KEEPING OUR STORIES ALIVE

The ArQuives Is Now Available Online and Accessible from Anywhere

The ArQuives Is Now Available Online and Accessible from Anywhere

The ArQuives Is Now Available Online and Accessible from Anywhere

By: Mandy Byron

The ArQuives Online Search Portal
The ArQuives Online Search Portal

From the beginning The ArQuives was aware of the impact and value of digital technology.  As early as 1983, we secured a grant to purchase our first computer, and in 1991 we purchased the InMagic Database software to catalogue and describe different types of material.  Overtime, our system grew to 15 separate databases with inconsistent data entry fields across the system and software quickly became obsolete, which could no longer be called a “flexible information management system.” Most importantly, the data could not be made available online, until this week when we launched our ArQuives Online and Accessible Database.

Result of Search for Mirha Soleil Ross fond
Result of Search for Mirha Soleil Ross fond

Making this happen was not an easy task. The work began in 2017, when Raegan Swanson reached out to library and archive digital consultants Andornot who provided us with a road map to make this happen.  Raegan took this plan to various sponsors in the community to secure funding for the software and the staffing required to clean up the data, migrate it to the new system and then create the seamless interface that we now call our on-line database.  Recognizing that remote access to our collection through an online database was critical to our long-term capacity as Canada’s largest LGBTQ2+ archive TD Bank came to the table in 2018 with funding to help us populate the database and clean up some of the data that had been migrated over from the old system.  The Pride and Remembrance Foundation also generously supported this initiative designating The ArQuives as one of the recipients of the funds raised through the 2018 Pride and Remembrance Run.

TD logo Pride and Remembrance Run logo
TD logo Pride and Remembrance Run logo

Spending hundreds of hours on the project, archive assistant Charly Wreggitt was instrumental in cleaning up the existing data as well as adding fond level descriptions of our collections with the support of long-time volunteer Alan Miller.  Systems are in place to ensure that as new collections are processed and described they will be integrated into the online database.

The result of this multi-year project is a search engine architecture and user interface that will allow researchers to search the diverse collection of The ArQuives, wherever they are located, to delve into the collections, see connections between items, request more information from The ArQuives, and find out more about LGBTQ2+ communities in Canada. Researchers will be able to easily search books, periodicals, audio and visual collections, posters, photograph, artwork, artifacts, and personal and organisational records from anywhere in Canada.

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The ArQuives Is Now Available Online and Accessible from Anywhere

The ArQuives Is Now Available Online and Accessible from Anywhere

By: Mandy Byron

The ArQuives Online Search Portal
The ArQuives Online Search Portal

From the beginning The ArQuives was aware of the impact and value of digital technology.  As early as 1983, we secured a grant to purchase our first computer, and in 1991 we purchased the InMagic Database software to catalogue and describe different types of material.  Overtime, our system grew to 15 separate databases with inconsistent data entry fields across the system and software quickly became obsolete, which could no longer be called a “flexible information management system.” Most importantly, the data could not be made available online, until this week when we launched our ArQuives Online and Accessible Database.

Result of Search for Mirha Soleil Ross fond
Result of Search for Mirha Soleil Ross fond

Making this happen was not an easy task. The work began in 2017, when Raegan Swanson reached out to library and archive digital consultants Andornot who provided us with a road map to make this happen.  Raegan took this plan to various sponsors in the community to secure funding for the software and the staffing required to clean up the data, migrate it to the new system and then create the seamless interface that we now call our on-line database.  Recognizing that remote access to our collection through an online database was critical to our long-term capacity as Canada’s largest LGBTQ2+ archive TD Bank came to the table in 2018 with funding to help us populate the database and clean up some of the data that had been migrated over from the old system.  The Pride and Remembrance Foundation also generously supported this initiative designating The ArQuives as one of the recipients of the funds raised through the 2018 Pride and Remembrance Run.

TD logo Pride and Remembrance Run logo
TD logo Pride and Remembrance Run logo

Spending hundreds of hours on the project, archive assistant Charly Wreggitt was instrumental in cleaning up the existing data as well as adding fond level descriptions of our collections with the support of long-time volunteer Alan Miller.  Systems are in place to ensure that as new collections are processed and described they will be integrated into the online database.

The result of this multi-year project is a search engine architecture and user interface that will allow researchers to search the diverse collection of The ArQuives, wherever they are located, to delve into the collections, see connections between items, request more information from The ArQuives, and find out more about LGBTQ2+ communities in Canada. Researchers will be able to easily search books, periodicals, audio and visual collections, posters, photograph, artwork, artifacts, and personal and organisational records from anywhere in Canada.

Leave a reply

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CONTACT US


Telephone: 416-777-2755
Email: queeries@arquives.ca

Street Address:
34 Isabella Street
Toronto, ON M4Y 1N1

Mailing Address:
The ArQuives
P.O. Box 699
663A Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M4Y 1Z9

PUBLIC HOURS

6:30 pm - 9:00 pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

1:00 pm - 5:00 pm Friday

NOTE TO RESEARCHERS:

Some of our materials are stored off site. Before visiting the archives, please send us an email at queeries@arquives.ca listing in detail the topics and sources that you wish to consult and we will let you know when they will be available. We aim to respond to email inquiries within 4 business days.

CONSTRUCTION NOTICE:

As we continue our efforts to make The ArQuives more accessible, we are renovating the front of the house to add a ramp to the front entrance. Please note that there will not be any construction work done during public service hours. Should there be any disruptions affecting our access to the front door and/or work in the house during this process, we will post a notice as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding and patience as we try to make The ArQuives more accessible to all. If you have any questions/concerns, please contact the Executive Director, Raegan Swanson, at executivedirector@arquives.ca


The ArQuives is located on the traditional lands of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishnaabe and the Huron-Wendat. Today, Toronto is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.

The ArQuives strives to gather the stories of the unheard and silenced voices of the 2SLGBTQ+ first peoples of this land. We acknowledge that some stories have already been lost, and we aim to ensure that those that remain and those that are to come are preserved for the future.