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Canadian Digitization Projects News from UW Library Collections

March 30, 2009

Canadian Digitization Projects 2009

The Center serves as Secretariat for the Pacific Northwest Canadian Studies Consortium. At the Annual General Meeting in Portland, Sion Romaine (right), UW Canadian Studies Librarian and Gary Wilson, University of Northern British Columbia, look over meeting notes.

It’s not news that the world wide web has become the preferred information portal for students and faculty doing research. With the web now being the biggest service point for many organizations, libraries and other government agencies around the world have ramped up digitization projects. Two recently completed digitization projects that will be of interest to Canadian Studies scholars include Victoria’s British Colonist newspaper and select films from the National Film Board of Canada. A third resource, the Canadian Music Centre, streams archival recordings through their website.

The University of Victoria, in cooperation with the Victoria Times-Colonist and other British Columbia libraries, has fully digitized the British Colonist newspaper (predecessor to the Times-Colonist). Full text searching of every issue from December 1858 to June 1910 is now available free online at

Canada’s National Film Board (NFB) has created an online screening room as part of a $1.3 CDN million project to digitize its collection of historic films. More than 700 films, chosen by a group of filmmakers and curators, are now online, including Oscar-winning and nominated films like Neighbours, I’ll Find a Way, and The Cat Came Back, as well as documentaries on a wide range of topics. Films may be searched by keyword, director, language, year, genre or length. Thematic playlists are included. Available free online at

As the primary place to find scores, parts and recordings of Canadian contemporary music composers, the Canadian Music Centre (CMC) is a unique information resource for composers, media, presenters, conductors, choreographers, performers, broadcasters, students and all those who simply listen to and enjoy music. The CMC has five centers across Canada, in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Sackville. For those of you not close to a physical location, the Centre offers a free-of-charge lending library of over 15,000 scores and/or works of Canadian contemporary music composers. In addition, their website, offers live chat research assistance and free streaming access to nearly 9000 archival recordings. Tune in, sit back and enjoy!

(The Center’s Canadian Music Collection, initiated by former Affiliated Graduate Student, Devon Leger, has just been expanded by 2007-08 FLAS Fellow (French), Cody Case. See pg. 10 for an introduction to the latest collection of modern Canadian music.)

The Canadian Studies collection held by the University of Washington Libraries is one of the premier collections in the nation comprising over 155,000 cataloged volumes, including government publications, an estimated 39,000 map sheets, and the second largest video collection in the country. Sion Romaine has served as the UW Canadian Studies Librarian since 2006.