For Jim and Lynne Carlisle (née Allen), Carleton University is a “very special place”.

The couple met in the late ‘60s while living in residence at the university. Jim was studying French and Lynne was a student in the Journalism program. Nearly 50 years later, the Carlisles decided to give back to the institution that gave them their start in life and in love by helping to purchase the Sunday Times Digital Archives collection for the MacOdrum Library.

The Sunday Times Digital Archive, 1822-2006 provides relevant research information for students and faculty across many programs like Public Affairs, History, Journalism and Political Science. As a digital collection, it can be accessed anytime, anywhere.

“I think that any learning tool that broadens what students have access to is something of great value,” said Lynne.

“We hope it’s going to be useful to people in various programs,” added Jim. “It’s not just about the current day, it’s about the past. It’s about retracing history.”

The U.K publication first began printing as The New Observer in 1821. It was reborn as The Sunday Times in October 1822 and has since produced many notable British and world stories under that moniker.

“This multidisciplinary collection will allow students, faculty and researchers from the community to access more than 180 years of investigative journalism, book and film reviews, as well as in-depth information on topics such as history, science, music and much more,” said Margaret Haines, University Librarian. “We are very thankful to Jim and Lynne Carlisle for their support. Digital collections, like the Sunday Times Archive, make a big difference for our students.”

David Sharp, head of collections for the Carleton University Library, explained that this collection complements much of what the department has been purchasing as of late.

“What we strive for when we’re procuring these collections is to meet the teaching and research needs for the professors and the students,” he said. “We’re also trying to strive for variety in terms of political standpoints, or mass appeal versus highbrow appeal. We like to have that diversity to present a full range of viewpoints.”

Traditionally, the Carleton University Library’s archival newspapers were purchased in microfilm, which would require students to visit the library during open hours to access them. Now, with The Sunday Times Digital Archive’s online availability, it can be accessed from anywhere, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year—a commodity that is becoming increasingly important to accommodate a busy student schedule.

The library fundraised and successfully acquired the Illustrated London News in 2013. Since then, it has been searched more than 4,000 times—equal to five in-person trips a day to the library to use an equivalent version in paper or microfilm.

The Sunday Times Digital Archive fundraising project was first launched on Carleton University’s crowdfunding website Futurefunder allows those interested in investing in post-secondary education to be linked directly with ventures and ideas that are of interest to them.

The Carlisles wanted to ensure that the Sunday Times project was successful. So, with their lead gift donation of $20,000, along with the generosity of another 32 donors, Carleton was able to purchase the database outright as well as provide access to all alumni.

Carleton University will be naming a study room in the MacOdrum Library in honour of Jim and Lynne Carlisle’s significant contribution.

“Our years at Carleton were some of the best years of our lives,” said Jim. “We hope that the students accessing the Sunday Times Digital Archive will find it useful to their research. And we hope they’ll look back on their university years with as much fondness as we do.”