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Research report

Promoting Québec’s archives

Relying on digital technology and citizen knowledge to enrich Québec’s documentary heritage

Thanks to digital platforms, organizations can now turn to citizen knowledge when undertaking activities that were once reserved for professionals. The use of collective intelligence and digital technology is of interest to more and more cultural institutions, including archives, as they digitize and make their legacy documents available online without having the resources to describe or index them. For example, the city of Québec holds over 100 000 archival photos, most of which have never been indexed.

The initiative led to the creation of a digital platform that provides users with access to legacy photos.

Using their knowledge and the right digital tools, history buffs can help expand the rich documentary heritage that bears witness to our history. This research-action project led by ÉNAP and the city of Québec was developed within this framework.

The initiative led to the creation and testing of a digital platform that provides users with access to legacy photos from several archives and allows them to contribute to their augmentation.

More specifically, the Chronoscope platform enables citizens to view archival photos in virtual albums and identify (using keywords), categorize, date, comment and locate them. ÉNAP and its main partners (the cities of Québec and Gatineau and BAnQ) were pleased and proud to have advanced the development and roll out of Québec’s first citizen collaboration platform dedicated to promoting the province’s documentary heritage.

Among the project’s outcomes is a better understanding of the implementation challenges in terms of citizen participation, quality of the contributions and their integration within institutions. The platform also leads to promising educational benefits by offering content and an infrastructure that support history education at the elementary and high school levels.

Main researcher: Christian Boudreau, École nationale d'administration publique

Original title: Mise en valeur des archives au Québec : expérimentation d'une plateforme participative en ligne