Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name


Parallel form(s) of name

  • Southwestern Ontario Digital Archive

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

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Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence

2010 - present


The Southwestern Ontario Digital Archive (SWODA) was created by librarian Katharine M. Ball at the University of Windsor’s Leddy Library in 2010 as a non-custodial web-based archival initiative that showcases digitized records, images, and publications shared by a variety of institutions and individual community members in the Southwestern Ontario municipalities of Windsor/Essex County, Chatham-Kent, and Sarnia/Lambton County. Led by Ball and supported by other Leddy staff, over the ensuing decade-plus the site has grown to encompass tens of thousands of documents and images and has become a popular portal for those researching local history. SWODA has become a one-stop access point for a host of individual digitization projects (including photographs, postcards, maps, ephemera, correspondence, newspapers, directories, local history books, and reports), uniting items traditionally divided between libraries and archives. It serves groups ranging from community organizations, genealogical societies, and local history buffs to scholarly researchers, media outlets, students and teachers.

As of 2021 the SWODA collection is divided into three principal areas: SWODA Newspapers, also known as INK (one of Canada’s largest and most comprehensive digitized newspaper collections, including over 50 regional newspapers for a total of nearly 2 million pages); SWODA Images (containing more than 3,500 historical photographs, postcards, and ephemera, 1860s-1960s); and SWODA Publications (including yearbooks, student newspapers, city directories, and local histories). Beginning in 2017, weekly #ThrowbackThursday images on SWODA’s Twitter account have highlighted the riches SWODA has to offer.

Sources: SWODA annual reports; conversations with Katharine Ball (2020-2021); http://swoda.uwindsor.ca/ (accessed 9 November 2021).


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Maintenance notes

  • Clipboard

  • Export

  • EAC

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