OurDigitalWorld is the recipient of an Ontario Multicultural Community Capacity Grant

Internment workers
Workers at a Japanese internment camp near Schreiber.

OurDigitalWorld is pleased to announce funding from the Government of Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration through their Multicultural Community Capacity Grant program. OurDigitalWorld, through its award-winning VITA Digital Toolkit and its one-stop search portal OurOntario.ca, is steward to more than 2 million pieces of digital cultural heritage from Ontario. This funding will support our development of educational tools to promote the history of diverse and underrepresented Ontarians and their contributions to the social and cultural life of the province. These stories, sometimes painful, are part of our heritage.

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Our slides from the Creative Commons Canada call

slide1Earlier this week we had a guest spot on the Creative Commons Canada conference call, a monthly-ish event that allows open enthusiasts and practitioners to share their stories. We filled in the Canadian crew on some of the potential activities of the Open GLAM platform and discussed ways in which we can help libraries, archives, and heritage organizations across the country share more of their collections. Continue reading Our slides from the Creative Commons Canada call

The Ontario Historical Society Honours and Awards nominations are now open!


The Ontario Historical Society has opened up nominations rewarding local heroes in heritage and culture:

In 1967, The Ontario Historical Society established an awards program to honour individuals and organizations who have contributed significantly to the preservation and promotion of Ontario’s heritage. Over the years, new awards have been instituted; sixteen are now offered. The Awards program is intended both to acknowledge the work of outstanding individuals and organizations, and to raise public awareness of Ontario’s history and the people who work to preserve and interpret it.

All recipients of awards receive recognition in subsequent publicity, and a framed certificate accompanied by a copy of the citation acknowledging their contribution to the heritage community.

Categories include:

Carnochan Award: Presented to an individual who has contributed many years of service to the heritage community.

President’s Award: Honouring a corporation, business or individual that has contributed to heritage conservation in the recent past.

Scadding Award of Excellence: Awarded to a historical society or heritage group that has made an outstanding contribution to the field of history.

Joseph Brant Award: Honouring the best book on multicultural history in Ontario, published in the past three years.

Fred Landon Award: Honouring the best book on local or regional history in Ontario, published in the past three years.

Alison Prentice Award: Honouring the best book on women’s history in Ontario, published in the past three years.

Check out all the award categories and get your nominations ready!

OurDigitalWorld and Creative Commons Canada


We were delighted to attend the Creative Commons Global Summit in Toronto back in April (and more delighted that it’ll be returning in 2018!) and to talk about open culture with fellow enthusiasts from around the world.

Since the conference, we’ve kept up the dialogue about a number of issues that affect cultural heritage everywhere: digitization and lending rights, a robust public domain, and usable licenses for galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAMs) that don’t always have clear ownership of the materials they steward.

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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.

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The Provincial Digital Library project will demo at the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries!


Earlier this year, we were able to get funding for a Digital Library Developer position to work on the Provincial Digital Library collaboration with the British Columbia Libraries Association. Our amazing DLD, Matt Barry, has been working with Dan Sifton of Vancouver Island University, on a proof-of-concept using Supplejack to ingest heritage content from a variety of institutions and platforms.

Continue reading The Provincial Digital Library project will demo at the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries!

Slides from our OLASC 2017 Sessions

We’ve uploaded the slide-decks from our two sessions at the Ontario Library Association Super Conference 2017:

When Things Get Personal: Privacy and Access in Online Community History

Speakers: Irene Robillard, Cindy Preece, David Bott, Melissa Redden

Bridging the Gap: Linked Open Data for Libraries, Archives, and Museums

Speakers: Stacy Allison-Cassin, Sheila Carey, Danielle Robichaud 

Follow us on Slideshare!


Fugitive Voices: Black-run periodicals in Abolition-era Canada

165 years ago, on February 12th, 1852, Henry Bibb published an announcement in his newspaper, The Voice of the Fugitive, calling for donations to his Homes For Refugees Fund. This was the latest in a long line of advocacy and activism by Bibb; his most notable was the founding of the Voice in 1851.642px-Henry_Bibb.png

Henry Bibb was born in 1815, in Louisville, Kentucky, into slavery. He married a free black woman named Mary Miles in 1848. He escaped when he was 22 and made it to Cincinnati, but returned for his wife Mary and was recaptured. He escaped again – with Mary this time – and they made their way to Detroit, crossing over to Windsor after the Fugitive Slave Act was passed in 1850. They immediately began taking in refugees who had arrived in Canada through the Underground Railroad.

On January 1st, 1851, the first issue of the Voice was published in Sandwich (now Amherstburg). Bibb had also self-published his autobiography by this time – Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, An American Slave. The Bibbs’ Refugee Home Society was also set up in 1851, and during its tenure settled refugees of slavery in approximately 2,000 acres in the Sandwich area. The Bibbs were often available to greet and settle newcomers personally. 

Continue reading Fugitive Voices: Black-run periodicals in Abolition-era Canada