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Story by Monique Grenier, UBC Masters of Library and Information Science; Former Pearson College UWC Intern

Pearson College UWC is excited to announce the release of the new digital preservation and access platform which allows students, faculty, alumni, and interested users the ability to browse the College’s digital artifact collections.

Specifically focusing on materials related to the inspiration for, and namesake of, the College, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (1957) and former Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, the Digital Archives also contains more than 5,000 images, including digitized photographs and slides, as well as rich historical documents such as reports, meeting minutes, memos and correspondence, and speeches related to the College spanning the years from 1968 through the 1980s.

As a Masters of Library Science intern from the University of British Columbia, I was fortunate to work with Pearson College UWC librarian Dani McArthur (YR 6/1981, Canada) to review and curate the Digital Archive’s contents by incorporating format distinctions as well as community-specific subject headings. This allows users to search across collections by specific keyword and/or organizational, geographic or personal name. Furthermore, the historical document collection contains computer-generated transcripts of the resources which are full-text searchable. These unique features facilitate targeted research and user discovery.

It is our hope that visitors will find just as much use and inspiration from the Digital Archives as many of our readers already have through engagement with the Digital Archives Facebook page. We also welcome the opportunity to enrich the Digital Archives’ integrity as we move forward with protecting and preserving the history of Pearson College UWC though this ongoing digital preservation initiative.

Alumni, friends and supporters alike can enhance the digital archives collection in several ways. If you have historical images or other material of interest that could be digitized, we encourage you to send digital copies in .jpg / .pdf / .tif  formats (please include any pertinent information) to pearson.college.archives@gmail.com along with any known information surrounding the images. You can also submit any factual information you have about images, such as names, dates, locations or other pertinent details, including corrections, to the email address above. (Please note that updates will be inputted as time and resources allow.)

It takes many hands to create a digital archive from scratch. Countless hours were spent by staff and committed volunteers to source, sort and finally digitize boxes and boxes of material. Why Digitize? There are many good reasons:

  • Digital copies help preserve unique objects by protecting them from handling.
  • Digitization allows integration of related materials to form multi-faceted virtual collections.
  • Digital content can lead to advances in intellectual scholarship, as the collection and its resources are electronically available and not bound by physical assess.
  • Developing a collection’s metadata helps facilitate new finding aids and improves intellectual control of the collection.
  • The ability to search, discover, and manipulate images and text in a digital environment helps bring historical significance to a modern context.

As the College begins the run-up to its 50th anniversary, this digital archive will increasingly be a much-consulted and invaluable source of Pearson College UWC’s proud history.

This initiative is made possible by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between the Victoria Foundation, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast.

Cette initiative est rendue possible grâce au Fonds communautaire pour le 150e anniversaire du Canada, qui est une collaboration entre le Victoria Foundation, les fondations communautaires canadiennes, le gouvernement du Canada et des leaders extraordinaires de l’Atlantique au Pacifique à l’Arctique.