The Ottawa Jewish Archives has been awarded a $33,900 grant through Library and Archives Canada’s Documentary Heritage Communities Program to digitize the Archives’ photo collections and make them available online.
This grant marks the second time the Archives has received funding through this program. A previous grant was used to establish a partnership with the Canadian Jewish Heritage Network (CJHN) to begin the process of making the collections searchable online.
Archivist Saara Mortensen explained this latest grant will help her take the Archives to the next level, building on the foundation established through the CJHN partnership.
“Now that we have this partnership established, I wanted to be able to share more content, so I applied for this grant to secure funds and make this digitization project happen,” she said. “Ultimately, I want the Archives to be more accessible to the community.”
Previously, to access a photo from the Archives, someone would have to personally visit the Archives office (located within the Greenberg Families Library at the Soloway Jewish Community Centre). Soon, though, the Archives’ entire 5,000-piece collection will be available online.
Mortensen will be digitizing 2,000 photos herself and has hired Sam Hopkins of Ottawa’s Shoebox Studio to digitize the remaining 3,000 images with the goal of making high quality preservation master copies of each photo available to the public.
“I really want to bring the Archives into the 21st century,” said Mortensen, noting the Archives “chronicle the cultural, economic and religious evolution of the Ottawa Jewish community to where it is today.”
Mortensen hopes to have the project completed by September 2017.
The Archives are also planning to digitize all past issues of the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin, dating from this newspaper’s founding in 1937, so that they, too, will be available online. Digital editions of the Bulletin since 2008 are currently available at www.ottawajewishbulletin.com in PDF and page-flip versions.