Summer 2021
Welcome to the second edition of The Arc! We’re back to share the latest news about Arca with our partners and the wider BC ELN community. 

Know of a great Arca collection we should feature? Or excited about your own newest addition? Have your say and nominate our next featured collection by emailing the Arca office at
Free Arca hosting for BCHDP participants extended to 2025

The BC Electronic Library Network (BC ELN) and Irving K. Barber Learning Centre (IKBLC) at UBC Library have formally extended their partnership to support the BC History Digitization Program (BCHDP) Arca Hosting Initiative through to 2025. This follows a three-year pilot period, during which time 10 BCHDP grant recipients added their collections to Arca. These collections are now safely stored and accessible to users worldwide. 

BCHDP is a grant-based initiative which funds the digitization of unique historical material across the province. Since 2006, the program has been providing assistance for digitization projects to a range of organizations including libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, and post-secondary institutions. 
As a solution to this problem, BC ELN and IKBLC banded together to offer all BCHDP-funded materials no-cost, fully supported hosting in Arca. In short, this means that the Arca team can provide BCHDP grant recipients with free support for the next stages of securing and sharing their digital collections. Our experts are on hand to take care of all set-up, uploading and configuration; or organizations can take advantage of free training to upskill their in-house teams and manage their collections themselves. Participating in Arca also exposes digital collections to a global audience, as collections are searchable and accessible to Arca user worldwide. 

This opportunity is available to all recipients of the BCHDP grant - past, present and future. If you have participated in the BCHDP program and are interested in finding out more about taking advantage of this funding and hosting your collections in Arca, please contact Sunni Nishimura,
Arca Sandbox: Scaffolding Learners to Practitioners

Students in Professor Richard Arias-Hernandez’s Digital Image and Text Collections course are getting hands-on experience developing digital collections, supported by the newly available Arca Sandbox software. As part of UBC School of Information (iSchool) Professor Arias-Hernandez’s class, students work in collaboration with a local library, museum, gallery or private collection to digitize and ingest a small collection to Arca. As a first step, students experiment in an iSchool “sandbox”, then transfer their learning to ingest a collection to the public iSchool Arca site.
Through a growing network of contacts and relationships, memory organizations connect with Professor Arias-Hernandez and students in his class as candidates for ingesting a collection into Arca. Collections must satisfy criteria for the Term Project assignment, and are co-selected in collaboration with community partners based on their current priorities. The Arca sandbox allows students to learn about Arca software and test usability and aesthetic choices before collections are moved to the public site.

Students rave about the class and its hands-on approach with real clients and collections. Having the opportunity to practice first in a sandbox environment provides valuable support as learners transition to practitioners. Community partners benefit in turn from the investment of student time and application of growing expertise.

The sandbox space is open to class instructors and Arca administrators who wish to test changes and learn about digital collections in a safe environment. Contact the Arca Office to set up an account or build your own Arca sandbox.
Quote from Professor Arias-Hernandez discussing how the Arca sandbox scaffolds student learning and thanking BC ELN.
Arca Featured Collection
Kootenay/Columbia Digitizaed History
From the CReston Museum Photograph Collection
Creston Public Library, ca. 1920. Creston's first public library in the old Fruit Grower's Union building on Canyon Street. From the Creston Museum Photograph Collection, part of Kootenay/Columbia Digitized History.
Added to Arca in 2020, Kootenay/Columbia Digitized History is actually seven collections in one! This regional aggregate collection includes material contributed from:

  • Arrow Lakes Historical Society (Nakusp)
  • Creston Museum
  • Kootenay Lake Historical Society (Kaslo)
  • Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre (New Denver)
  • Silvery Slocan Historical Society (Silverton/New Denver)
  • Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History  
  • Trail Museum and Archives

In total there are more than 5,000 photographs, maps, manuscripts, videos, and interviews available.

Kootenay/Columbia Digitized History follows the groundbreaking model created by Digitized Okanagan History - a unique regional partnership involving the University of British Columbia's Okanagan Campus Library and numerous community memory institutions. All collections from both initiatives can now be accessed via the British Columbia Regional Digitized History website: 

If you work at a gallery, museum, archive or library in this area and are interested in becoming a BCRDH partner, learn more at:
New Collection: White Rock Newspapers
view of White Rock from the end of a pier
Known as the “city by the sea”, White Rock B.C. is a small community clustered around an eight kilometer sandy beach and the waters of Semiahmoo Bay. The White Rock Museum & Archives has recently shared its collection of historical newspapers via Arca, reflecting “the many eras in the history of a community known for its distinct sense of identity.” Explore this historic perspective of a unique locale: The Semiahmoo Sun (1940 - 1947), The The Semiahmoo Sun and White Rock Weekly (1947-1957) and the The White Rock Sun (1958-1972) are all now available to browse.
Arca Administrators' Corner
Focusing on the technical side with operational tips & news
Image of an office desk. Photo by Michael Aleo on Unsplash
New Process Makes Uploads Easier Than Ever
Great news for our current Arca administrators, and for those thinking of adding their collections for the first time: it’s now easier than ever to batch upload your objects! Previously, this process involved using MODS XML files, which were complex and less familiar to some users. Now, batch uploads can be done using a csv file of metadata, a ZIP file of your objects, and Twig template, available on the Arca Support site. 

Familiar with Arca and Ready to Dive In?
The new process has been documented; the accompanying tutorial video and file templates are available at the links below:

New to Arca or Need a Little Extra Support?
If you’ve been thinking of adding your first collection, this will make the process faster and easier but does require several steps for the initial set up. Whether you’re a regular user or a first-timer, we’re always happy to help. Contact us at for more information and support.
Tips & Tricks for User Support

In this issue we’re shining a spotlight on the BC Regional Digitized History Toolkit. Not only has the BCRDH team digitized and uploaded multiple collections, they’ve also created a handy toolkit to help users navigate these resources. There are useful search tips to pass on, as well as guidance for educators, and information for institutional partners. Lots of these resources also apply to other repositories and primary research situations. The toolkit is available online and there are also PDF versions to use and share. 
Arca is a service of the BC Electronic Library Network (BC ELN).

Interested in hosting your collections in Arca?
Have any questions or want to learn more? Contact the Arca Administrative Centre.