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Multicultural history will be digitized

March 6, 2008

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The SFU Library has received a $500,000 grant from the federal department of Canadian Heritage to help digitize and preserve the history and heritage of Canada’s minority groups.

The Multicultural Canada project will collect and digitize a series of multicultural collections from newspapers, magazines, audio tapes, photographs, local histories, speeches, letters and oral histories now in different locations.

The project team, including assistant professor Ozlem Sensoy and graduate students from the Faculty of Education, will enhance the collection with additional content that provides context and opportunities for users to interact with the content. The team will develop specific resources for K-12 teachers, students, community members and academic researchers.

“In keeping with SFU’s slogan, ‘Thinking of the World,’ we are committed to sharing this expertise and making information available to the general public, worldwide,” says SFU president Michael Stevenson.

As a leader in digitization and online access to collections, the university’s library is uniquely positioned to spearhead Multicultural Canada, says librarian Lynn Copeland.

 “With this grant we’ll be able to preserve these materials and make them available online to help Canadians better understand and appreciate the multicultural heritage of their country and the world we live in.”

The Multicultural Canada team will initially digitize 11 collections including the Chinese Times newspaper, a Ukrainian collection, articles about the Vietnamese Boat People and an Indo-Canadian oral history collection.

The collections and educational materials will be at www.multiculturalcanada.ca, at no cost to users, by June 2008. Interactive educational tools and resources will be available in French and English.

The project’s initial partners include the Multicultural History Society of Ontario, the universities of Calgary, Toronto and Victoria, and the Vancouver Public Library.
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