“Scan-a-thon” aims to digitize and preserve Quebec’s photographic history
The Bibiliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) is calling for volunteers to help digitize and scan negatives, photographs, and manuscripts that are important in telling Quebec’s history, to be uploaded on Wikimedia Commons.
The “scan-a-thon” of archives, to be held on August 9, will focus on the lives of First Nations communities living in Quebec.
The event is part of a collaboration between BAnQ and Wikimedia, as Wikipedia’s annual conference goes to Montreal this week. It’s also a spinoff of an earlier collaboration between the two institutions back in 2014, when the photos of Montreal photographer Conrad Poirier were uploaded on the online repository of free-use media files.
Of the 1,700 photos uploaded from Poirier’s archives, one photo in particular ended up being viewed millions of times on Wikipedia: a photo of two women reading the Montreal Daily Star, with the headline “Germany Quits” announcing the impending end of World War II in Europe.
This, according to archivist-coordinator Frédéric Giuliano, showed the potential of the archiving collaboration.
For the Wednesday event to be held at the BAnQ Vieux-Montreal’s Gilles-Hocquart Building, volunteers interested in learning more about Quebec’s history can help preserve images important to the heritage of Quebec.
Wikimedia Canada president Benoit Rochon also saw the value of the project.
“It’s about digitizing them, but also making them available to the public…With them being on Wikipedia, maybe someone who has information about them will come forward with it,” he said on the Montreal Gazette.
One of the collections, the Louis-Roger Lafleur collection, features nearly 900 photographs of the “lives of the Cree and Algonquins of the Abitibi, as well as the Montaganis and the Atikamekw of Quebec’s Mauricie region.”
Other collections feature handwritten documents that tell the lives and history of the First Nation communities.
Read more on the Montreal Gazette.