Call For Papers

The Archives Association of Ontario (AAO) is pleased to announce its Call for Papers for the 2017 AAO Conference to be held 26-28 April 2017 in Toronto, Ontario (please note the conference is earlier this year so preparation deadlines have also been moved up).

Come Together : Meaningful Collaboration in a Connected World

Collaboration requires space and room in order to be meaningful – it is a journey that may take unforseen turns and produce unexpected connections and results. The Conference Program Committee invites proposals pertaining to all areas of archival theory and practice that address issues / experiences around partnership / collaboration.

Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • How can archives work more effectively with each other?
  • Have you been partnering with another institution or department for a sesquicentennial Canada 150 project?
  • How can archives work more effectively with organizations such as museums, libraries, or historical societies that house archival collections?
  • What are some of the innovative partnerships currently taking place in your institution?
  • Have you been working with local community groups
  • Has your institution been building relationships with Indigenous communities in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action?

Submissions of proposals for individual papers or entire sessions are invited.

The proposals should be sent with a brief abstract of 250 words and a bio to:

AAO Office at

Use the subject line format:  AAO 2017 Conference Proposal_[last name, first name]

If you get a panel proposal together, please select a “point person” for your panel group and use the   subject line format: AAO 2017 Conference Proposal_PANEL-[title]-[last name, first name]

The deadline to submit proposals is 15 December 2016


We are happy to announce that the 2017 AAO Conference will include, depending on student interest / response, a Student Papers session and, possibly a Poster session.

A separate call for student submissions will be issued early in the New Year.

On behalf of the AAO 2017 Conference Program Committee

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DRAAG is hosting a Workshop

How to Run a Successful Oral History Project

Date: Saturday October 29, 2016 – 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

Place: University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa
(2000 Simcoe St N, Oshawa, ON L1H 7K4)
*ERC 1058  at the North Oshawa (main) campus

Oral history is the disciplined, self conscious conversation between 2 people about some aspect of the past.  When properly collected, oral history becomes an important resource in an archival collection. Set largely in the context of Canadian experience, this half-day workshop will take a project-based approach to making links between the study and research of historical events and the lives of individuals. Participants will learn the 7 steps to a successful project and will be better able to understand and apply accepted oral history methodology, particularly in the areas of collection, documentation and analysis of oral history in a research project. The workshop is suitable for anyone wanting to understand the role oral history can play in preservation of  history and its use in gallery, museums, archives and other public institutions.

The workshop will be instructed by Laura Suchan, Executive Director of the Oshawa Museum; in partnership with DRAAG.

Cost: Per workshop $65 + HST for AAO members and $95 + HST for non-members. Minimum participation is 10 for this workshop with a maximum set at 25.

To register, visit the AAO website under the “Learn” section or call the AAO Office at 647.434.3334

Please note: If the minimum participant number is not reached the workshop will be cancelled. Registered participants will be contacted by Friday, October 1, 2016 to confirm the status.

Laura Suchan has been the Executive Director of the Oshawa Museum for over 25 years. Under her direction, the Oshawa Museum has successfully completed award winning oral history projects that document aspects of the history of Oshawa and have become an important part of the historical and archival record of the City.

Click here to register! 

Posted in DRAAG Information

Meet the Law Librarian – Ciara Ward, Northumberland Law Association

Today we meet law librarian Ciara Ward.

20160405_112731What do you do at the Northumberland County Law Association?

I am the Librarian. What my job entails varies day-to-day; I am in charge of managing the Library Budget we are given every year through LibraryCo, and also the managing of the Law Association’s Budget, I also organize and run professional development programming for local lawyers, complete queries, and retrieve case law, along with all the “regular” things a librarian does (weeding, cataloguing, collections development etc.).

Why did you choose this career?

Working in a special library is similar to the research aspect of being an archivist. In the past I did work as an archivist and completing research queries was the best part for me, so making the switch made sense.

What is your favourite part of your job?

Learning new things; it’s great to acquire new skills and learn new research methods! I also enjoy (much more than I thought I would) learning more about our legal system and how it works/is applied in practice. I have a lot of opportunity to speak to lawyers working in different areas of law, as well as judges, and that is always interesting. It’s not really information that can leave my office, but I still enjoy hearing about it.

What do you find to be the most challenging part of your job?

Being a law librarian is very challenging – switching from assisting patrons with genealogy to assisting patrons with laws and regulations was tricky; legal databases are understandably different than using Ancestry or LDS – even if the methodology of searching is similar. I have an MLIS, and some library experience (much more now, obviously!), so I knew the basics of how to be a librarian and how to develop collections management strategies and run a budget, but researching law is difficult. I am so fortunate to have a lot of support from the Ontario Court House Librarians Association, and I’m learning more every day.

How did you get into the field?

As I mentioned, I have an MLIS from Western, so I’ve known (and been committed) to working in Information Sciences. I just kind of wandered over to being a special librarian from being an archivist. I worked several archives contracts over the years, and as anyone who has had to contract hop knows, it’s exhausting. I started looking at more library jobs while I was on maternity leave because I had the time, and when my current position came up, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to make the switch to libraries – I have been very, very lucky!

Do you have a favourite artifact/ collection?

I have two favourites! In our lounge we have a collection of historic photos of judges and lawyers – they are pretty neat. Occasionally lawyers will donate more photos they have kicking around their offices and we add to our (very small) collection. We also have the “archives” of the Northumberland County Law Association which include handwritten minute books from the mid-1800s, as well as a few hand written diaries that belonged to County Judges. Those are an interesting read!

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Meet the Local History Librarian – Becky George, Pickering Public Library

Up next is Becky George, Local History and Genealogy Librarian for the Pickering Public Library.

Headshot2What do you do at the Pickering Public Library ? 

I am the Local History and Genealogy Librarian. The Library has a wonderful collection of photographs and documents relating to Pickering’s history as far back as 1811. It is my job to collect, preserve and promote Pickering’s heritage. This includes not just old records but also making sure that the community’s activities today are captured in a way to ensure our history is preserved for future generations too.

Why did you choose this career?

It combines two of my passions, Ontario’s history and civic pride and engagement. By helping preserve and promote Pickering’s history I help foster community building since all of us living in Pickering share our local history. I like to get people excited about where they live and help them find connections with their neighbours and local government.

What is your favourite part of your job?

I love to help people and each question I get is a chance to solve a mystery and enhance someone’s day.

What do you find to be the most challenging part of your job?

Keeping up with new forms of communication is a challenge. It is relatively easy to collect and preserve paper-based records but it is not as easy with electronic records. There is so much content being produced by the people and businesses of Pickering including email, websites, and video which is hard to capture and preserve reliably and I worry that we may lose many of these important records in the future.

How did you get into the field? 

I first studied and worked as an archaeologist in Ontario but discovered that I preferred learning about people based on their writings and photographs rather than their garbage. This led me to pursue my Masters degree at the University of Toronto to become an archivist. When I graduated I was lucky enough to find a job at the Pickering Public Library. I grew up in Pickering so taking care of the Local History Collection here is a dream job for me. My connection and experience with the history and geography of Pickering is a great asset in my work.

What is your favourite memory of the library?

Pickering celebrated its bicentennial (200th birthday) in 2011 and we were able to organize a number of memorable events. We displayed the Township’s original Council minute book from 1811 in our City Hall and hosted a play based on early civic life in Pickering for local school children. We also completed a family history project and featured a written history and display of ten families who influenced the development of Pickering. Conducting the oral history interviews for this project was so much fun for me. Hearing history first hand from those that lived it is thrilling for me.

Do you have a favourite artifact/ collection?

Our map collection is my favourite. We have land-owner maps of Pickering dating back to 1860. Whenever I am talking or thinking about an historical event I always like to visualize what Pickering looked like at the time and maps help bring that to life.

To see some of our cool maps and other items in the Pickering Local History Collection, check out the Ajax-Pickering Digital Archive at

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Meet the Local History Librarian – Eva Saether, Oshawa Public Library

Up next is Eva Saether, Local History and Genealogy Librarian for the Oshawa Public Library.

SaetherPic2015What do you do at Oshawa Public Libraries?

I am the Local History and Genealogy Librarian for Oshawa Public Libraries. The purpose of the local history collection is to collect, maintain, and provide access to researchers and the general public print material and online resources that pertain to the heritage of Oshawa.

Why did you choose this career?

I enjoy helping people with their library needs as well as independent research. My position provides both. Library work is a natural extension of who I am. As a child, I attended story times and book talks in a library branch in east Toronto. I not only developed a love for books but a strong desire to do the librarian’s work! I spent hours following the librarian around asking her to give me tasks to help her – sharpening pencils, straightening books, to the point of being a complete nuisance! I began working in the library as a student page, and the rest, as they say is history…

What is your favourite part of your job?

Helping people with their family research. I provide one-on-one tutorials teaching people how to access and use library resources. I also provide seminars on genealogy and local history as they pertain to Oshawa Public Libraries’ collections and resources.

The local history collection with its focus on historical information about Oshawa, and materials by and about the people of Oshawa, contributes significantly to the historical, educational, and community-building work of the public library.

What do you find to be the most challenging part of your job? Many people search for information about their home.  This, however, can be difficult and frustrating. The reward is the discovery of a fascinating event, such as a wedding that took place in a home in the 1920s.  The local paper sometimes covered these event with photos of the interior of the home.

 How did you get into the field?

I worked as a public service clerk at the Oshawa Public Libraries when I made the decision to attend the Information Studies program at the University of Toronto.  After completing my Master’s Degree, I returned to the Library, and shortly thereafter, a librarian position became available.  I applied and became the Local History and Genealogy Librarian.

What is your favourite memory of the library?

My discovery of the vast and unique local history collection, from books and pamphlets, to slides, photos, and 16 mm films.

 Do you have a favourite artifact/ collection?

The photographic collection pertaining to Robert Samuel McLaughlin.  The collections, McLaughlin: Remembering the Legacy and Heritage Collection: Oshawa Images, can be found on the Oshawa Public Libraries’ website. Taken together, these photographs tell an extraordinary story of this remarkable man.

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Meet the Curator – Earl Wotton, Ontario Regiment Museum

Today we have the opportunity to learn a bit more about a very unique site in Durham Region, the Ontario Regiment Museum.  Up until 2015, this amazing site had been run entirely by dedicated volunteers like Earl Wotton. These passionate individuals created fascinating exhibits, maintained a large archival collection and share their love of this collection with citizens from Durham Region and beyond.

Earl_WottonWhat do you do at the Ontario Regiment Museum?
I serve as the curator of the static display section at the Ontario Regiment Museum. We have a number of volunteers who share the work of maintaining, interpreting and displaying our collection of military artefacts, photos and documents.

Why did you choose this career?
This is not a career for me in the classic sense. Following my retirement from the corporate world in 2008, I volunteered to support the museum as a tour guide. In 2010, I was asked to fill the vacant role of curator.

What is your favourite part of your job?
My favourite part of the job is researching, interpreting and displaying artefacts. Every artefact has a story to tell. I see it as our job here at this museum to help these inanimate objects tell their story.

What do you find to be the most challenging part of your job?
Insufficient space, time, resources and money to do all the things we would like to do. I imagine that every other respondent has said something similar.

How did you get into the field?
I have always had an interest in military history, especially that of the Ontario Regiment as my father commanded the unit in the early 1950s. I also have an interest in education having taught business courses at night school for over 20 years. Volunteering here has provided a platform to explore both interests.

What is your favourite memory of the museum?
Believe it or not, my favourite memory was demolishing the interior of the museum and rebuilding it as a more modern, accessible space to tell the story of our regiment.

Do you have a favourite artifact/ collection?
There is one. A simple newsletter “De Nieuwesbode” (News messenger). This newspaper had been published illegally in Holland during the German occupation. The copy we have is dated May 5, 1945, the day of the German surrender. This simple document represents the first free press in Holland. It contains the following quote “Our liberation is the last page and the happy end of a bitter novel and at the same time the first page of a new book that shall be written by us.” Powerful stuff.

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Meet the Curator – Sonya Jones, The RMG

As we welcome the first full week of April with a spring in our step, we also celebrate Archives Awareness Week!  Once again this year, we begin our celebrations by introducing you to some of the amazing people, and their collections, that make up DRAAG!

This year we begin with Sonya Jones, Associate Curator / Curator of the Thomas Bouckley Collection at The RMG. The RMG is a vibrant public art museum located in downtown Oshawa focusing on modern and contemporary Canadian art.

sonya2015What do you do at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery? 

I am the Associate Curator/Curator of the Thomas Bouckley Collection at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery. Some of my duties include: curating contemporary art and historical photography exhibitions, collections management for all of our collections, managing and administrating our three collection databases, managing copyright and reproduction, facilitating art loans, and creating and implementing public programming activities.

Why did you choose this career?

I have a passion for art and history, and love visual culture.

What is your favourite part of your job?

I love connecting the community with its history and finding ways to interpret art or history in engaging and accessible ways.

What do you find to be the most challenging part of your job?

Copyright has always been challenging. Not only is it complicated at times, but you have to stay on top of what the laws currently are.

How did you get into the field?

I studied Art History at Carleton University. While a student there, I worked part time at the Carleton University Art Gallery. This job opened many doors for me—whether inspiring me to pursue a career in an art gallery or giving me wonderful networking opportunities.

What is your favourite memory of the Gallery?

I would say working with the Oshawa Senior Citizen’s Camera Club on a Then and Now series documenting Oshawa’s evolution. The seniors are such a pleasure to work with, and they have such an enthusiasm for The Thomas Bouckley Collection and Oshawa’s history.

Do you have a favourite artifact/ collection?

My favourite subject in the Thomas Bouckley Collection is the circus images. I started at the gallery in 2008, and spent my first year getting to know the collection, Oshawa’s history and the role of the collection and gallery to the community. While exploring the breadth of the collection, I discovered a selection of unprinted negatives of circus images, including written notes about the negatives. These images inspired an exhibition on the subject and were fascinating and charming. It felt wonderful to bring these previously unseen images of Oshawa’s past to light.

To learn more about The RMG, in particular their amazing Thomas Bouckley collection of historic photographs, visit their website at The RMG.

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