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Five fantastic resources

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Published: 25 Jan 2001

McGill has launched a quintet of fascinating new databases, on everything from hospital architecture to Canada's fur trade, that are now available online.

McGill launches quintet of online digital collections

Access to a wealth of architectural and genealogical documents held at McGill is now available outside the University’s libraries. McGill has transformed thousands of physical resources -- from texts and maps to photos and images -- into five digital information banks that are easily retrievable though the web. (Please read on for more details on each site that examines everything from hospital architecture to Canada’s fur trade).

The creation of the new online databases was made possible with the support of public and private funds: $175,000 from Industry Canada’s Canada’s Digital Collections Program, $62,501 from the Canadian Millennium Partnership Program, $85,000 from the Quebec government’s Treasury Board (Information Highway Fund), $10,000 from the Hudson’s Bay History Foundation and $8,000 from Young Canada Works.

All five sites are being officially launched on January 26, 11:30 am, at the fourth-floor Nobbs Room of the Redpath Library (3459 McTavish St.). Please note the Honourable Herb Gray, Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister, and Mr David Cliche, Quebec minister for the Information Highway and Government Services, will be present at the event. All journalists are welcome.

The following are brief descriptions of each site:

Edward and W.S. Maxwell: The Canadian Architectural Legacy:

As turn-of-the-century architectural leaders, Edward and W.S. Maxwell left an undeniable mark on the Canadian landscape. Now, through this digital initiative, the full scope of their work may be appreciated by architecture researchers and enthusiasts the world over. The Maxwell site is fully searchable and highlights some seven hundred Maxwell projects that are documented in 16,000 plans and drawings. These are enriched with a wealth of textual and visual materials: notebooks, sketchbooks, scrapbooks, clippings, swatches of decorative fabrics and samples of artifacts proposed to clients. In some cases, archival records are combined with virtual views of selected projects. The collection even features clips of a Maxwell descendant talking about his childhood memories of the architects.


Hospital Architecture in Montreal: An Online Resource Database:

A study of the significant buildings of Montreal would be incomplete without a comprehensive investigation of its many hospitals, both historical and currently operating. Spanning 358 years, from 1642 to the present, the Montreal Hospital Architecture Digital Resource contains over 1000 images, a hospital construction chronology, architectural records and an in-depth case-study of the Royal Victoria Hospital. This resource is a comprehensive web site for investigating the social and architectural evolution of hospitals in the cities and neighbourhoods of the Montreal Urban Community.


Canadian Architect and Builder:

Architecture, urban design, art history and cultural studies browsers will no doubt find this Canadian Architect and Builder (CAB) a rich online resource. The full-text site offers two access points to the contents of CAB’s 22 volumes. It also features late 19th century architectural developments, permitting the study of the role of the Arts and Crafts movement in Canadian interior design. Illustrated with photographs, drawings, plans and elevations, the site displays digitized images of each journal page to insure that the graphical content is available to the user via keyword searches or browses. Additional access points have been included in the advanced search feature, which permits users to search by title, author, document type and date. This digital initiative was produced in collaboration with the McGill’s Blackader-Lauterman Library of Art and Architecture.


In Search of Your Canadian Past: The Canadian Atlas Online Project:

Anyone looking for past land registry records will find the County Atlas Digital database an invaluable resource of township maps, portraits and property records. The searchable site contains 74,000 records and features 23 of 38 Canadian published county atlases. Fifteen additional atlases will be added by June 2001.


In Pursuit of Adventure: The Fur Trade in Canada and the North West Company

McGill also created this fifth online resource to give users an opportunity to travel back in time to the days of Canada’s fur trade. (Please see the attached press release, Navigating Though Time, or log onto the above address for more details).


Founded in October 1996, the McGill Library’s Digital Collections Program operates from the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the McLennan Library. Its primary goal is to provide electronic access to the library’s rare and special collections using digital technologies. Since 1997, the Program has produced online projects, which can be viewed at the following URL: http://imago.library.mcgill.ca/

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