The Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Website: Background
November, 1997

The Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Website is an ambitious and exciting public history project without precedent in Canada. Its aim is to make available to high school and university students, and the general public, a wide range of authoritative information on the history, culture and geography of Newfoundland and Labrador. The site has an attractive format, and combines text and graphics as well as audio and video material. These features will be used to introduce readers to the province's heritage and, it is hoped, to also involve them. The aim is to have the site substantially completed by Dec. 2000.

Based at Memorial University's Smallwood Centre for Newfoundland Studies, the site has been developed by academics from relevant disciplines, many of whom are, and will be among the contributors. There are six major "threads" (see copies attached): Natural Environment; Aboriginal Peoples; Exploration and Settlement; Law and Government; Society; and The Arts. Each of these diversifies into a large number of smaller threads, whose content becomes increasingly specialised. As the project progresses, contributions will be encouraged from high schools and community groups. The site was designed by Memorial University's Centre for Academic and Media Services in the School of Continuing Education.

All contributions are checked and edited for accuracy, completeness and accessibility, bearing in mind that this is not an academic site. Links are provided to other web sites as appropriate.

This is a joint project of the Smallwood Centre and the C.R.B. Foundation, though other partners have made valuable contributions. In part, it is a pilot for the Bronfman Foundation's Canada 2000 initiative, which will see heritage web sites established in 2000 Canadian "neighbourhoods". The Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Website, however, will be much more extensive than other proposed Canada 2000 sites are likely to be.

Work on the heritage web site began in February 1997. The project has two full-time employees, the co-ordinator and the graphic artist. The Smallwood Centre has purchased some release time for the faculty member who serves as site editor, and undergraduate students have been hired as assistants on a variety of grants.

The potential benefits of the site are wide-ranging. It will disseminate a large body of accurate information about Newfoundland and Labrador, and will function as a gateway to other, selected Newfoundland and Labrador sites. It is a chance to provide high school and university students not only with a rich resource, but also with the experience of using the internet for research and communication. The students working on the site will also gain valuable technical and editorial experience. It is an occasion to develop partnerships between the university, schools, government, industry and private foundations. The site should also help to make the province better known to a world-wide audience, many of whom may be potential tourists and visitors.

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For further information, please contact Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web Project, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 737-4476.

Sidebar updated April, 2007.

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