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Library to launch new digital service

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Taking a trip down memory lane will soon be easier for Winnipeg history buffs.


The Winnipeg Public Library will soon launch PastForward, an online digital resource which will store images and digital collections that will be available for public use.


The website will host digital copies of postcards, historical images, directories and documents, oral histories and more.


Brianne Selman, an information and virtual services librarian, said the program is intended to be easily searchable and engage all Winnipeggers.


"The (site) has an archival quality and is very searchable, so people can discover things for research and personal interest. It’s a public history project and we want it to grow and involve the community as much as possible," Selman said.


"(It’s a place) for people to store their own digitized material, as well as (showcase) things the library is collecting."


The project will be officially launched Tues., Feb. 12 at the Cornish Library, located at 20 West Gate.


PastForward will be rolled out slowly. Following the launch, individuals will not be able to immediately submit their images to the site.


The program is launching with a collection of postcards that were donated by local collector Rob McInnes.


"He’s got an amazing local postcard collection and has done a lot of research on them," said Selman, noting the postcards are predominately from the late 1800s to 1920s.


"A lot (of the postcards) focus on local neighbourhoods."


Selman said that as the project continues to develop, the library will develop specific themes for the site, and begin to ask members of the public to share their historical images.


The library plans to host digitization days during which individuals will be able to book time to use the library’s archival-quality scanners, and relay information to librarians.


Once the images are available on the website, people will be able to tag or comment on the images.


"If there is additional information that people know (about the photos), they can contribute it," Selman said.


All images submitted to the program will be available for individuals to use freely.


"When people are contributing material, they will have to agree to that," she said.


Selman said after the postcards, the library is hoping to do a local music history project. She said the library is connected with different punk rock music collectors who have materials to archive.


Eventually, Selman said the library will open up a submissions page on the site.


The launch of the program will include a presentation from McInnith on the significance of the postcards included in the project, as well as demonstrations of the site. The event will take place Feb. 12 at 11 a.m. at the Cornish Library and is open to the public.

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