City Archives Launches New Website

The City of Edmonton Archives has a new website!

Our new website is an online catalogue, a powerful search engine to help people find material available in the Archives’ collection. The catalogue has finding aids and entries into the collection, photographs, and digitized documents.

EA-10-78 Fort Edmonton and Legislature Building ca.1912. Just one of the thousands of photographs available on our site.

EA-10-78 Fort Edmonton and Legislature Building ca.1912. Just one of the thousands of photographs available on our site.

It looks very different from our past website, and it has different search tools. We’ve made a guide to using the site and Archivists are happy to help people navigate it.

EA-10-225 100 Street Looking South 1915

EA-10-225 100 Street Looking South 1915

Our database is full of images like 100 Street Looking South (above) which shows a mix of the familiar and the lost. In this case, the Hotel Macdonald and the McLeod Building still stand but the post office on the left is now the site of the Westin Hotel.

EA-784-800 Molson’s Building 7 September 2011

EA-784-800 Molson’s Building 7 September 2011

We continue to acquire images of life in Edmonton and make them available on our new website. The image above, Molson’s Building, is only a few years old but it documents something that is gone now. Our website will help to connect long time Edmontonians to their past and help newcomers learn about the history of their new home.

The website’s purpose is not just images though. We’re still adding content but very soon it will be a robust record of our processed collection. Up to now, a large portion of our catalogue was only available to Archivists. Our goal is to have catalogue entries on items available to the public. This means people will be able to browse for themselves and not rely so much on an Archivist finding material for them. People may need to come to the Archives to view most of the documents but in the future there will be more content online. The Archivists are still valuable allies; we’ll still be here to help with our intimate knowledge of the collection.

Collaboration with the Office of the City Clerk

We work closely with the Office of the City Clerk (OCC) to ensure City records of permanent value are scheduled and transferred to the Archives when they are no longer active and used frequently. And now the website allows us to collaborate in a new way: we are hosting searchable scans of current bylaws on our site.

The OCC staff were looking for a better way to have frequently requested current bylaws online. The official copy of bylaws is still the paper copy and in order to get a digital copy online they must be scanned as pdfs. The Open Data Catalogue is not set up to have searchable pdfs but our online catalogue is. So we offered them space and, because they are searchable, they are much easier to find through an online search (through Google for example).

Bylaws are legal documents that are kept permanently. When these current bylaws are repealed (replaced or made obsolete) they will be coming to the Archives. Having searchable scans already available to the public on our site will make the transfer that much easier. Online space for them/easier transfer for us, it’s a win win!

Official Launch in October

The new website is available now at https://cityarchives.edmonton.ca/ and we’ll officially launch it during Alberta Archives Week, the first week of October. Join us at City Hall on Thursday, October 4 at 3:30pm to help us celebrate our new website!

Invitation_archivesLaunch

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About the Author
Elizabeth Walker
Elizabeth has a Masters of Archival Studies from UBC and she’s been the City’s digital archivist since September 2010. She’s passionate about outreach and increasing engagement between the Archives and the community.
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