The origins of this project can be traced to 1991 when the first of two accessions of Hugh MacLennan's papers were donated to the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections after the author's death in 1990. At that time, the MacLennan papers were arranged, described and made available in an in-house finding aid. In the summer of 1991 through to the end of 1992, I assited with the arrangement of the papers. From 1993 to 1995, I compiled a name index to the MacLennan correspondence. It was not until the Spring of 1997, when, fortuitously, a combination of factors made it possible to realize a long time goal - - the electronic publication of the inventory of the MacLennan Papers and the name index to the MacLennan Correspondence.

The most important factor was the creation of McGill University Libraries, Digital Library Project. This single act of foresight on the part of the Director of Libraries, Frances Groen and, in turn, through the support of the Head of the Rare Book Department and Special Collections Department, Irena Murray, who also serves as the director of Digital Library Project provided the necessary environment to conceive the MacLennan digital project . In particular, Mrs. Murray's support and encouragement is deeply appreciated. As is the support of Dr. Richard Virr, Manuscript Curator, who has served as a mentor during the past five years, while I have worked on the MacLennan Papers. The MacLennan Online Project also acknowledges the co-operation of Philip Cercone, Director of McGill-Queen's University Press who has granted us the right to reproduce MacLennan's papers. Finally we must acknowledge the support of Young Canada Works which provided the seed money to launch the project.

Designed as a multi-phase project, the first phase consists in making the substantial inventory of the papers available to researchers via the World Wide Web. In addition, scholars will be able to search the index to the correspondence by personal name, keyword and additional points of access. As the first phase draws to a conclusion, we are planning the second phase now. The new phase will involve scanning and transcribing the contents of the MacLennan correspondence and selected manuscripts, the result will be a searchable, full-text online database, Indeed, the transcription of several hundred holograph letters was completed during the summer of 1997 by one of the members of the MacLennan Online Project team. Funding is currently being sought to advance the project.

To conclude, a word about the Young Canada Works project team. Without the devotion and hardwork of Ann Marie Holland, Matthew Murhphy and Daphne Weatherby, the MacLennan project would not have advanced to the degree that it has. In late August, Joan Rowe joined the MacLennan Project, and I would like to thank her for her contribution to date.

David McKnight
The Project Team:

David McKnight, Project Director
Digital Collections Librarian
McGill University

Anne Marie Holland
Database designer, data entry and assistant editor

Matthew J. Murphy
Compiler of bibliography, database designer and associate web page designer

Joan Rowe
Data Entry

Daphne Weatherby
Manuscript transcriptions and data entry

Copyright McGill University, 2001