Tuesday, August 29, 2006

OT: Weekend Ottawa Trip

This past weekend I visited a friend who is studying in our nation’s capital. When I arrived in Ottawa on a bright, blue-sky sunny Saturday morning, I was immediately struck by how much the city had changed since the last time I visited the place.

Back then, perhaps 3-4 years ago, as a wet-behind the ears archivist headed to an interview at one of our nation’s finer institutions, Ottawa was typical Ottawa: Parliament Hill with its tourists and large, dull government buildings with its thousands of anonymous civil servants with their government employee ID cards hanging from their necks. There were only a few subtle hints—and I mean subtle—that there was something, some new construction, coming on the horizon.

(BTW, the cataloguing position for which I interviewed didn't work out.)

Those faint hints of new construction are now loud and clear…as clear as the number of construction cranes and the numerous new apartments and condominium complexes I spotted while walking around Byward Market, Ottawa’s trendy market and dining area. Even the University of Ottawa appears to have had a face lift: new buildings, new grounds.

This is by no means a Fodor or Lonely Planet evaluation of the city. But I can assure you Ottawa is changing.

I spent a good portion of the day visiting the National Gallery of Canada, whose outside plaza is dominated by a huge sculpture of a spider. It’s a piece called Maman, by artist Louise Bourgeois. Very alien-looking, very bizarre. Like something out of a first-person shooter computer game (think Half-Life). The Gallery has a live webcam overlooking the plaza.

Inside the Gallery, however, was a formidable collection of fine and contemporary art. I’m no art connoisseur, but I certainly enjoyed walking the quiet halls and taking pictures of a few items that caught my eye.

One digitization-related item: As I wandered from room to room, looking at the paintings and sculptures, I thought about how one would go about digitizing such a huge collection. The National Gallery created an art education and research site called CyberMuse, which includes a large collection of digitized images, with comprehensive information highlighting particular works of art. Good stuff.

1 comment:

Kim Tate said...

Worth a visit! Amazing location, and lots of beautiful stuff to feast your eyes on! Some absolutely fantastic displays. Don't bring food ... Cafeteria onsite is wonderful.

Kim of Impression Emedia

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I am an information professional, researcher, and writer with over eight years experience in the information services field with experience in information and communication technology.

I have a B.A. in History and a Master's in Library and Information Studies and working on a Web and Multimedia Design certificate.

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