Program Background


In 1998 the Archives of Ontario began digitising selections from its photographic, cartographic, architectural and documentary art collections. In the spring of 2001, the Visual Database, containing more than 5000 images, was publicly launched in our Reading Rooms and through the Archives' website. We continue regularly to add new images to this database, so please visit often.

Images from the Archives' photographic collections have been scanned from the original records. Because of size constraints, most maps and architectural drawings have been scanned from colour transparencies.

All images in the database are described at the item level and are indexed using the Library of Congress's Thesaurus for Graphic Materials. Some titles may contain terms that are no longer in use. To maintain historical accuracy, title information is copied from the original document or supplied by the creator whenever possible. If you are interested in learning more about the collection of which the image forms a part, you can search the Archives Descriptive Database, also available both through our Reading Rooms and via the Archives' website.

Technical Notes


  • Scanner: Aztek Plateau; 14 X 18 inch platen with transparency capabilities
  • Scanner Software: Aztek Digital PhotoLab V7
  • Imaging Software: Adobe Photoshop CS2
  • Monitors: BARCO CCID 120T
  • Backup: 1.36 Terabyte Network Storage
  • Computer: IBM Think Centre, 2GB RAM, 80GB hard drive, 3.4 GHz Pentium 4 processor
  • File Size and Type: A high-resolution file (600 dpi for greyscale or 300 dpi for colour) is saved as an uncompressed TIFF. Average file size 15 MB. A low-resolution file (72 dpi) is exported to the web database as a JPEG. Average file size 40 K.