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Scope and Content

Monthly ACA Newsletter

May 2021, Volume 2, Issue 5

President's Message

¡ Bienvenido a mayo!

With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, I can’t help but reflect upon how the power of a small but mighty team can indeed triumph over a formidable foe. While we aren’t being called upon to battle Napoleonic troops, we each have our own professional battles to fight and ongoing collective campaigns to support – the questions are of course which battles to choose and how to attack. When assessing your arsenal and determining your strategies, don’t forget to lean on your colleagues. Some of us have been through a battle or two and may be able to provide some tactical advice or even resource support in your advancement campaign. So do check out the ACA Member Directory, and don’t hesitate to reach out!

Photograph of a brightly coloured mural

Mural in downtown Puerto Vallarta, photograph by Erica Hernández-Read

Spring Planning & Priorities Meeting: At last month’s Spring Planning & Priorities meeting, the Board, along with the Governance, Professional Development, and Public Awareness and Advocacy Committees, each undertook a series of dynamic group discussions which resulted in draft plans of action for each group participant. These activity schedules will enable our amazing teams of ACA volunteers to further enhance ACA services and programs to our membership increasing transparency in decision-making, providing greater access and diversity to professional learning opportunities, and providing tools to both empower us to make changes in our institutions and professions and to lead us forward as a "small but mighty" team taking a stand in and for the communities in which we live. Yes, change is afoot and it is indeed exciting to behold!

Get-Well Wishes: As some of you may know, the ACA’s Executive Director, the fabulous Jo McCutcheon, is currently on medical leave. Please join me in sending her get-well wishes for a speedy and full recovery.

Thank you to the all committee chairs and their members for all they contribute to the ACA!  

Warmest regards,  

Erica Hernández-Read, ACA President

2021 Conference

ACA Virtual Conference 2021 banner

The ACA 2021 Conference (June 7-11) is one month away! Attendees and speakers will be receiving lots of information over the coming weeks. But first, some exciting announcements:

The acclaimed poet, novelist, and essayist Dionne Brand will be reading from her book of poetry, The Blue Clerk, on June 8 from 7-8 pm Eastern. Nominated for the Griffin Prize, The Blue Clerk is a monumental work that brings beauty, provocation, and nuance to practices of archives and memory-keeping. Staged as a conversation and sometimes an argument between the poet and the keeper of the poet’s pages, The Blue Clerk “demonstrates the necessity of poetry for a critical archival practice,” as Hadley Howes writes in a recent review for Archivaria. The reading will be followed with time for questions and discussion moderated by Rachel Lobo, whose work on archives of Black feminism has also appeared in Archivaria. 

Photograph of Dionne Brand

Whova - our conference app - has officially launched!

You can find all the information about accessing the app, including a detailed conference guide,  on the ACA 2021 website. 

TAATU is back! As the ACA conference is online once again this year, the Technology and Archives Special Interest Section will be following with an online version of TAATU (The Archives and Technology Unconference). TAATU is a yearly, casual, and informative event about archives and technology. Come present new ideas and work, and geek out about archives, tech, and digital culture! ACA has graciously set up a zoom meeting for up to 100 attendees – just like last year’s TAATU. All are welcome – there is no need to be an ACA member or registered for the rest of the conference to attend! If you'd like to check it out and join us, please see this document for details.

 Monday, June 7, 2021

11:30 am - 2:30 pm EDT / 8:30 am - 11:30 am PDT / 3:30 pm - 6:30 pm GMT

Postr for The Archives and Technology Unconference with same details as text

New Archivaria Coming Soon

Archivaria 91 (Spring/Summer 2021) is coming soon, and you can preview the table of contents now. This issue includes articles on recordkeeping as an act of love (Jennifer Douglas and Alexandra Alisauskas), trauma-informed archival practice (Kirsten Wright and Nicola Laurent), integrating equity and reconciliation work into archival descriptive practice (Danielle Robichaud), and constructing a scientific archives network (Bethany G. Anderson). It also includes Moska Rokay's Dodds Prize article, "Critical Ethnography as an Archival Tool: A Case Study of the Afghan Diaspora in Canada," a study in documents by Jean Dryden on "Copyright in Fire Insurance Plans," along with book reviews and an exhibit review. 

Information about submitting articles and reviews to Archivaria is also available on the website.

In the Field: The ACA Blog

In the Field: The ACA Blog invites you to read two posts published during the month of April.

In the first, Rebecca Murray offers a conversation with Paulette Dozois, now retired Senior Lead Archivist at Library and Archives Canada.

In the second post, Tanis Franco, Archivist at the University of Toronto Scarborough, highlights the virtual launch of the S. J. V. Chelvanayakam fonds, which featured multidisciplinary international scholars and speakers, community members, archivists, faculty members, and donors.

A collage of photographs of S.J.V. Chelvanayakam and archival spaces

Images from the poster for the Chelvanayakam fonds launch event

Have something to say? In the Field is always looking for new contributors. In line with the ACA's Strategic Plan and Progress Toward a Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan, the ACA blog focuses on publishing posts that explore “frameworks, strategies, initiatives, programs and actions” undertaken across the archival realm to “address issues of inclusion, access, diversity, multiculturalism, and regional, national, global, and intercultural engagement.”

Submit to the ACA Blog

May Workshops

Working with Archival Texts as Data: Post-OCR Error Correction with OpenRefine

May 11, 2021

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm EDT / 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm PDT  

Register here

Digitization can provide far greater access to archival documents, but their discoverability via full text searches may be hampered by error-laden optical character recognition (OCR). Correcting them manually, however, is unrealistically time-consuming. In this workshop, we will use OpenRefine – a spreadsheet-like software – to accelerate the finding and correction of spelling errors introduced through the OCR process. 

Working with Archival Texts as Data: Using Natural Language Processing to Support the Description of Digital Archives

May 18, 2021

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm EDT / 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm PDT 

Register here

Born-digital and digitized textual archives open up the possibility for computational approaches to archival description. In this workshop, we will use two natural language processing (NLP) techniques – named entity recognition (NER) and topic modelling – to locate potential access points and assist with archival description. 

Working with Archival Texts as Data: Post-OCR Error Correction with OpenRefine is a strongly recommended prerequisite for the workshop. 

Special Interest Section Chairs Needed

The ACA Special Interest Section for Government Records (SISGR) and the ACA Special Interest Section for Indigenous Archives (SISIA) are both seeking a new chair. If you are interested in stepping into either of these roles, please contact Director-at-Large Gillian Dunks at

Board of Directors Nominations

The Nominations Committee, a sub-committee of the Governance Committee, is seeking nominations for three (3) ACA Director (Board) positions that are up for election:  

  • Vice-President (2-year term)  

  • Secretary (2-year term)  

  • Director-at-Large 2 (2-year term)  

Full descriptions of Board positions and responsibilities are posted online. The term of office for these positions may begin July 2021 and continue until the end of June 2023.  

The deadline for nominations is May 25, 2021. Candidates may submit this form with space for nomination signatures. Elections will take place online, in advance of the Annual General Meeting on June 22, 2021. Elections will be held using Simply Voting.  

Directors must be individual members in good standing or may be the designated delegate for Institutional members who wish to run for Director-at-Large positions. Nominations must be supported by five (5) ACA members. Those nominated must also provide a brief biography that will be made available to ACA members in advance of the AGM. 

The ACA welcomes more inclusive representation in the composition of its Board and Committees and encourages the nomination of all qualified individuals including women, members of racialized communities, Indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity.  

More information can be found in the ACA Nomination and Election policy, updated to reflect ByLaw changes approved by the membership in 2020.   

Nomination questions should be directed to Michael Gourlie or Rebecka Sheffield from the Governance's Nominating Committee.  

Nomination form

ACA Annual General Meeting

Join the ACA Board of Directors on Tuesday June 22, 2021 12:00 pm EDT / 9:00 am PDT for the ACA Annual General Meeting. The meeting agenda will include board reports and updates on ACA activities, including the work of committees, SISes and student chapters. Members will also have an opportunity to review ACA audit documents and the ACA 2022 budget. 

 This meeting will take place online, via Zoom. The agenda and supporting documents will be sent out in advance of the meeting. The results of the 2021 election will be announced and members will be able to meet the new ACA 2021-2023 board members. The ACA Awards ceremony will again take place online this year in September. Stay tuned for more information and calls for nominations. 

 Institutional members are reminded to ensure that a designated delegate has been entered into your membership profile to ensure your delegate receives the online voting link and information regarding the AGM. Members will have an opportunity to share their input and ideas during this meeting. 

Archival Community News

Do you have news you’d like the ACA to share via its social media channels? The Communications Committee has created a form you can use to give us all the details! 

AAQ conference: The 50e congrès de l’Association des archivistes du Québec is from May 25-28, 2021, and the program is available online. Please note that ACA members are able to take advantage of AAQ member rates to attend.

ASA conference: Do not forget to save your spot for the Archives Society of Alberta’s conference, Archives In Interesting Times on May 28. Registration is open until May 14! For registration information, please visit the conference website.

The members of the Steering Committee on Canada's Archives' (SCCA) Awareness Strategy Taskforce are pleased to announce that the final version of the strategy is now available on the SCCA website. We invite you all to read it in the hope that you will find useful insight and tools to increase awareness about archives all around you.

Library and Archives Canada Scholar Awards: On April 21, the Library and Archives Canada Scholar Awards were presented via YouTube to recognize remarkable Canadians who have made an outstanding contribution to the creation and promotion of our country’s culture, literary heritage, and historical knowledge. This year’s recipients included:

  • Margaret Atwood, poet, novelist, literary critic, and essayist
  • Roch Carrier, novelist and author
  • Charlotte Gray, historian, author, and biographer
  • Serge Joyal, former senator, art collector, and philanthropist
  • Terry O’Reilly, broadcast producer and radio personality

June 7-11, 2021 is International Archives Week (#IAW2021), and this year's theme is Empowering Archives. The ICA invites archival and records management professionals and organizations to join them in a virtual conversation by using the hashtags #EmpoweringArchives and #IAW2021 to discuss:   

  • How archives empower accountability and transparency through access to information for holding governments to account and ensuring that citizens can protect their rights.    

  • How networking and collaboration enable us to empower archives and the profession to help us achieve our goals and objectives for the profession and our institutions through the support of allied professions while helping other sectors and the general public understand what we do.   

  • And how to challenge current archival theory and practice to make it more diverse and inclusive of different voices along with different histories.  

Be part of this conversation on #EmpoweringArchives and celebration of the #IAW2021.

Follow the ACA on our social media channels:

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram

Scope and Content is issued the first Tuesday of each month. If you have any comments or feedback, please contact the Communications Committee.

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