A digital window has just opened onto Chilliwack’s storied past.
Ninety years of the Chilliwack Progress newspaper can now be searched online.
Chilliwack Museum and Archives announced the successful digitization of The Progress, for the years 1891 to 1983.
“The Chilliwack Museum and Archives is thrilled to be able to direct researchers to this new search engine,” said Museum archivist Shannon Bettles.
The high-quality digital files can be found at www.theprogress.newspapers.com, and can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
Online visitors can browse The Progress years at a time, seek out specific dates and issues, and even clip and print articles.
The Chilliwack Progress Digitization project is part of the museum’s overall digital strategy geared to improving access to archival records.
Phase I is now complete, said Bettles, just two years since the idea for the project was conceived.
“The long running and continuous printing of the publication means that it is a great source for glimpsing into everyday events, news, and daily life in Chilliwack since 1891,” said Bettles.
“While it means patrons will undertake more research at home, Archives staff are prepared for an increase in follow-up questions and visits from guests as they learn more information is available from other records held at the Archives.”
The Progress newspapers are used by authors, business people, genealogists, governments, lawyers, students and scholars. Since The Progress files constitute the largest, and most-used group of records at the Archives, there was strong support for the project.
The ability to “keyword search” through Progress pages will be a time-saving device that sidesteps the need for researchers to comb through microfilm.
The Chilliwack Progress Digitization Project got the green light after funding came through from a City of Chilliwack Community Development Initiatives (CDI) grant ($5,000), a Chilliwack Foundation grant ($5,000), and the BC History Digitization Grant from the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre at UBC ($15,000) in March 2013. In-kind contributions from partners Black Press Media, the Chilliwack Progress and Newspapers.com, made the high-end, searchable website possible, said Bettles.
Phase 2 of the project, scanning and converting files to PDFs, from 1983 to 1991, is now underway.