Thursday, April 13, 2017

Czas Digitization Project

   Example of one of digitized pages of Czas 
 (the main page of the July 21, 1920 issue)

  The online format of the Czas searchable database.

 An example showing the complete digitized pages of a single issue 
of Czas (the July 21, 1920 issue ).

Czas is the oldest Polish language newspaper weekly in Canada. It was established in Winnipeg in the fall of 1914, and first published by a local Canadian firm owned and operated by the well—known Czech immigrant, Franciszek Dojacek. From its beginnings, Czas ensured that its Polish roots and content remained intact, as it was closely connected with members of the Polish Gymnastic Association, Sokol. It was through Sokol’s perseverance and guidance that facilitated the creation of the newspaper. Following the post war years, the Polish Combatants' Association (SPB) provided steadfast support of the paper.  In 2004 the publication relocated to Toronto, and merged with another Polish newspaper, Związkowiec (The Alliance), to form Czas-Związkowiec.  For nearly a century it has remained an invaluable resource of information to the Polish community in Canada -- informing new immigrants of local and international events, and assisting them with the new challenges and adjustments they faced in their new country.

In the Fall of 2003 the executive board of Czas – Polish Press Ltd., agreed to find a permanent home for their collection of bound newspapers. The Board approached the U of M Archives & Special Collections to house this unique and historical collection of Polish-Canadiana. In January 2004 the executive board of Czas officially transferred the Czas newspaper collection from Czas – Polish Press Ltd., to the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections.

With the support of the members of the Friends of Czas, the U of M Archives has embarked on digitizing the complete run of Czas from 1915 to 2004,  which corresponds to the period when the newspaper was headquartered in Winnipeg. Thanks to a University of Manitoba Outreach Award, and a  Heritage Grant  from the Province of Manitoba, the years 1920-1951 have so far been digitized. Additional years will be digitized over the next several months, -- with the eventual digitization of the entire run up to, and including the year 2004. In addition, thanks to the support and expertise of the U of M Libraries' Discovery & Delivery Services, the Czas online searchable database has been created and uploaded to the University of Manitoba Digital Collections' website. The search engine is able to conduct keyword searches with or without inputting diacritics or ligature signs that are found in the Polish alphabet.