Archives Society of Alberta Education Institute
University of Calgary
May 14-19, 2001
This Spring I met a fantastic group of people from as far away as Powell River, BC and Inuvik, NWT and across Alberta's lands of Athabasca, Edmonton, Wetaskiwin, Hobbema, Calgary, Okotoks and Banff. Institute instructors Margery Hadley and Michael Gourlie led us through the basics of archival theory and practises of acquisition, appraisal, arrangement, description, RAD, preservation management, reference and access. And somehow, through their lively banter and excellent sample exercises, I not only learned, but had a great time doing so.
It was intense. We had a lot to cover, starting at 8:30 am, and finishing sometimes as late as 9 pm. But discussions that ensued with each topic meant that the hours passed quickly, and in my mind were the highlight The sample fonds exercise, which took us from appraisal through to the final arrangement and description was an excellent teaching tool, incorporating the theory that we learned throughout the day. We were all given the same material and by week-end names were drawn from a hat and those selected presented their final fonds-level and, for some, series-level descriptions. The presentations were a credit to the Institute, and a credit to us all in showing how much we all had learned in such a short time.
Guest instructors Doug Cass, Susan Kooyman, Don Bourdon and Jim Bowman provided their additional expertise to special topics pertaining to the archival profession, including acquisition, electronic access, preventive conservation, copyright and electronic reference. Tours of the University of Calgary Special Collections and the Canadian Architectural Archives were very interesting, and a welcome change to the classroom setting. A social reception on day 5 was a great opportunity to chat with our classmates and instructors, as well as to meet some local archivists.
I highly recommend the 6 day Archives Institute to anyone wishing to learn, refresh or update themselves about archival theory and practise. I had been attempting to obtain my ASA Education certificate since the late 1980s, and somehow always seemed to miss one of the required courses. The six day format had the continuity that the previous 5 year education programme lacked, and even though I had taken many of the topics individually in the old programme, I found new relevance. With my certificate now under my belt, I'm looking forward to follow-up workshops and continued networking with this great group of people.
Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.