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The Canadian Architect and Builder (CAB) was published between 1888 and 1908 and is the only professional architectural journal published in Canada before World War I. Beautifully filled with photographs, drawings, advertisements and valuable articles, CAB provides a wealth of information on the state of architecture and building in Canada during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is also of immense historical importance as a cultural treasure that makes up part of the Canadian heritage. The CAB is an invaluable resource in understanding late 19th century architectural developments, permitting the study of the role of the Arts and Crafts movement in Canadian interior design. Access to CAB on the Web will be a significant benefit for museum exhibition purposes, for in-depth research and for access by museum audience and students. The CAB is the most significant journal for the history of architecture in Canada and is of importance in a variety of disciplines including architecture, art history, geography, and Canadian history. To date, CAB remains one of the most important primary research sources for architects, conservation architects, building technologists, architectural historians and social historians.

The Project

The genesis of the Project began as a collaborative effort among Irena Murray, Chief Curator, Rare Books and Special Collections Division, McGill University Libraries and former Head Librarian, Blackader-Lauterman Library; David McKnight, Digital Librarian, McGill University and Marilyn Berger, Head Librarian Blackader-Lauterman Library.

The process of creating an online, searchable version of the CAB to preserve this valuable journal and provide greater access to its contents on the World Wide Web began in June 1998 as part of the Young Canada Works in Science and Technology Program. Phase I of the project completed the preservation process of the deteriorating pages of the 22-volume journal and the scanning of 7000 pages of text and images.click for larger image Funding was provided by the Young Canada Works in Science and Technology grant sponsored by the Canadian Library Association in co-operation with the Department of Canadian Heritage. Phase I is described in detail in an article by Marilyn Berger: "Digitization for Preservation and Access: A Case Study" (Library HiTech, 17: 2, 1999, 146-51).

Funded by the Digital Collections Program of Industry Canada, Phase II of the CAB project began in June, 1999 and continued through September 30, 1999. This phase involved image editing to prepare the graphics files for publication on the World Wide Web. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) was performed on CAB's pages to prepare the way for Phase III of the project: the creation of a searchable full-text database.

New: A final phase of the CAB project (2003) was the creation of a searchable subject index to the full text 22-volume journal including illustrations and advertisements. The controlled vocabulary from the Getty Vocabulary Program of the Art and Architecture Thesaurus further enhances the keyword searching and browsing by year and issue number that already exists.

For more information on the Project, please contact:
Marilyn Berger
Head, Blackader-Lauterman Library
marilyn.berger@mcgill.ca