I’m very pleased to share this announcement! This project involved, among other things, ingesting hundreds of home-grown EAD files into the Archivists’ Toolkit, cleaning them up and enhancing the files with subject and geographic headings, and then transforming the Toolkit EAD so it could be bulk imported into AtoM. The Dalhousie Libraries’ systems developer, Margaret Vail, assisted with a number of SQL queries and wrote a custom XSLT stylesheet for the transformation. We then received some excellent assistance with the final migration from Artefactual Systems and are very happy with the outcome. The cast of contributors is quite large, but I want to make a special acknowledgement to our archives student assistants and contract workers who have helped since 2011: Peter Hogan, Sherri MacQuarrie, Ashley Levy, Terry LeBlanc, Ilea Davis, Jessie Bach, Kenda Landry, Ryan Dyck, Doyle Lahey, Riel Gallant, Kevin Hartford, Leah Rae, Alex Peters, Zac Howarth, Jannaya Jensen, Ray MacLeod, Dave MacLachlan, Andrea Kampen, Michael Bourgeois, Laurie Chase, John Yolkowski, Krista Jamieson, Jocelyn Wedel, and Harry Enman.

 

Dalhousie Libraries’ University Archives launches new archives catalogue

Dalhousie Libraries’ University Archives has released a new online research tool that provides information about a trove of historical records, photographs and other archival materials available to the university community and the general public.

In January 2011, the Archives initiated a project to develop an online catalogue hosted by the Dal Libraries. The result, launched officially in January 2015, is a sleek interface that allows researchers to search over 150,000 descriptions of files and items in the collections.

Michael Moosberger, Dalhousie University Archivist and Associate University Librarian for Research and Scholarly Communications, oversees the operations that manage and provide access to the collections. “We’ve come a long way from the paper-based collection listings and static web pages that were the primary way users discovered what was in our holdings. With our new online catalogue a user can type in any subject or keyword and find what records we have related to the topic, regardless of the collection with which the records are associated,” says Moosberger. The Dalhousie Libraries’ University Archives also holds records of Dalhousie University dating back to its earliest days: “Our new catalogue will also provide easier and faster access to the historical records of the University, which will be in greater demand as we get closer to 2018—Dalhousie’s 200th anniversary. The catalogue allows us to link digitized copies of a record, document or publication directly with the descriptive information in the database, providing users with ‘one-stop shopping’ for some of their research queries,” adds Moosberger.

Already, the Archives has digitized university yearbooks, calendars and the entire archive of Dalhousie Gazette, one of North America’s oldest student newspapers.

Staff at the Archives still have their work cut out—there are hundreds of thousands of uncatalogued documents, photographs, videos and other materials.

“The catalogue covers less than half of our total holdings. There are thousands of boxes of unprocessed records to sort through and describe before they can be made available to the public,” says Creighton Barrett, Dalhousie Libraries Digital Archivist. Simply cataloguing these materials is no longer enough: “Our users want online access to entire collections. This catalogue is an important step in that direction,” says Barrett.

Uncatalogued collections include the archives of important Nova Scotia businesses such as Robb Engineering and the personal archives of prominent researchers affiliated with Dalhousie, such as world-renowned oceans scientist Ransom Myers and civil engineer George Meyerhof.

The catalogue is built with an open-source program called Access to Memory (AtoM), developed by Artefactual Systems, a Vancouver-based archival software development company. New information will be added to the online catalogue on a regular basis as the Archives acquires new material.

For more information about the Archive’s collections and services, visit the Dalhousie Libraries’ University Archives website (http://dal.ca/archives).  The catalogue can be found online at: http://findingaids.library.dal.ca.

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Creighton Barrett

Dalhousie University Archives

5th Floor, Killam Library

6225 University Avenue | PO Box 15000

Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4R2

Tel: 902.494.6490 | Email: [log in to unmask]