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Arca FAQs

1. What platform does Arca use?

Arca is built on Islandora, a Canadian-developed open-source platform currently in use at over 100 public and private institutions worldwide. Arca is made possible by a partnership between BC ELN and Charlottetown, PEI-based software firm discoverygarden. Implementation was supported by a grant from the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills.

2. Can my organization join Arca?

Most BC ELN partner libraries are eligible to join Arca, and inquiries from non-BC ELN partners in BC are welcome. If your organization is located outside the province and you are a member of COPPUL or NEOS, you may be eligible to join Arca. BCHDP recipients may host collections in the BCHDP child site. For information about participating in Arca, please contact the Arca Administrative Centre.

3. Where is my data hosted?

Arca is hosted in the Simon Fraser University (SFU) Cloud, a state-of-the-art hosting facility located in the SFU Data Centre at the Burnaby campus in Burnaby, B.C. Arca storage costs are passed from SFU Cloud hosting directly on to Arca members, there are no additional fees from the Arca Administrative Centre.

Hosting in the SFU Cloud allows Arca to leverage SFU’s high-bandwidth networking and advanced data protection, and leverage the monetary benefits of running infrastructure at scale, highly skilled IT professionals, and the favorable pricing available to educational institutions. The SFU Cloud is a highly redundant and reliable environment that is in-line with the SFU Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plan. Arca is backed up daily to an off-site facility, and backups are retained according to a retention schedule. For more information, visit the SFU Cloud page on SFU’s ServiceHub portal.

Since the Arca platform is also supported by Canadian firm discoverygarden, an Islandora service provider located in Prince Edward Island, hosting Arca locally in BC means that all Arca operations, software, support and hosting are in Canada, compliant with BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy legislation.

4. Can I use Arca for digital preservation?

If you wish to preserve your archival masters in Arca in addition to access copies, this can be done through our partnership with COPPUL's WestVault archival preservation service. WestVault is a separate subscription; please contact the Admin Centre for details. 

5. How are decisions about the repository made?

The Arca Admin Centre manages enhancement requests from Arca’s participating sites. Enhancements are aggregated and presented to Arca administrators for voting every six months, and prioritized on the following basis:

  • Priority for collaborative service as a whole
  • Priority for the greatest number of participating sites
  • Available resources

6. Who is responsible for copyright?

The party depositing content, whether that is the original creator or an institution/body that has been granted the right to deposit content on the creator’s behalf, is responsible for confirming that all required permissions are obtained and that the submission does not violate Canadian copyright law.

7. What kind of support can I receive from the Arca Administrative Centre?

The Administrative Centre is primarily responsible for general service support for Arca and its child sites (including implementation and front-line technical support), as well as basic support that is tailored to the needs of each organization. Advanced Support for complex work is also available and charged on a cost-recovery basis. Visit the Arca Service Support page for further details.

8. Do you offer assistance with digitizing collections?

The Arca Admin Centre is able to provide support for digitization projects through partnerships with the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre for the BC History Digitization Program.

The Admin Centre can assist partner libraries and GLAM sites hoping to apply for BCHDP funding with any of the following:

  • applying for a BCHDP grant to digitize materials
  • planning a digitization project
  • organizing digital materials and associated information/metadata for upload into Arca
  • performing batch upload of digital materials into the Arca repository
  • customizing the display of collections (within Arca guidelines)
  • publicizing Arca collections

For more information about Arca partnerships, please visit our Partnerships page or feel free to contact the Admin Centre directly.

9. Does the Arca Admin Centre offer digitization services?

The Admin Centre does not provide digitization services at this time, though our staff would be happy to connect you with digitization service providers that our partners have used in the past. If you are seeking guidance to perform digitization in-house, we are also happy to share resources covering recommended equipment and best practices based on format type.

10. Which organizations currently participate in Arca?

A list of participating members can be found on the Arca Support site. Participants include BC-based institutions as well as Western Canadian COPPUL partners. The hub sites for the BC History Digitization Program and BC Regional Digitized History also include collections from GLAM sites across the province. Arca has also partnered with library technician programs to offer a Sandbox environment for students to develop skills working in a digital repository.

11. What can I find in Arca?

Each participating institution is responsible for determining what kinds of content will go into their repository. It may include scholarly material and digital assets such as administrative documents, newsletters, images, multimedia, and audiovisual materials. To find out more, contact your institution's library.

You can search each individual institution's content by visiting each individual site, or you can search across content at all participating sites on the main Arca site.

12. Who should I contact about content I find in Arca?

The content displayed in Arca comes from the repositories of our participating organizations. If you have questions about a particular repository object, please contact the organization that holds it, or write to the Arca Administrative Centre for help identifying the appropriate contact.

13. Is all the content in Arca visible to the public?

Although Arca is mainly intended to be an open access repository, each individual institution can determine whether their content will be publicly visible, embargoed or password-protected.

14. What does "Arca" mean?

"Arca" is a Latin word for a treasure chest or box for valuables. The name hints at the valuable resources and digital treasures held within the repository.