A Modern View of a City’s History via ArchivEra

An ArchivEra Success Story

City of Regina Archives Goals

  • Easily configurable by Archives staff
  • Vendor hosted (SaaS)
  • Public portal
  • Stable, flexible, and extensible technology
“ArchivEra is one of the steadiest platforms we run at the City in general; it works as promised and we always get answers quickly if there are issues.”
Dana Turgeon
Historical Information & Preservation Supervisor

The City of Regina Archives was established in 1985 to preserve the City’s corporate records. The collection includes over 6,000,000 documents of legal, historical, administrative or financial significance that tell the story of Regina, with more added all the time. The archives holds 163 fonds, consisting of more than 800 linear metres of records.

Visitors to their Virtual Archives will find over 25,000 early Regina photographs, more than 8,000 sets of architectural drawings, and legislative materials originating from the city (or relevant to it). They will also find biographies of past mayors, the storied history of open-air stadium Taylor Field—named after First World War fighter pilot and rugby player Neil J. “Piffles” Taylor—and information about other notable events and figures that form a timeline of Regina’s history.

Dana Turgeon, Historical Information & Preservation Supervisor, told us their choice of ArchivEra was straightforward. They were already satisfied Lucidea clients through an earlier archival CMS, and the procurement department considered the migration as an upgrade to an existing asset. Given that ArchivEra more than met their new strategic and operational requirements, they licensed the software-as-a service (SaaS) version—with full approval from the IT group—and the implementation began.

Ms. Turgeon said the migration was complete well ahead of deadline, and the Client Services team members were unfailingly “helpful, knowledgeable, and prompt, with sector expertise that was very useful.”

The public portal is very popular, with positive reactions from little children, to senior citizens, to the people who maintain the Facebook page about the history of old Regina and incorporate information from the Archives’ public site. Ms. Turgeon mentioned they have recently enabled Google analytics alongside the portal to gain a better view of visitor preferences and behavior.

Because the system is “very intuitive, user friendly and straightforward”, the archives staff can easily makes changes themselves. The impact on workflow has been very positive, e.g., uploads (including their many photos) are much faster and the process is much simpler, and it is straightforward to set up featured collections.

Future uses for ArchivEra are likely to include making use of the reporting functionality, leveraging the request-tracking module to avoid reinventing the wheel, and expanding usage of the system by sharing it with other city departments, such as the Civic Art Program.

ArchivEra’s multimedia capabilities hold much promise for the future of the archives’ collections as well. Ms. Turgeon told us they are very proud of their 150 Oral Histories Project, undertaken for Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017. It was a grants-based project conducted by three indigenous students; the interviews cover a wide range of issues, including reconciliation and residential schools. The histories are currently hosted on a City domain, but are hooked into the Virtual Archives, which expands public access. ArchivEra’s functionality may ultimately facilitate adding context to the interviews—a goal for the archives team.

Other plans for audiovisual material include converting their collection of sound recordings and moving images, digitizing them, and loading them to the Virtual Archives. Ms. Turgeon and her colleagues are strategizing about doing a topic-based podcast referencing the archives’ holdings, and hosting it on ArchivEra. Lucidea believes ArchivEra’s potential is limited only by its users’ imaginations; despite the resource constraints so common in archives, the City of Regina Archives staff are certainly imagining many compelling CMS related projects.

The final word from the team? “The transition was easy. ArchivEra is user-friendly and customizable, and the aesthetics are really nice—it looks like a modern site. It is much slicker and fresher than what we had before, and it integrates well with the City of Regina’s other sites, which is great from a branding perspective. We recommend ArchivEra to our peers because it’s very stable, onboarding is very easy, there isn’t much learning curve, and it delivers extremely good value for the cost.”

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