The Canadian Jewish Congress Charities Committee National Archives (CJCCCNA) and the Jewish Public Library Archives (JPL-A) are proud to announce the launch of a new website, The Canadian Jewish Heritage Network, at www.cjhn.ca.
As two of the major organizations involved in Canadian Jewish historical research, both located in Montreal, CJCCCNA and JPL-A preserve the memory of Quebec and Montreal’s poets and politicians, its artists and activists, its builders and teachers, its families and philanthropists. Their users can now visit the collections from the comfort of their own desks, searching the online catalogue for archival collections dating from the 18th century onwards. Using the site's selection cart, users can select, e-mail, print or order archival material directly from the web.
More than 25,000 database records from these archival collections are currently online, as well as over 1,500 digitized historic photographs and archival documents. Many complete multi-page documents are available in PDF format. The digitized documents currently online include minutes, annual reports, anniversary publications, sermons, and ephemeral material.
Users of the site can also delve into the CJHN's genealogical research database, which already contains close to 50,000 genealogical records and over 5,000 associated images.
“What you see now on this website is a seamless blend of two repositories' holdings; actually a virtual ‘mind-meld’ of two institutions into a single functional entity helping researchers. Through designing the web site together it has now become natural for us to consult each other in areas of archival acquisition and even software and equipment purchases, sometimes acquiring a digitization tool in one location and trading services with each other.”
Janice Rosen, Archives Director, Canadian Jewish Congress Charities Committee National Archives
Andornot assisted with this project in many ways, including:
- creating the website using the Umbraco Content Management System;
- developing an archival database based on the Andornot Archives Starter Kit, as well as a separate genealogical database, to hold data from multiple different sources submitted by participating institutions;
- developing data import procedures to allow staff at each organization to keep the live databases up-to-date with their local collections; and
- hosting the website and databases and providing ongoing support and updates.
“Archives are not really about the past, rather we must constantly plan for the future: how will we preserve this for another five hundred years; who is going to use this archive fifty years from now; what will they need and why and so on. With this in mind we know that we will continue to push the limits of the CJHN site. With the help of Andornot's services we are assured that CJHN will grow not just in digital content but also in partners, in use, relevance and profile.”
Shannon Hodge, Archivist, Jewish Public Library Archives
“The CJHN is a model for honouring and preserving our history and traditions – not by locking it away in a dusty archive – but by celebrating, cultivating and sustaining our history for a stronger Canadian Jewish future. The core message of building directly on our communal memory to shape and improve our communal future is a truism that we all should keep in mind.”
Benjamin Shinewald, National Executive Director, General Counsel and Acting CEO of CJCCC