About This Site

OurDigitalWorld is an incorporated non-profit organization that builds digital tools to encourage engagement with Ontario’s cultural history. We work with over 200 provincial organizations to share millions of digitized local historical objects, including photographs, maps, scrapbooks, newspapers, letters, and art.

Our collections include unique materials related to women’s history in Ontario and a number of immigrant groups. Examples include: the first two Black-run periodicals in Canada; the Agnes Macphail Digital Archive; the collections of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario; materials relevant to the histories of ethnic populations such as Syrian, Indian, and Portuguese. The materials explore economic contributions, industrial innovations, social reform, community groups, and individuals that impacted Ontario’s history.

Part of our VITA digital toolkit is a presentations module commonly used for virtual exhibits. This project explores the use of this module as an educational tool, by building primary-source virtual exhibits on Ontario’s multicultural history, using materials from across our members’ collections.

This is a pilot project, exploring our capacity to bring the materials of our member organizations directly into classrooms, and exploring use of our tools for digital storytelling. Our cross-Ontario exhibits will inspire current and future member organizations to design localized versions for use in their communities. This project makes materials we already share discoverable in an engaging narrative format suitable for child and youth reading levels. We want users of all ages to find themselves in the archive.

This project’s plan:

  • Collaborating with heritage organizations to determine appropriate topics and formats relevant to the history of multicultural communities
  • Compiling primary sources and drafting narratives
  • Designing virtual exhibits and promoting them
  • Collaborating with educators and educational consultants to determine appropriate content to meet Ontario curriculum standards
    Designing curriculum resources for a variety of literacy levels and classroom needs
  • Drafting documentation and guides for member organizations to build their own multicultural digital stories

From this project we hope to learn:

  • how best to promote intercultural understanding through historical materials
  • how best to support educators with digitized primary sources
  • how best to highlight the economic and social contributions of ethnic communities
  • where archival silences exist - where communities aren’t represented by their own members, in their own voices - and how best to document and fill them
  • how our tools can inculcate learning in Ontario citizens of all ages
  • how we can facilitate future collaborations between our member organizations and public schools using local history resources

This project answers the Ontario Culture Strategy’s call for digital storytelling on the province’s multicultural history, strengthening diversity and equality, and promoting intercultural understanding. We wish to help youth learn about their and others’ personal heritage, and improve local and Ontario history content in public-school curricula.

This project was funded through a grant from the Government of Ontario. 

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