It’s spring, and that means spring-cleaning time. If you’re thinking about refresing the look and feel of your VITA Digital Toolkit site, we can help!

Our helpsite has tons of useful resources we’ve written about how to navigate and customize the front-end of VITA. We’ve also added some example resources from other VITA members who have graciously shared templates, posters, event plans, and other documents you can learn from.

Last week we attended the Ontario Library Association SuperConference in Toronto. We love getting the chance to catch up with VITA members and show off our newest upgrades.

Besides our usual Expo Hall booth, we shared research in a few ways. Our practicum student Tiffany Luk presented a poster about web traffic to VITA newspaper collections, and ODW Media Coordinator Allana Mayer led a session on our 2018 survey of digitization in Ontario public libraries.

Grab a copy of our full report, the slides from our presentation, and a list of digitization resources. They’re on our website now!

Discover these new collections in VITA

  • New VITA member Weston Historical Society has digitized and uploaded 35,000 newspaper pages from fragile paper & microfilm
  • Waterloo Public Library has added 125,000 pages of the Waterloo Chronicleand related titles from microfilm and paper, plus their index records, dating back to 1868
  • Newmarket Public Library digitized the 1967 History of the Town of Newmarket, a 370-page text by Ethel Willson Trewhella
  • Timmins Public Library complemented their existing online index of the Porcupine Advance newspaper with 25,000 digitized microfilm pages
  • Oakville Public Library replaced 15,000 pages of already-digitized issues of theOakville Beaver and Oakville North News, improving image quality over old microfiche with better-preserved paper copies
  • The Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario digitized some 90,000 Tweedsmuir histories and Women’s Institute documents over the course of 2018, and continue to gather and scan more materials from all over the province

We are thrilled to say that we’ve finished the restore process for our VITA Toolkit partner sites. All sites are now back online, and your search results should be working.

You may discover an occasional item record that fails to load as we finish restoring some of the biggest files in our collections.

See a list of our VITA Toolkit sites.

If you visit a VITA site and continue to see an error message about the site being offline, please make sure to clear your cache and refresh the original URL (removing the “/offline” at the end).

If you have any further questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to get in touch at If you’re with a VITA member organization and want to stay updated about the administrative side of VITA, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.

Due to an unexpected service interruption, some of our VITA Toolkit digital collections are offline. We are working diligently to restore these collections for public search and discovery. Many are now back online, but as a result of this, you may encounter some links to an “offline” message either on individual VITA Toolkit sites or in the portal. All content will be back and available as soon as possible.

The Government Documents and INK sites are not affected.

Thanks for your patience. Please check back or sign up for our newsletter to receive updates.

We had an unexpected server issue over the weekend. All VITA sites and accounts are affected. We are currently restoring the sites.

You may see some sites come online ahead of others – the Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario Digital Collections is already back online, for example. Other ODW websites such as will have some links that lead to “offline” content for the moment, but INK and Government Documents are not affected.

We will post an update as soon as you can start using VITA again. We appreciate your patience as we work to resolve this issue. If you have any concerns, please let us know at Thank you!

A screenshot of a new VITA6 CSS template in action.

Our team has upgraded the platform and moved all your content and site settings over to the newest version of VITA.

Lots of changes are behind-the-scenes – you’ll notice a faster and easier VITA without having to learn anything new!

Members using the default CSS templates for their sites will see some display changes, as we’ve tweaked our code a bit.

Also, we’ve introduced some new alternate styling templates that take minimal time to set up and can drastically change the appearance and function of your VITA site!

What’s New

Faster and more responsive indexing

Changes and additions appear automatically on your public site.

Better video uploads

And you can always embed a Youtube video!

Sleeker CSS

VITA’s classic look is upgraded – plus some new looks to choose from.

Responsive search & results screens

Options you don’t use are hidden on Advanced Search and results screens. Long results automatically hide and expand.

Completely separate News from Images sites

No more overlap of content: it’s a clean break!

Bug fixes and tweaks

Stay tuned for more V6 news and support

What’s Gone

Mobile search

Your VITA site will look the same no matter what device you use, so we’ve done away with the special stripped-down version.

Search widgets

Existing ones still work, but you can’t add new ones.

FLV [Flash] video files

We’ve converted any FLV files to MP4 for you!

We love seeing what our member organizations are up to and how they use VITA in creative ways. Here’s a few we’ve profiled on the ODW blog recently:


VITA and the library as publisher

The County of Brant Public Library released their story anthology, Place Settings, using their VITA platform to host the eBook as a PDF and individual audiobook chapters, where each story is read by its author. Each chapter is geotagged to the local area where it takes place.

Waterloo Then and Now

The Then/Now Youth Photography Project is sending shutterbugs through the city to capture updated views of archival photographs.  The Waterloo Public Library created a record group in VITA to host the project online. They’ve used VITA’s multipage document module to innovatively present each pairing, so you can flip back and forth between the Then and the Now!

The Brighton Barns Project

Recently featured in their local paper, the Brighton Digital Archives has a wonderful project photographing and cataloguing local barns. The Project has begun uploading photos to their VITA site and listing them in an exhibit. At this point, almost 200 barns have been photographed, resulting in over 2,000 images, so you’ll see a lot more added in the near future.


Want your awesome community project using VITA featured in the ODW blog, newsletter, and social media? Contact us and ask how we can help!


Jess and Frances will be hosting a series of live Q&A sessions for anyone learning about VITA this summer. Whether you’re a first-timer, a summer student or intern, a long-time user looking to brush up, or an advanced user with ambitious questions, Jess and Frances will be providing demos and walk-throughs upon request.

There’s no sign-up necessary, and everyone is welcome!

Our first brown-bag lunch session is Monday, June 12th with more dates to follow:

  • June 12th, 12pm EST
  • June 26th, 12pm EST
  • July 10th, 12pm EST
  • July 24th, 12pm EST
  • August 7th, 12pm EST
  • August 21st, 12pm EST

See the Training Calendar for dates. If you can’t make it, be sure to check out the webinar recordings on our YouTube channel and the VITA Help site!

We’ve also created a handy infographic for you to refer to when you’re getting started or want to know where to look for more resources: