CGR E-Award 2004 - Working Outside the Box
Minister's Award for Innovation, 2004 - Ontario Ministry of Culture
The Ontario History Quest (OHQ) is an award-winning website dedicated to student learning and the discovery of Ontario's history — its people, their dreams, struggles and achievements. The OHQ is for students in grades 7, 8, 10 and 12 studying history from the 1780s to 1970s.
The website meets Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum expectations. For each grade, we provide Introductory Activities and a Webquest where students have the opportunity to learn about Ontario history through the exploration of original letters, diaries, pictures and other documents. Teacher packages are provided for each grade. Searchable databases of primary and secondary source materials are available to support the directed learning.
The website was developed by a partnership among the Toronto Public Library, the Archives of Ontario and the City of Toronto Archives. The project was made possible in part through the Ontario Ministry of Culture Library Strategic Development Fund: Digital Alliances Programme. The learning content was developed with the assistance of an educational consultant.
OHQ Phase 2 was developed in partnership with the Archives of Ontario, and Library and Archives Canada. This work was funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Culture Library Strategic Development Fund: Digital Alliances Program, and the Department of Canadian Heritage Canadian Culture Online Programme.
Information on Project Development
The Ontario History Quest (OHQ) website provides student and teacher learning tools and brings together collections of three partner institutions — the Toronto Public Library, the Archives of Ontario and the City of Toronto Archives. Together, these learning tools and images document some 200 years of Ontario history from the 1780s to the 1970s.
The website has two key components:
- The Assignment Area was developed with the assistance of an educational consultant. It includes classroom-ready student resources that meet the expectations of the Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum for grades 7, 8, 10 and 12, and a teacher package for each grade. Each of the grade modules corresponds to a history course from the current Ontario curriculum. The area includes about 400 images from the collections of the partner institutions to support directed learning.
The Research Area is intended for use by students in grades 10 and 12, but may also serve as a tool for self-discovery by students from the lower grades, as well as the general public. The site includes databases of over 4,400 images of primary and secondary sources from the collections of the partner institutions. You may search by keyword(s) during a particular time period that corresponds to a grade module or find more options in Advanced Search, such as Subjects and Format. Advanced Search provides boolean searches and full search of indexed fields.
The images for the OHQ project were contributed by three partners. The selection of items for digital conversion was designed to support the specific educational requirements for history courses for grades 7, 8, 10 and 12. Selection balanced the school course requirements (representing various historical time periods) with five collection material formats (books, ephemera, manuscripts, maps and pictures), aiming for equitable contribution from the three partners as well as reasonable thematic and geographic representation from across the province. The identification and review process involved representatives from the partner institutions and the educational consultant.
Copyright clearance was undertaken for collection items that were not in the public domain or where the owning institution neither had permission nor held copyright.
Over 4,400 images were created by scanning from original collection materials: books, ephemera, manuscripts, maps and pictures. This work was undertaken by the three partner institutions, except for a video clip from the Archives of Ontario that was converted externally.
Toronto Public Library
||Agfa Duoscan with Fotolook 3.5 scanning software|
||Scanmaker with ScanWizard Pro 3.06 scanning software|
||Jenoptik Eyelike Digital Camera System with proprietary scanning software|
||Image editing - Adobe Photoshop 7.0|
OCR - Abbyy FineReader 5.0 Pro
Compression - MrSID Geospatial Encoder 1.4
Archives of Ontario
||Howtek Scanmaster 2500 with scanning software|
||Adobe Photoshop 5.5|
City of Toronto Archives
||Adobe Photoshop 6.0|
A fully integrated metadata scheme was not developed for the OHQ. The three partners use very different metadata schemes for their varied collections (Rules of Archival Description, MARC, Dublin Core and other local practices). A common schema, based on the Dublin Core Metadata scheme used by the Library, was used to provide access across the collections of the partners.
Transcription was undertaken for selected items, such as handwritten letters and diaries.
Windows Media Player or Quicktime are required to view the video clip.
The OHQ user interface was specifically designed for students and teachers, recognizing specific course requirements as well as the range of potential users (novice to professional) and the varied physical environments in which the site may be used (home and classroom).