DAILY NEWS Oct 26, 2012 11:27 AM - 0 comments

Canadian Museum Wins EMC Grant for Online Collection

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A B.C. community organization has received funding for an extensive digitization project of historical and cultural imagery.

A comprehensive photo collection showing the evolution of Abbotsford, B.C. will be digitized and put online by The Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford.

The museum is one of three organizations in North America to have received grant support from EMC Corporation, its EMC Heritage Trust Project and corporate Information Heritage Initiative program. The first round of the 2012 grants, totalling $30,000, supports projects that encourage the stewardship of cultural information in local communities. The submission process for the second round of 2012 grants began October 15.

Through its Information Heritage Initiative, EMC has donated more than $20 million to date to help advance the conservation of information heritage.

“Canada has had a high level of participation in all five years of the EMC Heritage Trust Project,”  said Michael Sharun, Managing Director of EMC Canada. “That proves how important preserving our unique cultural identity is to Canadians and we are pleased EMC has been able to contribute meaningfully to the preservation of six important local Canadian collections since 2007.”

Reach Gallery will use its $10,000 grant to continue digitizing The Abbotsford Living History Project, a collection of photographs depicting life in Abbotsford from the 1880s to the present day. The project is accessible online and allows individuals to comment on photographs, adding personal memories and context to the collection and creating a meaningful connection with the community.

“Abbotsford has a rich, diverse cultural history and that’s depicted in the photographs of The Living History Project,” said Karina Chow, Director of Development at The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford. “Many people are interested in finding old photographs of family members and there is also a large audience for historical images and the associated contextual information.”

The museum has already digitized 9,000 images as part of the Living History Project. The grant will allow staff to digitize another 6,000 images, including 1,000 images from a local newspaper, the Abbotsford News, covering the years 1960 – 1990.

The Reach relied on strong local ties and a social media campaign to secure its grant. Finalists for the first round of 2012 Heritage Trust Project grants were notified their submissions were under consideration. The finalists were then encouraged to have their community supporters vote for their specific projects on the EMC Heritage Trust Project Facebook page. The three projects generating the most responses were awarded grants.

The museum reached out to local media directly and to the Abbotsford community through Twitter. The resulting publicity allowed the museum to generate the second-most responses among grant finalists.

 “It was gratifying to see how much the community pulled together for us and helped us secure the grant,” Chow said. “It shows we’re valued by the city’s residents and validates what we’re doing with The Living History Project.”

The EMC Information Heritage Initiative program was founded in 2007 to recognize organizations and individuals that protect and preserve cultural information from around the world through digitization, allowing readily accessible online research and education. Using the same criteria for excellence that guide the initiative, the EMC Heritage Trust Project was created to recognize and support people and projects that practice and inspire the digital stewardship of the world's information heritage.

The EMC Heritage Trust Project grant recipients were selected based on the following criteria: potential size of the audience that would benefit from access to the information they are seeking to protect; the at-risk status of the information and why it is urgent to digitize; and how beneficial the EMC grant would be to the overall success of the project.

The fall 2012 Heritage Trust Project round began October 15. The application form is available on the EMC Heritage Trust Facebook page.

In addition to The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford, the first round of 2012 EMC Heritage Trust Project grantees are:

-  CyArk, Mission Dolores Preservation, San Francisco, CA—The EMC grant will support CyArk, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, in its efforts to digitally preserve San Francisco's Mission Dolores, California's oldest standing structure. Because it lies adjacent to the San Andres Fault, Mission Dolores is at risk of being destroyed physically when the next big earthquake hits, and in the process losing its story and distinct character. The EMC grant will help CyArk in its creation of a digital record to ensure that if Mission Dolores were to be damaged, there would be billions of accurate 3D data points to aid in a precise reconstruction and restoration.

-  Springfield Free Public Library, Springfield, NJ—The Springfield Free Public Library is home to a collection of historical documents, photographs, publications and regalia from the Township of Springfield, Union County and New Jersey. The collection of documents – dating as far back as 1789 – was started by Springfield's Donald B. Palmer in 1939 when the Board of Trustees of the Springfield Library allocated $25.00 for Mr. Palmer's first acquisitions. The EMC grant will help digitize this valuable historical information to make it available to people wishing to study Springfield, Union County, New Jersey and American history, while preserving these valuable photographs and resources for future generations.

EMC Corporation provides cloud related services that enable businesses and service providers to deliver IT as a service, and to store, manage, protect and analyze data and digital information effectively and efficiently.

EMC Canada, headquartered in Toronto with seven offices from coast to coast, is a wholly owned subsidiary of EMC Corporation.

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