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History at the Click of a Mouse
Edmonton Sun, September 30, 2005
By Graham Hicks
(copyright The Edmonton Sun 2005)
Congrats to Adriana Davies and the Heritage Community Foundation, finally launching the Alberta Online Encyclopedia (albertasource.ca) with great ceremony yesterday at the TELUS World of Science.
This is a megaproject, almost on a scale with Mel Hurtig’s Canadian Encyclopedia in the ‘80s. Except that this project’s mandate is not purely historical, and it’s internet-based.
Not to bore you with its own history, but the money ($3 million) was found to hire 25 full-time IT/academic researchers and up to 50 interns.
In partnerships with some 50 Alberta heritage organizations, from the Oliers’ archives to aboriginal groups to the Oblates and the Methodists, the foundation built, from the ground up, historical websites with each group.
As an online encyclopedia, each website’s content had to be rigorously checked for accuracy and authenticity.
AlbertaSource.ca is a “portal” or an Internet clearing-house for those 50 websites. Type in what you’re looking for. An internal search engine fires up sending you off at the click of a mouse to information on your subject.
Naturally, this is just a beginning, with a long list of historical organizations seeking to establish a website within the Alberta online encyclopedia.
The possibilities are endless, subject, of course, to funding. The Heritage Community Foundation is dependent on, but independent of, governments. Which means $2 to $3 million must be raise every year to maintain and grow the major online resource – open to anybody with a computer and an online connection who’s looking for anything to do with Alberta history.
Albertasource.ca: Call it up. Click away.
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