Adriana DaviesAdriana A. Davies was born in Grimaldi, Italy, and emigrated to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in 1951 with her family. She attended St. John’s, St. Vincent’s, St. Andrew’s and St Joseph’s Schools and began her studies at the University of Alberta in 1962. She received a BA degree with Distinction (English and French) in 1965; and an MA in English in 1967.
She was a sessional instructor in the English Department at the University of Western Ontario in 1967-68 and then went to London, England to pursue doctoral studies supported by a Canada Council grant. She received her Ph.D. in 1971 and her dissertation was on “Aestheticism and Decadence in Selected 19th Century English and French Works.”
She lived in London until she returned to Edmonton in 1980 working as a researcher, writer and editor as well as an adult education lecturer for the University of London Extramural Department. In 1972-73, she was a researcher on Collins' Encyclopaedia of Antiques (published in North America by Random House). From 1977-80, she researched and wrote two volumes of the Batsford Dictionary of British Portraiture, National Portrait Gallery, London, U.K. Volume 1 covered the Middle Ages to the Early Georgians and Volume 4 covered the Twentieth Century (sitters born in the period 1860-1900).
In 1980, she returned to Edmonton with her family and became the Science and Technology Editor of The Canadian Encyclopedia. In 1984, she joined the staff of the University of Alberta working as an editor and instructional designer for the Local Government and Public Administration Programs, Faculty of Extension. In 1987, she became the Executive Director of the Alberta Museums Association and established the Standard Practices Program for the Association as well as a range on non-credit workshops.
In 1999, she became the founding Executive Director of the Heritage Community Foundation, a charitable trust with the mandate to link people with heritage through discovery and learning. She conceptualized and developed the Alberta Online Encyclopedia – www.albertasource.ca, a centennial legacy project valued at over $8 million in cash and $43 million in intellectual property. The Foundation, under Dr. Davies’ leadership, is Canada’s leading Internet publisher undertaking the full range of research and technical development to produce interactive websites.
Unlike other encyclopedia creators, who produce text-based materials (whether print or online), Foundation websites are “born digital” and include text, images, audio and video as well as a range of searchable databases. In 2008, the Encyclopedia comprised 78 websites with over 75,000 html/PHP pages, over 4,000 audio files and over 2,000 video files. In 2007, Albertasource received over 3.8 million site visits of up to half an hour duration.
Dr. Davies in collaboration with University Learning Services, developed the University of Alberta Centenary History Website All True Things: Celebrating a Century of Achievement in Public Education. The site comprises nearly 2,000 HTML and PHP pages. A series of databases make available the following content: entries on 259 University organizations including clubs and societies; a bio database with nearly 800 entries; a Feature Articles database with 735 articles drawn from various University publications; a documents database with over 5,000 pages of archival material; and a photo database with over 2,100 photos. Oral histories of nine individuals including Dr. Rod Macleod , the University of Alberta’s official historian and author of All Things True.
Dr. Davies has served on various advisory committees in the heritage, educational and voluntary sectors. She was a member of the Capacity Joint Table of the federal Voluntary Sector Initiative and served as the Co-chair of the Research Steering Committee for the National Survey of Non-Profit and Voluntary Organizations. She also served on the Advisory Committee of the Canadian Heritage Information Network for six years and the Foundation’s first web development project was a part of the Learning Through Museums project that resulted in the creation of the Virtual Museum of Canada and the Canadian Culture Online Program. As part of this project, the Foundation examined curriculum across grade and subject areas and developed key words for metatagging for ease of search engine access.
Dr. Davies is a popular presenter at educational, heritage and other specialist conferences as well as serving on provincial and national committees and peer juries. She was part of the gathering of specialists by the Canadian Commission for UNESCO to develop the Canadian position on the digital heritage.
She is a recipient of a number of awards including the Outstanding Contribution Award of the Alberta Museums Association; the Connecting Canadians award for volunteer contribution to Canada’s Digital Collections, Industry Canada; the Alberta Centennial Medal; the Edmonton Historical Board Recognition Award; the Global Woman of Vision Award; and the YWCA Woman of Distinction in the Arts Award.
In 2010, Dr. Davies was awarded the Order of Canada for her role in creating the Alberta Online Encyclopedia and for her contribution to the promotion and preservation of Alberta's cultural heritage.