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Funding for Arca Safeguards Digital Treasures

A wooden treasure box that is slightly ajar - light glows from within the box. Background is black.
May 1, 2023

Arca Digital Repository will receive $500,000 from the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills to migrate its technical infrastructure – which is reaching end-of-life – to Islandora 2. This critical funding ensures that Arca’s current digital collections will continue to be safely preserved and openly accessible. Once migrated, the new infrastructure will also improve the Arca experience for both member sites and visitors searching through collections.

Arca is an award-winning BC ELN shared service that includes libraries, museums, galleries, and archives from BC and beyond. For a modest annual fee, Arca member institutions receive a complete digital repository, including a customized website and storage space to host their digital assets (e.g., academic papers, historic photographs, newspapers, oral histories, etc.). Arca’s technical infrastructure, Islandora Legacy, will no longer be supported after 2023, so migrating to Islandora 2 is essential to the continuation of the service and preservation of the over 200,000 items currently stored there. Fortunately, Ministry funding, in combination with contributions of in-house expertise and assistance from Arca member institutions’ staff, will enable Arca to migrate and remain operational.

“We are very grateful for the Ministry’s funding support,” says BC ELN Executive Director Anita Cocchia. “Arca provides secure, stable digital preservation for 27 member sites, and that membership is growing year over year. Galleries, libraries, archives, and museums look to Arca as an affordable mechanism to storing and making their digital assets openly available. With this funding from the Ministry, Arca members are assured that the service will continue, and the migration will result in a more scalable, sustainable architecture.”

About Arca

Arca launched in 2015 with seed funding of $100,000 from the Post-Secondary Administrative Service Delivery Transformation (ASDT) committee. Starting with just five pilot institutions, Arca has grown into a self-sustaining service that supports 27 members and makes over 200,000 digital objects – with more added daily – openly available to the world. Arca benefits members by:

  • Reducing duplicated costs and labour associated with multiple individual institutions selecting, licensing, and implementing standalone digital repositories. In 2022, Arca member sites collectively avoided $2.3 million by sharing infrastructure, storage, and coordination.
  • Enabling institutions and researchers to comply with grant-funding agencies’ mandates to make all federally-funded research accessible in open access repositories or journals.
  • Offering flexible options for digitized Indigenous materials. Arca’s access controls empower Indigenous communities to determine how their content is shared and accessed, and Traditional Knowledge Labels in Arca allow member sites to place notices on digital objects to indicate connections to Indigenous communities.
  • Providing small and mid-sized institutions with an affordable solution for the retention and management of digitized institutional assets.
  • Generating worldwide exposure to the research outputs and digital assets of B.C.’s post-secondary institutions, regardless of size and institutional resources.


Learn about Arca's vision, values, and governance at: