The Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre is having its collections digitized and uploaded online thanks to a University of Alberta research project.

When the project is complete, Inuvialuit audio recordings, documentaries and texts will be available on the internet.

Catherine Cockney, who manages the large collection at the centre in Inuvik, says until now their material is usually only accessible to people who can get to their location.

"We do have a lot of information, like these books sitting on a shelf," she said. "If they're not being used, then we are not sharing our information." 

Barbara Memogana, an Inuvialuit regional language co-ordinator, agrees.

Robyn Stobbs

Researcher Robyn Stobbs is working to ensure the content that is put online can be searched easily. (CBC)

"When it's up and running, people don't have to be in Inuvik. They'll be able to access the content we post on the site from anywhere," she says.

Right now, the team is surveying Inuvialuit to find out what kinds of items they would most like to see online. Then, they'll start putting the material into a digital format, including photographing artifiacts. 

Researcher Robyn Stobbs is working to make sure that content is not only online but can be found easily.

"That's something we need to work on, because place names change and spelling varies, and often when you are searching, if you don't have that exact hit it may not pull it up," she said.

"We want to work out a way to make that feasible for people."

The project should be completed in two to three years. Stobbs hopes the Inuvialuit library will be used as a basis for other such digital libraries that other aboriginal groups might want to start.