Skip to main content


SICC ē-micimināyakik Gathering

On May 2-3, the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Center hosted the ē-micimināyakik gathering, or the Indigenous museums gathering-- one of the first of its kind to be held in Canada. This gathering addressed many of the challenges and concerns around making accessible, preserving, and respecting both tangible and intangible elements of Indigenous history. ē-micimināyakik roughly translates to "holding on to things for everyone,"  and that was ultimately the idea at the heart of the gathering -- how can we (both as Indigenous and Newcomer curators) hold on to things in a good way, and particularly in a way that meets the needs of those people with whom the thing originated.

So, far from being a gathering targeted only at museums, interested participants came from a broad array of backgrounds including libraries and archives (like myself), copyright offices, and other cultural centers.

Below I will summarize some of the things I learned (note that this is from the perspective …
Recent posts

Audio-Visual Preservation Workshop

On 19 March 2019, 16 participants gathered at the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan in Regina to increase their knowledge of the preservation of audio-visual records, from Donald Johnson, Special Media Archivist. Audio-visual records are a challenge because they require equipment to be accessible. Some of that equipment is becoming harder to find, and in good enough condition to use. The focus was on audio recordings, such as on audio cassette, reels or CDs, and moving images on a variety of media such as video, DVD or Blu-ray, but it also touched on film.
There are a wide variety of formats that have been used over time. Many have not been produced with preservation in mind, and many individuals buy them without thinking what archivists would like to preserve. Depending on the acquisition policies of different institutions, certain media may be found in one type of institution and not in others. For example, the records used in radio stations are less likely to be in personal fonds.…

NAAB Masterclass - Ken Dahl

Ken Dahl of the City of Saskatoon Archives, applied to the SCAA Professional Development fund to attended, in Edmonton March 11-14 , 2019, the "NAAB Masterclass." This is his experience:
In 2019, the National Archival Appraisal Board (NAAB), in an attempt to standardize archival appraisals across the country came up with the idea of offering a “Masterclass” to those interested.  Not only is NAAB trying to standardize things, they are also hoping to bring in experienced archivists to become new appraisers and increase the number of practicing appraisers.  In February and March of 2019, NAAB offered three different sessions (of this class) in Fredericton, Edmonton and Ottawa.  I have been doing NAAB appraisals for a number of years now, the last five have been as a practicing NAAB appraiser.  I was the only one at the class who had done any previous appraisals, this appraisal experience was, for the most part, beneficial.

The course itself was very well run, and I found it to be…

February 3-9, 2019 is Declared as Archives Week!

February 3-9, 2019 is Declared as Archives Week! 
The 14th Annual event will once again bring Saskatchewan’s archives into the provincial spotlight as never before! These events by SCAA members may include Celebrity Reader nights, historic film nights, open houses and various types of individual and inter-institutional exhibits that will focus on the abundant sources of Saskatchewan’s history and heritage in archives and Celebrate Archives!

The SCAA is eager to help its institutional members in the effort to make Archives Week 2019 a memorable one. To achieve this, SCAA has again produced our popular postcards and bookmarks.

FOSA Update - January

From time-to-time we welcome the input from our friend the Interim Gopher, Bill Armstrong, of the Friends of Saskatchewan Archives (FoSA) in contributing stories and additional insights to "Outside the Box."

Salud! The gopher is so 2018, finally passing along some notes from the meeting of FOSA and PAS folks back in November. At that meeting Madeleine with the Archives reported that in the previous two months or so FOSA volunteers had processed a further 1900 items for the Photo Project. Impressive.

At that time Chief Archivist Linda McIntyre had no firm plans to share regarding Archives Week, but since that is little more than a month away now, hold that thought. She reported that about 180 folks showed up for the screening of the five videos created from archives holdings, covering Saskatchewan and the First World War. I've attached a photo of one of the displays. Needless to say - but I'll say it anyway - FOSA volunteers helped out a lot at the event.  
-- Bill A…

Prairies in the Yukon

Greetings everyone,

From November 26 - 30, I ventured north to Whitehorse, Yukon to present a 2-day workshop on basic digitization as well as participate in the Yukon Council of Archives (YCA) "Archival Summit."
I have been to the Yukon only once before for the Association of Canadian Archivists (ACA) Conference in June of 2012, the picture on the left is the view out my hotel window back then and I have had alleys and parking-lots since, as in Edmonton this year, pictured on the right. ;-)

So, I was prepared for dark cold in late November and few chances at a great view, but the sun rose at about 9am and set around 3:30pm and did get to enjoy some spectacular views.  However, For someone who goes to work in the dark, works in a basement office and goes home in the dark any view is fantastic!

On my arrival, a little after midnight on Monday morning, I was greeted by another Saskatchewan transplant, Carey Isaak. Carey is up in Whitehorse for the year, as of this past fall, wo…

From the academic archive to the public library : some thoughts

So I've recently made the transition from archival assistant at the University of Saskatchewan Archives and Special Collections, to Special Collections Librarian at the Local History Room in the Saskatoon Public Library. The move has me re-thinking some of the relationships between archival and library materials. In the larger archive at the University, it was easier (though not always easy) to draw a line: this goes into our library special collections; that is archival. But in the more intimate and public-oriented space of the Local History Room, I am reminded that from the perspective of most researchers those distinctions mean very little. Information is information, and if it is the information you are looking for it doesn't really matter how it was organized or what format it takes.

From behind-the-scenes, these things do matter, of course, and the reason for that is access. Some materials are simply better dealt with one way and others another. If every page in an archi…