sue Bigelow
The Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) is a professional association for those involved in the preservation and access of moving image heritage. Members come from all over the world to attend the conference.
There was an excellent workshop on uses of ffmpeg for archivists. Ffmpeg is open source, free software for working with multimedia files. One of the advantages for archives is that ffmpeg is always adding the capability of working with new types of files, but not getting rid of any old functionality. This means that if archivists encounter an outdated type of file, ffmpeg may be able to work with it. Ffmpeg software can analyze a file and report on all the different kinds of data inside. We store the original files in our digital archives but we also create another version using ffmpeg that can be viewed on a modern computer. Continue reading
Did you enjoy the recent Khatsahlano Music and Arts Festival and want to know more about the origin of the name? Conversations with Khahtsahlano 1932-1954 is now online at the Internet Archive.
We uploaded it a while ago but there was a glitch that sent it to our film collection. That’s been fixed, and it’s now available in several text formats and in the online reader.
Published in 1955, it contains transcriptions of conversations between Vancouver’s first City Archivist, Major J.S. Matthews, and August Jack Khahtsahlano, a Squamish chief born in 1877 near the site of the Burrard Bridge. Over the course of 22 years Chief Khahtsahlano recounted details of his family and their lives as well as stories about local events. Matthews in turn transcribed the visits and augmented them with maps, drawings and photographs.
A few weeks ago, I attended the annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists in Austin, Texas. Here are a few of the highlights.
Austin calls itself the Live Music Capital of the World and there are performance stages everywhere. This is the live stage at the Whole Foods flagship store.
The Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) is a professional association for those involved in all aspects of the preservation and access of moving image heritage, including those from film and digital labs, production studios and archives both large and small. It’s a friendly, active group with members from all over the world. Continue reading