info @ archimuse.com
published: April, 2002
Demonstration of the CAIN web site and the ArchWay Database - An Online Database of
Demonstration: Demonstrations 1
Back in September 1998, an initiative was started to develop what would later become the main gateway, the network for access to all of the archival institutions across Canada. In October of 2001, the Canadian Council of Archives launched the Canadian Archival Information Network, or CAIN web site at www.cain-rcia.ca
CAIN is the on-line gateway for the public to all archival holdings across Canada. Archival institutions across Canada are encouraged to submit their archival holdings, through the digitization of fonds level descriptions, to be uploaded to the CAIN web site. Also available on CAIN, via a direct URL, are Virtual Exhibits, where archival institutions can showcase some of their key fonds and collections with a dedicated and generally photograph intensive web pages. CAIN is housed on the National Archives /National Library server and uses AMICUS as its database software.
CAIN has also added fuel to the ongoing debate about a national name authority and how it would relate to CAIN etc.
A brief demonstration of the CAIN web site will be given with regards to how search results are displayed, and of the Virtual Exhibits page.
CAIN exists thanks to the participation of archival institutions. Meghan Hallett, a CAIN Coordinator from the province of Nova Scotia will explain for us some of the procedures done at the provincial level and its link with CAIN.
The ArchWay Database is a database of archival finding aids from member institutions created and maintained by the Council of Nova Scotia Archives. ArchWay is hosted by the Provincial Archives of Nova Scotia and was built using Gencat, a relational database program. The CNSA is a professional organization for archives and archivists in Nova Scotia. Membership ranges from community archives, religious archives, university archives and archives within museums.
The drive to create the database was initiated by the Canadian Council of Archives and the Canadian archival community in general to make information about archival holdings more readily available to the public.
The ArchWay Database was launched in the Spring of 2000. It contains finding aids for fonds (collection of records based on creator) from over 35 presently participating archives. The database is constantly updated and contains presently close to 1000 separate finding aids. Users can search the relational database by subject, creator (provenance), title and institution name. The format of the database follows closely the standards as set out by the Rules for Archival Description (RAD) and provides users with a multi-level finding aid, providing greater contextual information at lower levels.
Many entries in the database are linked to selected scanned images which are part of the related fonds. Users can also search images separately in a photo database.
In this demonstration, Meghan will show the functionality of the database, how it brings related materials together, and the photographic database.