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As Archives and Museums have had to close due to COVID 19 or are operating with reduced hours and access, it has become more important than ever to maintain visibility and value by providing more resources and information online.

There are still some grants available to help with the cost, and reassuringly the LAC DHCP program funding for 2020-21 has gone through and we are working with recipients on their projects.  There is also a new initiative, the Canada Emergency Support Fund for Heritage Organizations from Heritage Canada which has a submission deadline of  September 1, 2020.   The BC Museums Association and similar organizations in other provinces, provide listings of grants that are available.  We can provide assistance with writing proposals to take advantage of these funding opportunities and always have suggestions for projects that might fit into a grant application, or be feasible if you have any budget available.

Many of the grants are for digitization initiatives as these are one of the best ways of ensuring better access to items in your collections.  As part of the digitization program there is often the option to enhance your web search interface, which is where we can help.  We can work with all sorts of data without necessarily changing your underlying workflow and have you up and running with a modern, very functional site very quickly.  For clients who already have at least part of their collections online using our systems, we are suggesting some relatively simple enhancements such as adding commenting to digitized photos to allow more community involvement.  Take a look at a typical record with comment from Bulkley Valley Museum or from La Société historique de Saint-Boniface.  All comments are moderated before they are displayed which does take some work, but it is also a good opportunity to connect directly with your users.

Another option that is popular with people stuck at home and looking for something useful and interesting to occupy them, is crowdsourcing the transcription of various historical documents. We recommend these be based around a theme such as World War I diaries, or letters from a particular fond or on a selected topic. We can set up a site  using From the Page software ( where clients can upload handwritten digital documents for transcribing.  Apparently there is a surge in interest in this type of project - see this recent article How to Help Librarians and Archivists From Your Living Room. If you’re cooped-up and curious, use your free time to decipher handwriting, tag images, and more.

If you already have digitized content which is not yet available online, we have various options that might not be as costly or as time consuming as you might think!   We can extract metadata from a file structure or we can index the full text of documents to provide search capabilities immediately.  Maybe items have already been digitized by someone else?  Have you looked in the Internet Archive for items relevant to your collection?  Many of these are available for non commercial use and can be incorporated into your own systems quickly and easily.  Or do you have data in other repositories or software that we can integrate to add value?

Please let us know if you might be interested in learning more, or have any other good ideas that we can help you with!

Many organizations have a mandate to engage with their community and provide a forum for dialogue about their collections and their role in their community. Others simply value the information their community has about their collections and welcome feedback and information. For example, in a special library, senior staff may be able to recommend particular works as key texts in their field. In an archives or museum, community members may be able to help identify places and people in photographs, or add information about the history of a place or document.

Our Andornot Discovery Interface offers both simple and more sophisticated methods to assist with “crowdsourcing” campaigns such as these.

1. Every AnDI site can include a button labeled Feedback or Comments with a simple email link, allowing users to send you direct feedback on specific records. While simple, it relies on users having an email client available to send from.


2. AnDI’s selection list (cart) can also be used to solicit feedback from users on many records at once. Users may add records to their cart, then comment on them in a form, with the information sent to you via email directly from AnDI.

3. The more sophisticated approach is to add a more dynamic commenting system to your AnDI site via the third-party Disqus service. Disqus is one the most popular commenting services on the web today, and can be found embedded in a wide variety of websites. It is supported by ad-revenue, but non-profits have the option to opt-out of ad display, and there are no fees for using the service. Each record in AnDI would have its own comment channel / discussion, so that users can comment on or discuss books, photographs, artifacts, archival records, and other information in your site. Disqus offers a robust back-end, so you can choose to have all comments moderated before they appear, and otherwise manage the activity.


The Centre du patrimoine (Heritage Centre) of the Société historique de Saint-Boniface is an archive and research facility dedicated to the preservation, study, dissemination and development of Francophone and Metis history in Manitoba and Western Canada. The Heritage Centre holds more than 500 archival fonds documenting every facet of life from culture to commerce, education to politics and religion to the economy.

The Centre added Disqus commenting to their AnDI site ( a few years ago and has seen regular and meaningful discussions taking place online. In 2019 we adjusted the site to promote records with discussion activity on the home page, and to show a count of comments in search results.

All of the above options will have the greatest success if paired with a campaign to raise awareness of the features and need for assistance. Social media, print media, contests and all the other promotional tools of the trade may be employed.


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