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News Articles - Online look at Alberta first of its kind

Online look at Alberta first of its kind:
St. Albert and Morinville pas and present part of unique web project
St. Albert Gazette, October 05, 2005
By Susan Jones

(Copyright Gazette Press Ltd. 2005)

The new Alberta Online Encyclopedia, launches Thursday by the Heritage Community Foundation, is the biggest and perhaps the best tool of its kind in North America.

"It's best in terms of concentration on one subject — Alberta — and no other province or state has such an authoritative site," said Adriana Davies, executive director for the Heritage Community Foundation.

For the past seven years she managed and oversaw the development of the Web site, which can be found at www.albertasource.ca.

The site contains more than 12,000 pages of multimedia material, including more than 40,000 photographic images, 3,000 audio files and approximately 300 video files.

"And it's growing," said Davies adding that most of the actual writing of the online encyclopeida was done by foundation staff in partnership with local museums and historical societies and cultural groups, including the francophone and Métis societies and scientific and industrial groups, such as the Canadian Petroleum Producers.

"It will showcase Alberta's historical, natural, cultural, scientific and technological heritage," said Davies, who stressed the reliability and authoritative nature of the Web site.

"It's like Google for Alberta, except the sites are authoritative because we worked with museums, historians and educators."

Davies gave a mini tour of the Web site by alternately typing the names "St. Albert" and "Morinville" into the search square. The site offered more than 200 references to St. Albert, while Morinville had 28 references. St. Albert's pages had links to its Métis historical past but also offered a modern-day garden tour and a photo album. Morinville's site had links to nearby communities, such as Riviere Qui Barre, as well as links to Edmonton's coal mining history.

Davies estimated the value of contributions to the online encyclopedia at $10 million, but it will remain as a free resource to anyone who wishes to use it.

"It is unique because we partnered with archivists and with the scientific community. It is a centennial gift to the people of Alberta that will continue to give as well as being universally accessible." she said.

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