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In the Field:  The ACA Blog

Contemporary archivists are engaged in a broad range of work within the field of archives. Whether through their work environment; through initiatives in the digital realm; through their involvement with communities to document, preserve, and provide access to their records; and through other outreach endeavours, archivists are involved in a variety of spaces. In the Field is a place for discussion about the wide range of issues encountered and raised in these spaces related to archives, archival education, and archival interventions. 
For more information on proposing or submitting a blog post please read and complete the submission form We look forward to reading your contribution! 
Catherine Barnwell, In the Field Editor 
The ACA Communications Committee

  • 31 May 2022 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    These recommendations were put together by the ACA 2022 Host Team.


    Rain or Shine Homemade Ice Cream - 6001 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC V6T 0C5 
    A locally-owned ice cream shop with fun flavours, perfect for summer. Host Team member Emily loves trying out the new seasonal flavours, but will always recommend a scoop of Malted Milk Chocolate Honeycomb. Host Team member Maria recommends trying the Blueberry Balsamic for an unusual but delightful flavour combination! 

    Loafe - 6163 University Blvd, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1 
    Located in the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre, Loafe boasts some of the best coffee on campus, as well as great outdoor and indoor seating spaces steps away from the Nest. Don’t miss out on their fresh-baked pastries and handcrafted sandwiches! 

    Nest - 6133 University Blvd 4th floor, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1 
    Find a wide variety of healthy and delicious food options in the Nest, right alongside the rooms where you’ll be attending conference sessions! 
    Some of our favourite spots are Porch, Honour Roll, and The Delly. 


    Great Dane Coffee - 6011 Walter Gage Rd, Vancouver, BC V6T 0B4 
    Enjoy some of the best coffee and pastries on campus while taking advantage of the Great Dane’s large, shaded outdoor seating area. 

    Boulevard - 5970 University Blvd, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3 
    Conveniently located right at the entrance to campus, this is a lovely (and cozy!) little coffee shop with ample indoor and outdoor seating, and great coffee and sandwiches. 

    Blue Chip - 6133 University Blvd #1302, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1 
    A UBC institution centrally located in the Nest, Blue Chip has it all: delicious breakfast and lunch options, high-quality coffee and tea, space to sit – and of course, their famous cookies! 


    Beaty Biodiversity Museum – 2212 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4 
    Vancouver’s premier natural history museum. The Beaty features over 500 exhibits, a theatre where you can watch a documentary, and a 26-metre-long blue whale skeleton suspended in the atrium. 

    Museum of Anthropology - 6393 NW Marine Dr, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2 
    Widely regarded as one of Vancouver’s premier museums, the MOA is a place of world arts and cultures with a special emphasis on the First Nations peoples and other cultural communities of British Columbia. 

    UBC Botanical Garden - 6804 SW Marine DriveVancouver, BC V6T 1Z4 
    Conferences can be stressful, and what better way to unwind than a long, quiet walk in nature? Thanks to the UBC Botanical Garden, you won’t have to venture far to find this space of quiet solace! (The garden is even home to a small library and archives!)  

    Nitobe Memorial Garden - 1895 Lower Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4 
    Considered one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan, the Nitobe is a traditional Japanese stroll garden and authentic tea house located just a 10-minute walk away from where you’ll be attending conference sessions. 

    Wreck Beach - 6572 NW Marine Drive, Vancouver, BCV6T 1A7 
    It’s a bit of a workout getting down to Vancouver’s legendary clothing-optional beach – look for the steep staircases of Trail 6 at the west end of University Boulevard to find your way to beautiful Wreck Beach. Once you’re there, you can probably even find vendors selling snacks and drinks! 

    Aquatic Centre - 272 - 6081 University Blvd, Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1 
    Looking to do some laps, take a soak in a hot tub, or just have a personal spa day in a sauna? The UBC Aquatic Centre is a state-of-the-art facility that serves athletic training, competition, and neighbourhood leisure needs. It could be your ideal place to wind down after a full day of conference sessions! 

    Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery - 1825 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2 
    if you're in the mood for contemporary art and contemporary issues visit the Belkin Art Gallery. The Belkin’s collection contains more than 5000 artworks, making it one of the largest public art collections in the province, as well as over 20,000 archival items relating to the post-war history of art in Vancouver and the avant-garde narratives of the 1960s to 1970s. 

    Pacific Spirit Park - 4915 W 16th Ave, Vancouver, BCV6R 3E9 
    A paradise for nature lovers of all ages and abilities, Pacific Spirit Regional Park rings UBC’s Vancouver campus with lush rainforest trails. The 90-hectare park has almost 75 kilometres of walking and hiking paths — 50 kilometres of which are designated multi-use.If you’re taking part in the ACA 2022 Conference Run and Walk Challenge, this could be the perfect place to participate from! 

    Don't forget to check out Part 2!

    To see where in Vancouver all of these recommended spots are located check out this map!

  • 31 May 2022 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    These recommendations were put together by the ACA 2022 Host Team.


    Green Leaf Sushi - 3416 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6R 2B3 
    No trip to Vancouver is complete without some sushi! Located in Kitsilano, Green Leaf is a quick bus ride away from UBC and offers a good assortment of options, including some delicious aburi nigiri. 

    Salmon n’ Bannock - 1128 W Broadway #7, Vancouver, BC V6H 1G5 
    Salmon n’ Bannock is Vancouver’s only Indigenous owned and operated restaurant. Come for the amazing food made with traditional ingredients, stay for the best service in the city. Host Team member Emily highly recommends the mushrooms on toasted bannock and pemmican mousse. 

    Tacofino - 1909 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6J 3L9 
    Vancouver is not normally known for its Central and South American food, but Tacofino might just change your mind about that! Originally a food truck, Tacofino has enjoyed such success in recent years that they’ve been able to open locations all across the city. Make sure you try the fish tacos, and don’t miss out on happy hour either! 

    Chickpea Restaurant - 4298 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3P9 
    Hummus-lovers rejoice! Chickpea serves Mediterranean-inspired vegetarian and vegan cuisine that feels equal parts hearty and healthy. Hip atmosphere, large portions, and their signature chickpea fries, which are a must. They've also got a great list of signature cocktails if you're in the mood for a drink.  

    Anh and Chi - 3388 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3M7 
    Consistently ranked as one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in the city! There may be a line, but it's always worth the wait. 

    Fassil Ethiopian - 736 E Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5T 1X9 
    Fassil was Host Team member James’ introduction to Ethiopian food over 13 years ago and he’s loved it ever since. The atmosphere is upbeat, the injera perfectly soft and spongy, and the proprietors always welcoming to first-time eaters. For some of you, Fassil will taste like home; for others, who may be new to Ethiopian cuisine, there’s no better place to try it for the first time. 

    The Pokéman: Kakigori Café and Poké Shop- 3742 W 10th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6R 2G4 
    Not only is The Pokéman conveniently located just one bus stop away from campus on the 99 route, it also boasts some of the best poké in the city! Host Team member Ashlynn refuses to eat poké anywhere else. 

    Sombreros Tacos – 1290 Howe St., Vancouver, BC, V6Z 1R5 
    Authentic Mexican taqueria in the heart of downtown Vancouver that also offers other Mexican specialties and snacks. Pick up any of their specialty combinations and enjoy an evening al fresco at nearby David Lam Park.  

    Breka Bakery & Cafe – 3750 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6R 1P3 
    Although Breka has various locations all around the city, this location is great because of its proximity not only to UBC, but also to Hastings Mill Park, which is just a few blocks north and right on the water. Stop by Breka for a sandwich and some coffee, then head up for some sunshine and some of the best views of the North Shore mountains and downtown skyline! 

    Parthenon Market - 3089 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6K 2G9
    A pillar of Vancouver’s Greektown, Parthenon Market offers freshly prepared options in their deli, as well as a variety of Greek and Mediterranean specialty products. Stop in for a spanakopita or tiropita (Host Team member Maria’s favourite on-the-go snack!) while exploring the West Broadway neighbourhood. 

    Puerto Mexico - 2710 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6K 3W2 
    This newcomer to Kitsilano is one of Host Team member Emily’s new favourites. It’s asmall shop with a lot of heart and a great place to stop for a to-go street taco on your wayto the beach.  

    Au Comptoir - 2278 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6K 1N8 
    Located in Kitsilano, Au Comptoir is a classic casual French restaurant. Host Team member Ashlynn thinks it’s some of the best authentic French food and service she’s had outside of France. 

    Trafiq Café and Bakery - 4216 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3P9 
    If you ask Host Team member Emily, Trafiq has the best cakes in the city. Spend some time exploring Main Street and then stop in for a reviving sweet or savoury treat.  


    Platform 7 Coffee - 2300 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6K 2E5 
    Designed to resemble a Belle-Époque Parisian train station, Platform 7 offers a cozy, quaint experience in Vancouver’s trendy Kitsilano neighbourhood. Experience beautiful hand-crafted espresso drinks from the Espresso Bar, exquisitely brewed single origin coffees on the Brew Bar, or refreshing cold brews from the Cold Bar. 

    Aperture – 243 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5Y 1P5 – Cambie and Broadway; 4124 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3P7 – Main and King Edward 
    Both of Aperture’s locations are favourites among locals and feature cozy, quiet study spaces in addition to expertly crafted coffee. Host Team member Ashlynn is a fan of the Main St. location in particular, which boasts a not-so-secret back room full of plush armchairs and couches – and did we mention a full bar? Kick back with an espresso and breakfast sandwich in the morning, or a glass of beer with a plate of nachos in the evening. If you’re lucky, you might even catch some live jazz. 

    Our Town Café (Main and Broadway) - 255 E Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5T 1W4 
    Conveniently located a stone’s throw from the Main and Broadway bus stop in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant area, Our Town features a bright, open space full of cozy tables and corner nooks where you can unwind with a coffee and some food. This would be the perfect place to have a moment to yourself before joining us for the Vancouver Mural Fest walk! 

    Milano Coffee Roasters (8th between Cambie and Main) - 156 W 8th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5Y 1N2 
    While centrally located and easy to access via public transport, Milano also benefits from the peace and quiet of being a couple of steps removed from the hustle and bustle of Broadway. Here, you can samplefood and some of the best traditional Italian coffee in the city while enjoying the view of an open field across the street and beautiful sunsets over downtown in the distance. Plenty of indoor seating as well as a shady outdoor patio. 

    Café Cittadella (near Cambie and Broadway) - 2310 Ash St, Vancouver, BC V5Z 3C2 
    Discover this hidden gem inside a heritage building, serving up elevated café eats. The house was built in 1894 and has since been transformed into an espresso bar and bistro. It boasts spacious seating upstairs and downstairs, and a beautiful garden patio with plenty of shaded outdoor seating – just you and the trees. 

    Grounds for Coffee (Alma and 10th) - 2565 Alma St, Vancouver, BC V6R 3R8 
    Who doesn’t love a cinnamon bun? Conveniently located just one bus stop away from UBC on the 99 route, Grounds for Coffee has delicious coffee, a cozy and quiet atmosphere, and some of the best cinnamon buns in the city, including seasonal favourites. 

    Arbutus Coffee (near Arbutus and Broadway) - 2200 Arbutus St, Vancouver, BC V6J 3Y1 
    Tucked away a few blocks from the busy city thoroughfares, Arbutus Coffee is a lovely little neighbourhood coffeehouse located in a Class A Heritage Building. A casual place with great coffee, great baked goods and most importantly, an ambient atmosphere to tie it all together. 

    Café Lokal (4th and Macdonald) - 2610 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6K 1P8 
    Conveniently located just a 20-minute bus ride from UBC, Café Lokal is a bright, spacious spot where you can grab almost anything you’re craving – lunch, dinner, coffee, or drinks. From Wednesday to Friday, they’re open late, and you may even catch some live music during your visit. 

    49th Parallel and Lucky’s Doughnuts – 2198 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6K 1N7 
    49th Parallel boasts some of the best locally-roasted coffee in the city, and the location closest to UBC boasts a large outdoor covered patio in addition to a cozy and vibrant indoor seating space, all in Vancouver’s trendy Kitsilano neighbourhood. Did we mention 49th Parallel offers Lucky’s Doughnuts fresh in-house? 

    Pubs & Breweries 

    Long Table Gin Distillery - 1451 Hornby St, Vancouver BC, V6Z 1W8 
    If beer isn’t your thing, check out this intimate craft gin distillery tucked away in Vancouver’s North Yaletown neighbourhood. Stop in for a delicious cocktail made with their small-batch gins and botanical-infused mixers, or take a bottle home with you as a souvenir.  

    33 Acres Brewing Company - 15 W 8th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5Y 1M8 
    Minimalist-style craft beers that pack a punch. Stop in for a beer and some snacks in the evening, or visit them on the weekend for brunch. Host Team member Mariarecommends trying their Mezcal Gose.  

    Andina Brewing Company - 1507 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V5L 5C3 
    If you're exploring the breweries of East Van, you don’t want to miss Andina. (With its bright yellow exterior, how could you?) Andina is particularly known for crisp, fruity sours and unparalleled IPAs. Plus, a menu of Colombian snacks and shareables you won’t find anywhere else. I recommend the “platachos” — nachos made with plantain chips. 

    Superflux Beer Company - 505 Clark Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L 3H6 
    Creative craft beers and fancy hotdogs – the perfect pairing! Host Team member Maria is particularly fond of their Fountainbier Orange Cream, which tastes exactly like an orange creamsicle. Perfect for sipping on their patio on a warm summer evening.  

    Odd Society Spirits - 1725 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V5L 1H6 
    Host Team member Melanie loves the funky atmosphere and the unique small-batch craft spirits distilled onsite. Try a flight or make a selectionfrom the ever-changing cocktail list. Current personal favorite: Cream Soda Sour. 

    Brassneck - 2148 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3C5 
    Visit Brassneck at both the beginning and the end of ACA 2022, and there might very well be new beers added to their menu in those intervening days. That’s how often they’re coming up with unique craft brews in addition to their delicious staples. Brassneck is where Host Team member James most often grabs an after-work drink with his best friend and where he brings beer-loving guests who are visiting Vancouver for the first time. 


    Stanley Park Explore the 400-hectare natural West Coast rainforest and enjoy scenic views of water, mountains, sky, and majestic trees along Stanley Park's famous Seawall. Discover kilometres of trails, beautiful beaches, local wildlife, great eats, natural, cultural and historical landmarks, along with many other adventures. The park offers a wide range of unforgettable experiences for all ages and interests, including Canada’s largest aquarium. 

    Granville Island Tucked below the Granville Street bridge, this Vancouver institution is home to shops, boutiques, arts and culture opportunities, breweries, and of course the famous Granville Island Market, where you can try almost any kind of food – just make sure you keep it away from the seagulls! This would be a great place to stop by for a bite or just a nice walk along the water, especially after you join us for our Vanier Park museum tours just a few steps away. 

    VanDusen Botanical Garden - 5251 Oak St, Vancouver, BC V6M 4H1 
    VanDusen Botanical Garden is a 55-acre oasis in the heart of Vancouver with over 7,500 plant species and varieties from around the world! Spot and photograph local wildlife, find your way through an Elizabethan hedge maze, unwind in a serene setting, dine on the patios of Truffles Cafe or Shaughnessy Restaurant, or browse the garden-themed gift shop. VanDusen has something for everyone to enjoy! 

    Queen Elizabeth Park and Bloedel Conservatory - 4600 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V5Z 2Z1 
    QE Park is Vancouver’s horticultural jewel and a major draw for floral display enthusiasts and view-seekers. At 125 m above sea level, it’s the highest point in Vancouver and makes for spectacular views of the park, city, and mountains on the North Shore. It is also home to Bloedel Conservatory, which is a domed lush paradise which is home to more than 100 exotic birds, and 500 exotic plants and flowers. Host Team member Ashlynn recommends pairing a visit to this park with lunch at nearby Aperture café. 

    The Cinematheque - 1131 Howe St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2K8 
    The Cinematheque is the home of art house cinema in Vancouver. It exhibits the kinds of films you don’t normally get to see on a big screen, movies that challenge you or blow your mind or mesmerize you visually. I also recommend The Cinematheque because it curates films from around the world, highlights under-represented voices, and often features artist retrospectives and Q&A’s with creators. 

    The Rio Theatre - 1660 E Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5N 1W1 
    The Rio reminds Host Team member James of the single-screen cinema he grew up with in his hometown. Going to the Rio fills him with nostalgia in a way the big chains just don’t. (It helps that the Rio frequently shows 70s, 80s, and 90s cult classics.) The concession stand has a great beer selection, there’s balcony seating, and — something that was not on offer at James’ hometown cinema — live events like burlesque shows or stand-up comedy.   


    Pulpfiction Books - 2422 Main Street; 2754 W Broadway; 1830 Commercial Drive   
    Pulpfiction describes itself as one of Canada’s largest and busiest bookstores, and I believe it! Their flagship location on Main Street has a huge selection of paperbacks and comics, with particularly impressive sci-fi and fantasy sections. Don’t make the mistake of coming back later for whatever caught your eye — their shelves have a high turnover and so that book may be gone by the time you return! 

    Canterbury Tales Bookstore - 2010 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N 4A9 
    In Canterbury Tales’ tightly packed shop on Commercial Drive, you can’t turn around without spotting something you’d like to take home with you. They have a diverse selection, including a mix of used and new books, and a particularly strong selection of children's and YA titles.  

    Spartacus Books - 1983 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC V5N 4A8  
    Spartacus Books is a non-profit, volunteer-run bookstore and resource centre specializing in “anti-capitalist, political books not found in big-box bookstores.” Its books, zines, comics, magazines, and other materials are related to such fields as Indigenous fiction/non-fiction, race and society, queer studies, feminism, environmentalism, and radical theory. Spartacus has been around for more than 40 years and is like no other bookstore in Vancouver! 

    First Used Books - 69 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5T 3J1 
    I like my used bookstores unassuming and full of surprises, which is what you’ll get from First Used Books. This shop has a little bit of everything, with an emphasis on Canadiana, and is perfect for browsing. The proprietor — giving off some amazing Gandalf/Merlin vibes — will point you in the right direction if you're having trouble finding something. 

    Lucky’s Books and Comics - 3972 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3P2 
    There are plenty of great comics stores in the city, but Lucky’s stands out for its dedication to independent comics and zines, especially by local artists. Lucky’s is an important part of the Vancouver comics community, hosting launches, readings, workshops, and even live music. The store offers plenty of niche publications, manga titles, and work by BIPOC/LGBTQ+ creators. 

    MacLeod’s Books - 455 W Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2Z3 
    MacLeod’s is the quintessential second-hand bookstore, with nary a spare inch of shelf space or even floor space. There are books stacked or piled everywhere, making this the perfect place for bibliophiles and readers who relish the thrill of the hunt.  

    The Paper Hound - 344 W Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2V6 
    Just a few blocks down from MacLeod’s, the Paper Hound is a smaller space with a more boutique-y feel and a more curated selection of titles. In their words: The Paper Hound doesn’t specialize in any one genre, instead favouring “the classic, curious, odd, beautiful, visually arresting, scholarly, bizarre, and whimsical.” 

    Massey Books - 229 E Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1Z6
    100% Indigenous owned and operated. 1,500 square feet of books plus an art gallery showcasing emerging community artists. 

    Don't forget to check out Part 1 for UBC recommendations!

    To see where in Vancouver all of these recommended spots are located check out this map!

  • 5 May 2022 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    Sundus Saba is working towards completing a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Marketing from York University. She has undertaken roles in libraries, archives, and heritage organizations. She is passionate about ensuring the histories of different communities are visible within archival records so they can be preserved for future generations.

    Who knew taking a Public History course in my fourth year of undergraduate studies would change the trajectory of my career?  As a marketing major, I was on a very linear business career pathway, but I always had a passion for history.  I had previous experience working with archival material, in the heritage sector and libraries, and took an Islamic Civilization history course as an elective.  Somewhere along the way, the stars aligned and here I am completing a Public History course placement at the York University Libraries (YUL) Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections (CTASC) as a digital records assistant working on the Mariposa Folk Foundation fonds.  This placement provided me with insights into the importance of diversity in the archival profession and an appreciation for the labour involved in archival description. 

    Mariposa Folk Festival 2012 programme booklet. 

    The Mariposa Folk Foundation’s mandate is “the promotion and preservation of folk art in Canada through song, story, dance, and craft.” The Mariposa Folk Foundation fulfils its mandate through its annual Mariposa Folk Festival (MFF); it is one of the longest running folk festivals in North America. The festival has hosted notable artists including Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, and Bob Dylan. It has also fostered the developing talents of many of Canada’s up-and-coming artists, as well as the vibrant folk and Indigenous performers of North America. In 2007, the Mariposa Folk Foundation donated approximately 300 boxes of historical records which document their annual folk music festival to the CTASC. The “Mariposa: celebrating Canadian folk music exhibit at the CTASC tells the story of the festival’s first two decades and, by extension, the folk music movement of the 1960s and 1970s. In the years since that initial donation, MFF has regularly donated additional material in both analog and born-digital formats including over 500 GB of live performance recordings from 2010 to 2019.  
    While working ten hours each week at the CTASC, I processed approximately 100 digital records from the 2012 festival using Excel formulas and functions to reconcile technical and descriptive metadata. In the words of my supervisor, I was living and breathing spreadsheets. My weekly tasks involved reviewing resources, researching MFF performers to create name authority records, and capturing information about the live performances from the 2012 festival program booklet to create archival descriptions in an Excel spreadsheet. An interesting moment during this process was discovering that the renowned Gordon Lightfoot put ona surprise performance which wasn’t scheduled in the program and, as a result, was not in the program booklet. I conducted thorough research using different websites and news articles to verify and describe this surprise performance. Although at times these tasks seemed tedious and repetitive, they were crucial for archival description. Archival descriptions are valuable because they help future archives in explaining the context around a specific record.  

    Name Authorities Excel spreadsheet of Mariposa Folk Festival. Photo credit: Sundus Saba.  

    Of the many tasks that I undertook during my placement, I found working with OpenRefine the most rewarding. Dealing with messy and non-standard data in archival description, file lists, and other metadata operations can be a massive headache. Manually adjusting lines of data can take hours of time. However, thanks to OpenRefine (an open-source desktop application for data cleanup and transformation to other formats) I was able to code formulas into GREL (General Refine Expression Language) to expedite data transformation, cleanup, and cross referencing. The image below is a screen shot of approximately 5 pages worth of text to format a column of dates. If I did that manually it could have taken me hours (in fact, this was the case during the first half of my placement) but with OpenRefine, I am able to do it in a minute. With this information, the CTASC provides greater access to the MFF fonds and enables these records to be more easily discovered through online databases.  
    The mariposaAtoM project in the OpenRefine software database. Photo Credit: Sundus Saba.
    My supervisor, archivist Katrina Cohen-Palacios, was an influential figure during my placement. By genuinely caring about my experience and excitement about my work, she encouraged me to explore different aspects of archives, which I found very valuable in the early stages of my career exploration. She also introduced me to the Archives Association Ontario’s (AAO) “Safe Spaces for BIPOC Archivists” session. These virtual sessions are safe spaces set aside and reserved for archives workers and records managers, including students, emerging, and established professionals, from historically excluded groups in the profession to connect with one another in an informal, participant-driven environment. As someone who identifies as a Muslim woman, I immediately felt connected with the group and gained appreciation for the work these individuals are doing to advance diversity in the archival profession. Katrina really took the time to answer my questions and offered advice about graduate school, careers, and my research paper. She encouraged my professional development by suggesting articles to read and different webinars to watch that supported my academic interests.  
    One of the highlights of my placement was the many networking opportunities. In one such opportunity, I met with archivist Moska Rokay from the Muslims in Canada Archives (MiCA). As a Muslim, it was encouraging and insightful knowing that there is a platform for the missing Muslim voices in Canada’s historical narrative. MiCA is doing great work to preserve the history and document the heritage of Muslims in Canada. I also met with Marcia Salmon, YUL digital scholarship metadata librarian, who collaborates with CTASC to mint name authorities in the NACO funnel. Coincidentally, I met with her during the time when I was working with name authorities for the Mariposa Folk Festival. She helped me understand the purpose of name authorities, which is to facilitate searching and browsing, and to establish a unique identifier for an entity name record. Lastly, I met with senior archivist Sean Smith from the Archives of Ontario. He spoke to me about the importance of outreach and making the histories of different communities visible. What piqued my interest was the alignment of archival advocacy and outreach with marketing. Sean emphasized that archivists must redefine their professional roles in society to meet the community’s needs. Just as in marketing we are building brand awareness and providing information to the target audience about products through various media channels, archives are shifting to raise public awareness of their special collections, records, and exhibits.  
    Despite this being a completely remote placement, I found the experience to be very hands on as I had to primarily rely on the Internet and digital files to complete my work. A big advantage of working remotely was the flexibility to create my own work schedule. As most of my classes were in the evening, I often worked early in the morning and met regularly with Katrina to update her on my progress. Because of the pandemic restrictions, many webinars and training sessions were offered online such as the Black History Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon. I was fortunate to have been able to participate in these unique opportunities from the comfort of my home. My placement experience broadened my understanding of the practice of public history in archives and provided me with opportunities that I will treasure moving forward in my career. 

  • 26 Apr 2022 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    Rodney Carter (RHSJ St. Joseph Region Archives, Kingston, ON) on behalf of the Archivaria Editorial Board 

    In order to better understand who is being published in Archivaria, the Editorial Board began to compile statistics on the authors who appear in the journal. The aim of this work was to identify any trends in authorship and to attempt to discern areas of concern or groups that may be underrepresented. 

    A preliminary analysis of 21 issues, from Archivaria72 (Fall 2011) to Archivaria92 (Fall 2021),was prepared and presented at the Editorial Board’s meeting held in February 2022. It was felt that this information may of be interest to the wider archival community so we are sharing some of our initial findings. 

    Based on the information on authors available, we examined language of submission, gender of the authors, location of the authors, type of institutions authors are affiliated with, and began some analysis across categories. It is apparent that there are limitations in the available information as certain identity categories we might wish to examine - such as whether authors identify as Indigenous, Black and/or as a Person of Colour - are not captured in the current metadata. As a result, the Editorial Board is planning on expanding information collected at the time articles are submitted in order to be able to fill this gap in our knowledge going forward. 

    Submissions and Authors 

    In the 21 issues reviewed, there were a total of 265 submissions. This includes every item published in the journal, including articles, reviews, studies in documents, counterpoints, letters to the editor, obituaries, etc. There were 96 articles, nine studies in documents, six counterpoints, seven Dodds Prize-winning articles, 109 reviews, and 38 other submissions.  

    Thirty-seven submissions were co-authored leading to a total of 325 authors for all submissions. While the majority of authors (202) were published once, several authors had published multiple works over the period - including one author who contributed a remarkable eight submissions - so there were 249 unique authors identified. Of these, seven authors wrote in French in six separate submissions.  

    Number of Submissions per Unique Author 

    Number of Authors 















    Total Unique Authors 


    Gender & Institutional Affiliation 

    In order to better understand the identities of Archivaria’s authors, we began our analysis by looking at gender and institutional affiliations of the authors of each submission. Of the 325 authors, the majority (203) identified as female with 115 male-identified authors, and seven authors who identified as nonbinary. 

    This breakdown was generally reflected across submission types.  


    When the gender was examined in relation to the institutional affiliation of the author, the female/male ratio seen overall was reflected in academic faculty. Gender parity was met or approached in authors working in governmental archives (national, provincial/state, and municipal), and a few other categories. Twice as many submissions were published by authors identifying as female in the university/college archives category and the difference was even greater in the PhD and Independent archivist/researcher categories. 

    In examining types of institutional affiliations, the Editorial Board was interested in comparing the number of submissions of authors primarily identified as academics to the number of submissions by archival practitioners. For the purpose of this analysis, authors who identified as faculty at a college or university (regardless of department) and graduate students at the PhD and Master’s levels were considered “academics” and all others were classified as “practitioners”, although it is fully acknowledged that these professional identities are fluid and not necessarily exclusive, and that there is plenty of room for refinement in these categories. While lacking nuance, this comparison is offered to provide a broad-strokes glimpse at authorship categories.  

    Across all submissions, a majority of items published were from academic authors. Given the richness of research coming out of archival studies programmes recently this is not a surprise but, still, nearly 40% of items were authored by practitioners. The same ratio is reflected if just the articles are examined.  


    In an attempt to identify if there were any trends discernable over time, the number of submissions was looked at from 2011 to 2021. Depending on the issue, however, the number of submissions from academics vs practitioners varied and no specific trend can be identified, although, generally, there has been a decline in submissions in recent years which has impacted the last three issues (Archivaria 90-92). This may be related to the impact of COVID-19 on the ability to produce intellectual work and we believe we will see the number of submissions begin to rise again.When the analysis expands to include authors dating back to Archivaria 1 it is expected that the lines will reflect the impact of the development and expansion of university-based archival studies. 


    Finally, we looked where the authors were publishing from across Canada and around the world. Given that Archivaria is the journal of the Association of Canadian Archivists, the majority (71%) of submissions were from authors based in Canada, as expected. The journal has become a desirable venue for international authors, however, with 18% of published submissions coming from the United States and significant numbers of articles from the UK and Australia, and Archivaria has also published submissions of authors from New Zealand, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and Denmark. 

    Of submissions from Canadian-based authors, the largest number came from the provinces with the greatest populations and the largest archival studies programmes: Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec. During the period under review, submissions were received from every province and territory with the exceptions of Prince Edward Island and Nunavut.  

    Next Steps 

    This initial review was undertaken to see if we could identify some general characteristics about Archivaria authors given the available information. Using the past ten years as a starting point, we have been able to test some assumptions held about authorship and now have a clearer understanding of the authors published to date in the journal. Moving forward, we plan on compiling statistics back to the first issue in order to look at trends over the full scope of its publication.  

    The Editorial Board will use the information gained from these statistics as part of a larger strategy to attempt to identify whose voices have been underrepresented or have not been included in the journal so that we can better solicit submissions to better reflect the wider community. 

    The Editorial Board will be seeking more detailed information from those who submit writings to Archivaria so that, going forward, we are able to gain an increasingly accurate picture of journal contributors.

  • 21 Apr 2022 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    The ACA McGill University Student Chapter invites you to join us for an immersive series of blog posts titled PeepShow and Tell: Sex in Archives. Through interviews with researchers and professionals working firsthand with explicit materials, we hope to illuminate the intrinsic value of sex and sexuality within the field of archiving and why these materials deserve to be preserved. 

    Jay Bossé, the co-author for this piece, is a graduate student with the School of Information Studies at McGill University and Co-Coordinator of the ACA McGill University Student Chapter Blog Series Peepshow & Tell: Sex in Archives. 

    For this post, we spoke with Karen Herland, a part-time faculty member in Concordia University’s Major in Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality (offered across the Arts and Science and Fine Arts Faculties). Herland is currently teaching an undergraduate course in Queer Theory.   

    Jay: In her article Working as an Embedded Archivist in an Undergraduate Course”, Fic presents how her work as an embedded archivist in an undergraduate history course taught students the foundation of archival research. In collaboration with the course professor and their lectures, she conducted a workshop series over the first half of the semester. She states that by the end of the semester, "Students demonstrated their ability to conduct archival and primary source research, analyze secondary literature, and conduct original research projects on their own”(Fic, 2018, p. 299).While she notes that being an embedded archivist is a very time-intensive project and would not be sustainable to take part in every undergraduate history course, it is clear that her role in this course was extremely beneficial for students(Fic, 2018, p. 299). 

    Through correspondence with Professor Herland about her undergraduate Queer theory course, I investigate other potential ways to include archives and archivists in undergraduate courses other than embedded archivists. More specifically, I reflect on how Herland’s undergraduate Queer Theory course presents the ways archives as institutions can greatly benefit undergraduate learning and further develop critical thinking skills.  

    In her semester-long course, Herland works collaboratively with her students to define, understand, and apply "Queer" as a theoretical concept, methodology, and approach to activism and organizing. Through reading, discussion and assignments, they become familiar with the interdisciplinary field of queer theory, focusing on its emergence through poststructuralist, critical race, lesbian, gay, cultural and feminist studies to its current articulations (Herland, 2022). The course looks to archives to reflect on concepts of authority, preservation, and erasure within the broader theme of Queer theory. The course's final project is broken down into three parts: an analysis of a text about Queer Archival practice, a proposal for a research project (either analyzing an existing collection or considering the creation of your own), and finally, a research paper, digital archive, or another project on queer archival practices (Herland, 2022). The final project asks students to reflect on practical matters like what should be part of a queer archive, who would have access, and who the intended users are (Herland, 2022). It also challenges students to think more broadly about the role of queer archives, their relation to community and their place as intergenerational projects (Herland, 2022). 

    Jay: Could you tell me a little more about the development of this course?  

    Herland: I have long wanted to teach Queer Theory and was thrilled when the opportunity arose. Through teaching a different course on HIV/AIDS, I am very familiar with translating key moments, events, elements of my own experience into terms that students who grew up in a very different context can relate to (teaching about HIV in the time of COVID has markedly changed that, though that’s a story for another time). I wanted to approach Queer Theory in the same spirit. 

    Jay: For you, what did the focus on archives bring to the course that a simple introduction to Queer theory could not?   

    Herland: For me, archives speak to memory, history, community-building and connection. The very act of archiving renders something ephemeral important – it is named, catalogued and retrievable. As a field/concept, Queer Theory is a bridge between activism and thought. So as the students are learning about Queer Theory, archives demonstrate a tangible example of the actualization of thought and action.  

    How do you create/transmit knowledge? Who is/isn’t included in knowledge production? Are there ways to acknowledge changes in perception, terminology, tone, parameters? How do you balance access, resources and autonomy? How can you account for what has been left out, and how do you transmit that forward?None of these questions are unique to the archive, but the archive provides a crucible for considering these questions. 

    Jay: How is the course going, and do students seem excited by the course content and archival focus of the course and final project?  

    HerlandI feel really lucky to be working with such a smart, engaged, cooperative group of students. They have taken this challenge/opportunity up in ways I could not have imagined. From the micro of exploring a specific interaction or relationship and the meanings layered into it initially and overtime to the broader role of clothing, place and memory in the building of community and connection. The range of ways they have developed this basic idea of an archive in/of/for community is extraordinary. 

    Jay: You mentioned in our earlier correspondence that COVID kept the course from fully engaging with archival materials and archivists. If you had the opportunity to teach this course without the restraints of COVID (or even budget, time *perfect world scenario*), how would you like to incorporate archives and archivists more into the course? 

    Herland: We haven’t been able to visit or work with archives directly – COVID, staffing, resources, etc., make that almost impossible. But I have had people involved in archival creation talk to the students through Zoom. As well, Lucas LaRochelle was able to present not just their Queering the Map project but the decision-making on the back end that allowed the project to be queered in form as well as function. Those exchanges inspired the students to think about how they approach the question and what could/should be preserved for the future. 

    Jay: This course is a great example of when students might not gain the most from an embedded archivist in a course focussing on archives. As mentioned by Fic, embedded archivists is a time-consuming role (Fic, 2018, p. 299).It is not realistic or sustainable for university archivists to continuously take on co-teaching positions alongside their other duties. Moreover, as demonstrated through the development of this course and its critical engagement with archives, it might not be beneficial necessarily for students to only work with one archive or a single archivist. As this course demonstrates, students’ ability to find, research, investigate and critique the conceptual elements of archives as they relate to queer theory is more relevant than learning traditional research skills. Thus, this course comes to be a great example of how non-university archives and archivists might have an opportunity to add to undergraduate student learning. It demonstrates why projects and initiatives such as tours, guest lecturing, or even digital exhibitions coming from archives can be essential teaching tools and great outreach opportunities.   


    Fic, C. (2018). Working as an Embedded Archivist in an Undergraduate Course: Transforming Students into Scholars through an Archival Workshop Series. The American Archivist, 81(2), 290–309. 

    Herland, K. (2022). FASS 392 Queer Theory [Syllabus]. Location: Major in Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality Concordia University.

  • 19 Apr 2022 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    The ACA McGill University Student Chapter invites you to join us for an immersive series of blog posts titled PeepShow and Tell: Sex in Archives. Through interviews with researchers and professionals working firsthand with explicit materials, we hope to illuminate the intrinsic value of sex and sexuality within the field of archiving and why these materials deserve to be preserved. 

    Ezell Carter, co-editor for this piece, is a graduate student with the School of Information Studies at McGill University and the Co-Coordinator of the ACA McGill University Student Chapter.

    For this post in our PeepShow & Tell Series, we got the chance to work with Steven Frost, a prominent mixed media artist and Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the College of Media Communication + Information, University of Colorado Boulder.  In our discussion, we dive into how Steven’s research with sexually explicit archives influences their work and how preserving and providing access to these materials gives researchers an intimate glance into the lives of others.  

    What are some of the unique opportunities researching sexually explicit content provides you with? How does the material, specifically historical, archived pieces, affect your work? 

    Sexually explicit archives are fascinating because in my experience you get to see people’s private fantasies in a way that is uncommon in popular culture. Historically, as well as today, people often hide their fetishes from the public out of fear that they may lose their home, job, or damage their reputation. Sexual archives become a place where the ephemera of people’s private lives are collected with the intention of being discovered by other like-minded people. 

    At the Leather Archives and Museum (LA&M) in Chicago, I was particularly drawn to clothing, DIY sex toys, hand-drawn pornographic comics, and personal correspondence between play partners. The archived correspondence gave context to a lot of the unusual toys I was finding and allowed me to experience the stories of queer spaces that have long since been replaced by mixed-use high rises and micro-breweries. 

    As a queer person who came of age in a period of increased cultural acceptance, I often compared my own experiences to an inaccurate image of older queer people living quietly in the shadows, but the archive gave me an opportunity to understand queer joy as it was experienced before queer rights were nationalized and queer culture was consumed as pop. Objects, letters, and images in an archive can give voice to the lives and desires of a generation of people that we will never have the chance to know. 

    Digging through archives inspired me to create what I call "ghost collaborations." My "ghost collaborators" are people I would have loved to have known and worked with as an artist but because of their passing, only artifacts of their lives and desires remain. I try to get a sense of these folx through the materials in their archives and create “ghost collaborations” inspired by them. This way of manifesting people in my practice started when looking at the Jim Kane collection in the LA&M but has since transformed into collaborations inspired by the archives of long-departed family members like my Great-Aunt Helen and sometimes celebrities like Liberace. (Figure 1) 

    Figure 1. Jim Kane Papers PERS 0003, Jim Kane Collection, Box 5 of 9, Leather Archives & Museum (LA&M), Chicago, Illinois, United States (Photograph provided by Steven Frost) 

    What is your favourite part of working with these sorts of materials?  

    Jim Kane’s personal correspondence provided me with a picture of an individual who was not just a practitioner of BDSM but part of a larger international queer culture when many were localized by geographical limitations. Among his archive are thank you letters from Étienne/Stephen (Dom), Robert Mapplethorpe, and Tom of Finland. One such undated letter recalls Jim’s first of many encounters with artist Tom of Finland. 

    Dear Jim, 
    Many thanks for the dinner party which you gave me when I was in San Francisco. It was a pleasure meeting you and exciting to see your special room downstairs, which gave me lots of ideas for future drawings. 
     You looked great in your leathers, high boots and breeches are to be the best I know and so I repeat them also in my drawings again and again. As you see in the enclosed prints. Thanks for the inspiration and my best regards. 

    Tom [of Finland] 

    Kane’s “Special room” was his dungeon, which was the topic of much of his correspondence.From Finland’s letter, it seems he presented it to invited guests, not unlike a suburban homeowner showing off their romper-room. There are no pictures of his dungeon but there are many fictional and non-fictional accounts of the activities that took place there. Kane outfitted the space himself with pulleys, tables, cages, and various other stages for his practice.  

    Kane was constantly reconfiguring the room and outfitting it with new or improved equipment after feedback from friends and sexual partners. An anonymous letter from one of Kane’s guests asked that he put more padding on a table so that he could keep his “mind in the act” and not on the pain in his shins. 

    The “special room” was for Kane's extra-domestic space not unlike the proverbial “workshop” which was popular in the years following World War II. In that time the workshop was reintroduced to domestic spaces. Some historians site the shift in labor from the home/farm to the workplace/office as the impetus for its rise in popularity. Hobbyist culture sprung up not because of the need for homemade coffee tables but because of a desire to introduce the handmade back into the home. Kane’s dungeons and others like it created a space that was surrounded by a new self-determined sense of place. A dungeon was not a bedroom where heterosexuals made children. It was also unlike the backroom of a bar or a cruising spot in a public park where gay men metfor anonymous sex. Kane’s private dungeon was a space one had to be invited into. It functioned as a domestic and public setting where all participants were consenting and taking pleasure in the sexual acts. (Figure 2) 


    Figure 2. Artist – Steven Frost, Headmaster No. 2 

    What inspired you to look to archives for your research? 

    I have always been interested in the power and history of personal items like clothing and small collections. It was because of this that I was asked by the editors of Headmaster magazine in 2011 to create a sculpture based on something in the archives at the Leather Archives and Museum in Chicago. Queer history was already part of my studio practice, but this assignment gave me an opportunity to formalize my experience. I have since visited the One Archives in LA, corresponded with archivists at the Smithsonian, designed a graduate course around oral history archives, and made library funding/advocacy a focus of my personal time. 

    What is uniquely interesting to you about this research and these materials?  

    Eleven Pink Alley in San Francisco was the home of Jim Kane until 2004 when he passed away at age 75. It was the private center of the San Francisco leather scene for much of the nineteen-seventies and eighties. He was friends with Tom of Finland, Chuck Renslow, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Sam Steward (aka Phil Andros whom I have a portrait of on my right thigh). Although Kane passed away years ago, I got to know him through his archive. A collection of his writings, letters, leather devices, and artwork are stored in the LA&M.There is also a collection of his letters at the University of Michigan. Kane’s collection has fascinated me and found its way into my studio practice. The act of digging through the six boxes was not unlike the act of sorting through boxes of family portraits in my basement. He in many ways is a lost relative in a broader queer lineage. 

    Figure 3. Artist – Steven Frost, Headmaster No. 2 

    The first box I looked through in Kane’s Archive was his straps and belts.(Figure 3).  There were two large file boxes full of these. Through my preliminary research, I knew only that Jim was a pillar of the San Francisco leather community. I had no idea how much of a leather celebrity he was. The director of the LA&M gave me a pair of white gloves. I had sorted through archives before and thought these were to protect the objects from the oils on my hands. The gloves in this case were for my protection. The buckles in the collection had become patinated. They looked forgotten. I laid them out on the pristine table in the LA&M’s reading room. There was a collection of belts, crops, cat-of-nine-tails, and dog collars both homemade and manufactured. These were all the trappings of a leather practitioner. Among these objects were two belts with carpet tacks laid in two planter’s rows along with them. The tacks, now rusted, were encrusted with a dark gloss I assumed was dried blood. I couldn’t imagine how a practitioner wore these objects on their body. In a separate box, I found a folded note. 

    Joseph = JK used the belt blanks to make when he called “tack straps.” He would measure the distance between nipples first – then punch holes, then add tacks. He made one and used it on me in 1973. All these tack straps are used and bloody. He typically gave them to those on whom they were used. 

    Why is archived material, specifically that of a sexual nature, so important in your opinion? Do you feel it actively influences culture, politics, and community identity? 

    Sites like the Leather Archive and Museum present a truly queer history. Individual stories, experiences, and expressions are valued over grand narratives. In their mission, the Leather Archives and Museum states: 

    The compilation, preservation, and maintenance of leather lifestyle and related lifestyles [including but not limited to the Gay and Lesbian communities], history, archives, and memorabilia for historical, educational, and research purposes. 

    Outside of the LA&M’s association with the gay and lesbian communities, it distinguishes itself as a place of queer context. It creates a space for individuals who may not have biological offspring to pass on narratives that are not part of a heteronormative model. These narratives are often related to sexual practices, but they tell a larger story of people creating communities based on the sharing of knowledge and the creation of safe spaces for their practice. 


    You can find more information about artist Steven Frost and their work here: 

    Images courtesy of Steven Frost 

  • 14 Apr 2022 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    For the next few weeks, we at the ACA McGill University Student Chapter invite you to join us for an immersive series of blog posts titled PeepShow and Tell: Sex in Archives. Through interviews with researchers and professionals working firsthand with explicit materials, we hope to illuminate the intrinsic value of sex and sexuality within the field of archiving and why these materials deserve to be preserved. 

    Ezell Carter, co-editor of this piece, is a graduate student with the School of Information Studies at McGill University and the Co-Coordinator of the ACA McGill University Student Chapter. 

    Mary Hague-Yearl is a published writer, speaker, curator, and instructor working within the history of medicine; she is also the Head Librarian of McGill University’s Osler Library of the History of Medicine. We recently discussed why sexuality and its presence in archives is vital, and how the lack of knowledge and resources, particularly in regard to female anatomy, have very real consequences for our health. 

    Can you tell me more about these pieces and how they add to the Osler collection? Did you acquire any of these items yourself? 

    The portable kit of obstetrical tools has been in the library for a few decades. They belonged to Dr. William Wright (Class of 1848), Canada’s first medical graduate of colour, who practised medicine locally and taught materia medica at McGill from 1854-1883. In terms of reproductive health, they are important for a few reasons: one is that they are very much male tools and reflect a history of medical professionalization, which marginalized female practitioners. At the same time, they are a reminder of the lack of attention given to women’s health. These tools are from about a century and a half ago, yet the speculum is clearly a speculum; forceps have barely changed since modern ones were popularized in the 18th century. (Figure 1)


    Figure 1: Portable kit of obstetrical instruments. 19th-century. From the estate of William Wright, Prof. of Materia Medica at McGill, 1854-1883 and also Canada’s first Black medical graduate, McGill, 1848.  

    As for the Predictor home pregnancy test kit and the 3D printed clitorises, those are recent additions to the library’s holdings. In a way, they are connected to the Birth Control Handbook (not shown here), published under the auspices of the McGill Students’ Society in 1968. This publication proved to be so popular in Canada as well as the US, that it ran into several editions (including in French). Montreal has been an important location in the recent history of reproductive health and sexual education. The Predictor, which was the first effective commercially-available home pregnancy test kit, was invented by graphic designer Margaret Crane in New York, but it was test-marketed in Montreal in the early 1970s. (Figure 2)


    Figure 2: Predictor home pregnancy test kit. Designed by Margaret Crane. 1971.  

    Today, important initiatives continue locally, such as SEX-ED+, which aims to make anatomically-realistic models of genital anatomies available for sexual education; being realistic means having a variety of shapes and sizes. We don’t yet have their models in our artifacts collection, but the 3D printed clitorises reflect the emphasis upon knowing what one’s anatomy looks like. (Figure 3) In some ways, the Predictor and the 3D printed clitorises are both about demystification, or providing women with direct access to knowledge that is important for their own health.  

    Figure 3: 3D printed clitorises. 2021. Printed at UVic for the Perfecta Colloquium (organized by Prof. Hélène Cazes, May-June 2021), under the direction of Dr. J. Matt Huculak. Design is available on Thingyverse thanks to Odile Fillod and Melissa Richard.   

    Do you find the sexually explicit nature of these pieces create unique archival difficulties compared to less erotically charged records (in terms of cataloging, exhibiting, and context)?  

    I don’t consider any of these objects to be sexually explicit. We do have a (modern) sexually explicit bookplate in our copy of Vénus la Populaire (1727) and there is some other content that is clearly playing with ideas of arousal, but I don’t see the items featured here in that light. They provide information or are associated either with a service or with basic anatomical knowledge.   

    Given that each of these items is a tool I don’t see them as posing a challenge for cataloguing. One can treat them in a matter-of-fact way, stating what they are, their provenance, their intended use, etc.  

    What do you think the collection is missing? Is there a perspective, group, or type of record underrepresented, or something you wish the collection had more of? 

    The items chosen here are mainly artifacts. It would be useful to have a better record of how, why, by whom they were created – documentation of the process that resulted in their appearance. What is harder for us to get at is work that is being done beyond the confines of the medical establishment (whatever “establishment” means). This means that we don’t have much reflecting underrepresented individuals or groups; since we are speaking of sexual health, we must acknowledge that the voices in our library are overwhelmingly white and cishet. What are communities producing and publishing for themselves? We would like to include those voices.  

    What are your thoughts on the preservation and presentation of sexually explicit items in archives? Do you feel they have a part to play in the shaping of culture, politics, and memory?  

    Of course, sexuality is a central part of the human experience for many people so it should be included. Some items truly are sexually explicit, and if they are telling a story that is important for history, there is really no difference in bringing in that material and bringing in something else. If such stories are part of the experience of someone whose papers we are acquiring, then to omit material simply on the basis of its being sexual in nature, would be to edit the record in a way that would go against supposed archival objectivity. 

    And lastly, what about these materials is unique/interesting to you?  

    In terms of items here, I’d have to go with the 3D printed clitorises. My answer here is far from objective. I am glad our colleagues at UVic sent us the clitorises because they should be ordinary and mainstream, but as a society we’re not there yet. They are a reminder that basic anatomy can be deemed “inappropriate”. How many individuals can properly label female external genitalia? How many women (self-defined) would be able to identify those as clitorises? Knowing the proper anatomical terminology shouldn’t be embarrassing. The scale of ignorance around female bodies has very real health consequences. The clitoris may play a role in sex, but that doesn’t mean that identifying it or seeing a model representing the clitoris, reflects anything other than providing basic anatomical information. The 3D printed models are a reminder of important work that is being done to normalize female anatomy; one hopes that such work will help to break down the stigma that too often has a negative impact on health.    

    You can learn more about Dr. Hague-Yearl and the Osler Library of the History of Medicine here:  

    Images courtesy of Dr. Hague-Yearl and the Osler Library of the History of Medicine .

  • 12 Apr 2022 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    The ACA BIPOC Forum is an annual informal networking event hosted during the ACA annual meeting. This space facilitates connections between BIPOC archivists, students, and other memory workers. The ACA 2021 BIPOC Forum planning committee included Moska Rokay, Tamara Rayan, Laura Hernandez, Melissa Adams, Erin Brown, Lara Maestro, and Lisa Uyeda.

    The first Forum for Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour Archivists (BIPOC Forum) was created by members of the student and alumni-led Diversity Working Group (DWG) at the University of Toronto Faculty of Information (iSchool). The intentions for this first BIPOC Forum were to create a space for BIPOCs in the Canadian archival field to connect with one another to discuss issues of race, diversity, and strategies to navigate the field. Moreover, as a result of the facilitators all being students and alumni of the University of Toronto, a secondary purpose for this first BIPOC Forum was to inspire the creation of other diversity working groups within Faculties of Information across Canada, but the content of the Forum was primarily focused on Toronto. Recognizing the need for racial justice in the profession, in October 2019 the DWG applied to the Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) 2020 conference. However, by the time the conference rolled around in June 2020, George Floyd had just been murdered. The rest of the archival profession had sobered up to the reality of racial inequality in the field and BIPOC archivists needed a means to come together to feel solidarity during a traumatic time. The BIPOC Forum became timelier than ever. Due to a boost in promotion by the ACA and opening up of subsidized spots for BIPOC archivists to attend the Forum for free, 60 participants from across Canada and the United States came forth to share this one-hour of space together, the first of its kind.[1]

    Following the ACA's Equity Commitments Report on October 6, 2020, the ACA made a commitment to "provide meeting spaces and networking opportunities for BIPOC professionals to connect and meet (virtually and in-person at the annual conference).” In line with the report, the ACA 2021 conference Programme Committee reached out to potential moderators for the 2021 BIPOC Forum, a clear deviation from the year before. Many of the moderators of the first Forum were happy to return. With a total of six moderators, up from the previous year’s three, and considering the moderators were no longer solely students and alumni of the University of Toronto, this year’s Forum was uniquely positioned to address BIPOC experiences in Faculties of Information and the profession across Canada. Unfortunately, just as the year before, the months leading up to the conference were mired by difficult times for BIPOC communities as a result of multiple traumatic events: the horrific discovery of 215 unmarked Indigenous graves at a Kamloops residential school, the deadly attack on a Muslim Canadian family in London, Ontario, the senseless bombing of Gaza, and rampant Asian hate crimes instigated because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet again, the 2021 BIPOC Forum became a critical space for BIPOC communities to come together in solidarity and healing, and brought increased awareness to the larger archival profession of the pains felt by their BIPOC colleagues." This time around, the Forum was 2 hours long and consisted of multiple Zoom breakout rooms of small group-led discussions on racial equity, diversity, and inclusion in archival education and the profession as a whole led by one of the six moderators.

    As part of the 2021 Forum, the BIPOC Forum planning committee created the BIPOC Forum Participant Survey for those expressing interest in being involved in the creation and management of a network or community of BIPOC Archivists and Memory Workers in Canada. Below are highlights from the survey. 

    24 participants responded. Most were new professionals, followed by seasoned archival professionals, and those somewhere in between. A few respondents were students and others were looking for work. 

    We asked participants what type of institution they worked with and the top 2 responses with 4 respondents each were government archives and libraries. Others indicated they work with university archives, community archives, non profits, and corporate archives. The comments indicated that others worked in records management, special collections, museums, library and information studies programs, and for First Nations. Overall, 11 individuals indicated they work with a large institution, 6 a medium sized institution, and 3 a small institution. 

    Our first question asked, “How would you like to create a network or community of BIPOC Archivists and Memory Workers in Canada?” The top two responses show that folks would like to see the annual BIPOC Forum at the ACA conference continue and are interested in the development of an ACA BIPOC Special Interest Group. The other responses indicate that folks would like to stay connected more frequently and informally through communication channels such as a listserv, Slack, Discord, or Facebook. A few folks also suggested collaborating with other BIPOC-specific associations in or related to the profession, including those in the USA. 

    Our most important question asked, “Why do you want to join this community? What would you like to see come out of its activities?” The open-ended responses were detailed and meaningful. Most BIPOC respondents expressed the importance of staying connected and supporting one another in a profession where many feel alone because we are under-represented. Folks would like to see the continuation of a safe-space for BIPOC professionals to come together to listen and learn from one another, discuss their work, work environments, and experiences in the profession, work through issues together, and mentor new professionals. Many expressed the importance of building a community, both within the BIPOC community and the profession as a whole, that will encourage and foster new BIPOC professionals. The responses acknowledge that institutions, including Faculties of Information across Canada, need to begin meaningful and actionable EDI work. This includes keeping the concerns of BIPOC folks top of mind across the profession, in schools, and addressing representation in archives and beyond. Lastly, respondents would like to see a strong, collaborative community in all areas of the profession that actively fosters and supports BIPOC professionals and those interested in entering the profession. 

    To conclude the survey, participants provided feedback on the BIPOC Forum in general. We greatly appreciate everyone’s kind words of thanks and feel so honoured to have helped provide a safe-space that brings our community together. We recognize that the sessions are never long enough, that meeting once a year is too infrequent, and continuing the forum is really important and necessary. We thank the participants for providing comments that will help guide the next session, including: most folks enjoyed the small breakout room discussions and noted the benefits of connecting with one another; the facilitators were great; the polls were good additions; the information shared was valuable and insightful; a student focused group could be valuable with working professionals to be involved as mentors; folks hope to meet in person next time or in the future; and a recommendation to host a second session at the end of the conference. 

    As for next steps, we aim to continue this important work by planning a third installment of the BIPOC Forum at ACA 2022. As the first two BIPOC Forums have shown, there is a continual need for BIPOCs in our field to meet and hold space for one another. To ensure that we are fully representing our growing and changing community, we are seeking new voices for next year’s planning committee. If you are interested in being an organizer or moderator, please send an email to Moreover, we understand that hosting these spaces once a year is far too infrequent for our community’s needs, so we are planning to host more regular community check-ins on a smaller and more informal scale. Additionally, we recognize the need for BIPOC students to have leadership and guidance from members in the field who represent and understand their own lived experiences. For this reason, we are exploring mentorship options with the ACA Mentorship Program to match BIPOC students and early career archivists with BIPOC professionals. Finally, we are also exploring the option to create a Special Interest Section with the ACA so that we can continue the work that the DWG started, but on a national level, and continue to enact racial justice in the field.

    [1] For further information about the impact of the first BIPOC Forum, please see this piece the facilitators authored in Off the Record: Martin, Stefanie, Tamara Rayan and Moska Rokay. “45 Years Later: The First BIPOC Forum at ACA.” Off the Record, v.36, no. 3 (Summer 2020): 16-18.

  • 8 Apr 2022 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    For the next few weeks, we at the ACA McGill University Student Chapter invite you to join us for an immersive series of blog posts titled PeepShow and Tell: Sex in Archives. Through interviews with researchers and professionals working firsthand with explicit materials, we hope to illuminate the intrinsic value of sex and sexuality within the field of archiving and why these materials deserve to be preserved. 

    Jay Bossé, the co-author for this piece, is a graduate student with the School of Information Studies at McGill University and Co-Coordinator of the ACA McGill University Student Chapter Blog Series PeepShow & Tell: Sex in Archives. 

    For this post, we spoke with Patrick Keilty, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Information and Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto. He is also the Archives Director of the Sexual Representation Collection (SRC), administered by the Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies. Professor Keilty's research pertains primarily to the politics of digital infrastructures in the sex industries and the materiality of media in erotohistoriography (Patrick Keilty, n.d.). 

    To read the full post please visit our website.

  • 5 Apr 2022 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    Olivia White is an emerging archival professional working towards a Master of Information and a Master of Museum Studies from the University of Toronto. She has undertaken roles in archives and heritage organizations, and is passionate about ensuring the stories within archival records can be preserved and shared far into the future. 

    The University of Toronto (U of T) student chapters of the Association of Canadian Archivists and Librarians Without Borders (LWB) worked diligently to produce the 7th Annual Human Library to great success! With about 15 participants and nine professionals in attendance, the event provided an excellent opportunity for students to have small-group discussions about the day-in-the-life of an information professional.
    With a tradition towards an in-person event, the Human Library has pivoted to an online setting for the past two years. The virtual environment notably expands the scope of professionals and participants beyond the Greater Toronto Area, permitting a geographically diverse group of attendees. As a student in my final year at the University of Toronto’s iSchool, I have attended the Human Library annually for three years. This marks my first year attending as an Executive Member of the ACA UofT Student Chapter, and I enjoyed seeing behind the curtain as to how the event is produced.

    Events Coordinator Sophia Dodic spearheaded the event, aptly coordinating timelines and preparing documentation to keep the event planning on schedule. ACA Student Executives Camille McDayter, Steve Kim, and Ursula Carmichael, as well as LWB Student Executive Allison Kaefring were integral during the event planning sessions in which we devised communication strategies and divided the work for reaching out to professionals. 
    As Communications Coordinator, I promoted the event on our social media sites, the iSchool’s discord server, through iSchool newsletters, and in-class announcements. We also posted information on dedicated Facebook groups, listservs, and Slack channels, and had support from Professor Karen Suurtamm to spread the word. With the ever-presence of Zoom fatigue, our early registration numbers were lower than average, but more participants signed up closer to the event date. 
    During the event, we paired professionals to “host” a breakout room based on their professional experiences, which established a meaningful dialogue between attendees. Participants could jump around to different breakout rooms, but many chose to stay within one group to gain a comprehensive understanding of an information professional’s duties. Students received a Human Library handbook with biographies provided by the professionals to determine which rooms to join and guide their conversations. 
    One component of the Human Library that I have always enjoyed is hearing about the everyday rewards and challenges of the information professions. Many professionals also provide resources to learn more about topics of interest – I always come away with a few websites to bookmark for future research. It is also interesting to hear about the journey of iSchool alumni into their current positions. 
    After the event, we circulated a feedback form for attendees to describe their experience to improve upon the delivery of the next Human Library. Finally, we were also pleased to offer two complimentary student member registrations for the upcoming ACA Conference through a raffle for student attendees. With another year of the Human Library completed, it is my hope that this long-running networking event can continue in the future, allowing emerging information professionals to discover the inner workings of archives, records management and library environments. 

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