An update on our VITA Toolkit disruption

Due to an unexpected service interruption, some of our VITA Toolkit digital collections are offline. We are working diligently to restore these collections for public search and discovery. Many are now back online, but as a result of this, you may encounter some links to an “offline” message either on individual VITA Toolkit sites or in the portal. All content will be back and available as soon as possible.

The Government Documents and INK sites are not affected.

Thanks for your patience. Please check back or sign up for our newsletter to receive updates.

Unexpected Service Disruption with VITA Toolkit websites and management

We had an unexpected server issue over the weekend. All VITA sites and accounts are affected. We are currently restoring the sites.

You may see some sites come online ahead of others – the Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario Digital Collections is already back online, for example. Other ODW websites such as will have some links that lead to “offline” content for the moment, but INK and Government Documents are not affected.

We will post an update as soon as you can start using VITA again. We appreciate your patience as we work to resolve this issue. If you have any concerns, please let us know at Thank you!

Our fall webinar series with SOLS

SOLSBilLogo3This fall we are excited to partner with the Southern Ontario Library Service to bring you three (FREE!) webinars exploring the work ODW has done with public libraries to help provide digital content to people living in communities across the province. There’s something here for everyone: students, genealogists, researchers, historians, technologists, library or archives workers, artists, and the curious.

Click on the links to learn more and to register: Continue reading Our fall webinar series with SOLS

Using open-source OCR tools to digitize Indigenous print


Recently ODW’s Art Rhyno consulted on the newspaper digitization pilot project for the National Heritage Digitization Strategy. Our years of work on newspaper digitization have included specialized work with open-source tools to perform text-recognition on underrepresented languages. Digitizing non-Latin scripts can sometimes be difficult with commercial tools, but open-source software allows for customization with almost all syllabics and words.

Continue reading Using open-source OCR tools to digitize Indigenous print

Scheduled downtime for VITA sites and OurOntario

We will see a short interruption in our services for maintenance to our network on Monday March 12th, from 11am to noon EDT. Members will be unable to access the VITA data-management tools during that time, and no VITA collections will be available to the public.

We’re sorry for the inconvenience, but we expect maintenance shouldn’t take more than an hour. Please get in touch with if you have any concerns.

The Francophone Community Grants Program


Magasin Paul Cadieux, in St. Thomas d’Alfred, Ont., from the collection of the Bibliothèque Du Canton d’Alfred-Plantagenet.


The Government of Ontario has announced $1 million in grant funding this year to support community and cultural development of French communities in the province:

“The FCGP seeks to encourage greater social involvement, learning, innovation, and community engagement for Francophones across the province of Ontario, including at the local community, regional, and provincial levels.”

Continue reading The Francophone Community Grants Program

Library and Archives Canada are transcribing the Lady Agnes Macdonald diaries


We had so much fun, we’re doing it again. Library and Archives Canada are starting a second crowdsourced transcription project, after their success with the Coltman Report project using our custom-written transcription tool.

This time: the handwritten diary of Lady Agnes Macdonald from 1867 to 1869, microfilmed years ago but never before available in a searchable format.

Continue reading Library and Archives Canada are transcribing the Lady Agnes Macdonald diaries

Brant County’s VITA collections get lots of press!

Back in 2010, Brant County‘s use of VITA in their local-history digitization projects was featured in an amazing anthology: Digitization In The Real World. This book (free in PDF and other formats from the Internet Archive) is “written by practitioners for practitioners on lessons learned from small to medium-sized digitization projects.” Brant County is the only Canadian organization that contributed to the book, and does a great job of representing the process for small organizations. Archivist Misty de Meo wrote about the challenges of small budgets, the clever tactics used to circumvent it, and the importance of collaboration and partnerships with local organizations. And, of course, we love hearing people talk about their positive experiences with our VITA tools:

Continue reading Brant County’s VITA collections get lots of press!