With the majority of students and staff being advised to work and study from home, this is how our archivist is supporting online learning…
Being a social introvert, Anna has fully embraced working from home. As long as she has her husband, son and two dogs nearby, she is content, happy and incredibly productive! Ok sure, Anna can’t actually process records, create inventories or physically acquire new records, but there are a lot of things that she can do. So just what can archivists do from home? Here is a list of the top 5 things that the University of Alberta Archives (UAA) staff are working on right now…
1. PARIS Training – Sounds exotic and exciting right? The PARIS initiative includes the Information & Privacy Office; the University Archives; the University Records Office; and the Chief Information Security Office. Under PARIS, these offices work together to provide training and an integrated approach to managing university information and records. Prior to the pandemic, training was offered to staff in a classroom setting. Now it is delivered in an online environment.
2. Capture COVID-19 Records – The UAA is the official repository for the permanently valuable records of the University of Alberta. As the institutional repository of record, we have been “meeting” with and advising various faculties and departments on how best to capture and preserve institutional COVID-19 response records.
3. Index and make available scanned images – The UAA has over 30,000 scanned archival images languishing on internal shared drives. With the help of our SLIS Collaborative students, we are using this time to index and assign metadata to these images, and then make them available to the public for research. Our most requested photographs are actually in the process of being put online now, thanks to some folks in Digital Initiatives. Thanks DI!
4. Discover Archives clean-up – The university’s Discover Archives site is the application that allows researchers to search for archival records and collections housed at the UAA, Bruce Peel Special Collections and the University Libraries. The UAA staff are cleaning up our descriptive records, deleting duplicate entries, cleaning up finding aids and adding new biographical information for creators of various fonds.
5. Provide research/reference services – Although the UAA has been closed to researchers since March 16, the staff continues to answer reference questions we receive via email and over the phone. While not having access to our physical holdings presents a challenge in answering some questions, we are fortunate to be working at a time when so many of our finding aids and some archival content is available digitally. We are especially excited by a request we received to help find content for a documentary in the works.
This is just a sample of some of the work that the UAA staff continues to do. We have also been conducting regular checks on the facility and our holdings (individually of course!), reviewing internal processes and procedures and virtually meeting with each other to keep our spirits up!