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Historic Places in the Digital Age

Twenty years ago, only 3 million users were on the internet...

In 2010, almost 2 billion people in the world used the internet...

In Canada, an estimated 26 to 28 million citizens use the internet daily...

Internet

With the rapid rise of the Internet in Canada, the Canadian Register of Historic Places (CRHP) must reach Canadians effectively using the latest tools of communication.  As the digital revolution moves towards a world of high-bandwidth use and integrated networks, which work across platforms, the field of heritage conservation must embrace this revolution if it is to remain relevant to Canadians.

The goals of the CRHP are to foster appreciation of our historic places, celebrate the importance of these places, encourage Canadians to become involved in conservation and promote best practices in conservation. How can we do this effectively in the digital age?

At the core of the CRHP is its searchable list of historic places on its public WebSocial Media / Réseautage social site. The information contained in each Statement of Significance (SoS) encapsulates why a place is of heritage value. This information is necessary in understanding and appreciating historic places, yet it may be used to develop new ways of fostering appreciation of our historic places.

The CRHP has embraced social networking and media - not as a marketing tool, but as a means to engage more citizens in identifying with their local, provincial, territorial and national identities.
What steps have already been taken?

• The CRHP is increasingly more transparent as more public documents are uploaded to the historicplaces.ca Web site;
• The CRHP created a Twitter account in early 2010 to tap into like-minded organizations and individuals who are interested in knowing about their historic places;
• The CRHP has created a Facebook fan page to increase awareness of the CRHP on the world's largest social networking site;
• The CRHP has created a Flickr photo-sharing group in hopes of individuals assisting the CRHP in improving its online images of historic places;
• The CRHP has become involved in waymarking as a means to capture more information on historic places.

Can you be involved in protecting, celebrating and appreciating historic places?

YES

These tools are there for you to help improve the CRHP. With over 12,300 listings of historic places in the country, the CRHP encourages knowledge of historic places to be shared with others. Sharing knowledge aids in developing a greater awareness of historic places while creating a better appreciation of our stories and experiences as Canadians. Join the Facebook fan page; or, upload your favourite image to the Flickr Web site. These small acts can make a difference in saving and protecting our heritage.

Recently, the CRHP has developed pages capable of being displayed on mobile devices, including the iPhone, Blackberry and Android phones. This was the first step in moving the CRHP to more mobile devices and tablets. It is hoped in the near future that the CRHP will be more accessible as resources permit. This might mean that one can take advantage of GPS information, perhaps linking historic photos, plans drawings or artworks relating to the historic place.

Internet

The CRHP strives to be the definitive list of all designated historic places in Canada. To be accurate, the CRHP continues to improve its listings, but it has also begun to reach out through social networks to improve the CRHP's content and remain relevant to Canadians.

Do you have suggestions on how to improve the CRHP? Are there better methods that could assist the CRHP in striving for excellence in heritage conservation? Reach us by email at: historicplaces@pc.gc.ca

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