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Arca wins Inaugural Eureka Award

April 26, 2017

Anita Cocchia, BC ELN Executive Director, Brandon Weigel and Sunni Nishimura, Arca Administration

Arca Digital Repository - a shared service among a growing number of institutions in British Columbia - has won the inaugural BC Library Association Eureka Award, presented at this year's BC Library Conference. The award is given to an individual or organization that has created an innovative approach to address a barrier, solve a problem, provide a powerful new insight, or introduce an original idea in the library field.

The Arca initiative would not be possible without the support of the Administrative Service Delivery Transformation program and the Ministry of Advanced Education.

Institutions Working Together to Overcome Barriers

Arca is a shared digital repository for British Columbia. It was launched in 2015 with seven early adopters and now counts fourteen colleges and universities as participants.

Without Arca, many libraries in BC wouldn't be able to support an in-house digital repository due to a lack of resources. These barriers impede faculty, staff, and students from showcasing their valuable work, and limit the wider community's access to these materials.

Arca's success is built on centralised coordination and a collaborative approach. Institutions came together to plan, develop, and implement this initiative.  By working jointly, and with the BC Electronic Library Network (BC ELN) providing a centralised Administrative Centre, Institutions save thousands of dollars and countless hours of staff time. All BC ELN Staff are available to support Arca, with key administration provided by Sunni Nishimura and Brandon Weigel.

Opening Access to BC's Digital Treasures

In latin, "arca" means "chest of treasures". It's a perfect name for this initiative as more and more institutions across BC are storing their gems - student and faculty research, historical photographs, newspaper archives, and more - in Arca.

But unlike a typical chest of treasures, Arca is neither locked nor hidden away. This shared platform enables post-secondary institutions to make a wide array of digital assets openly available to the world. Visitors from across the globe regularly access materials in Arca. One recent example includes a visitor from Portugal who downloaded a Thompson Rivers University Honours thesis on snails. That thesis traveled over 8,000 km with just the click of a mouse. 

Arca demonstrates the power of collaboration; libraries have joined together to achieve a common goal - opening BC's digital treasures to the world - and we all reap the rewards as a result.