Archives Society of Alberta
Report to the Association of Canadian Archivists
June 11, 2003
2002-2003 has been a banner year for the Archives Society of Alberta.
Our major initiative, the Archives Network of Alberta (ANA) project, is now well underway. The database infrastructure is substantially complete and the focus has shifted to adding descriptive content, providing technical training and digitization of archival material.
Janet McMaster, Project Officer, and Scott Goodine, Project Archivist, have visited a number of institutions over the past year to revise existing or create new descriptions for the ANA database. Janet reported in April that member institutions in Alberta had contributed a total of 7552 fonds level descriptions to the ANA and Archives Canada databases. On-site and group training sessions have increased the number of archivists skilled in using the Cinemage database, allowing them to add and update their own content and assuring the highest level of participation in the country.
The creation of Alberta InSight, the electronic photograph database has allowed institutions to highlight their photographic holdings as never before and serves as a model for other provincial networks. By April, the database held 6761 images and related descriptions contributed by 14 member institutions.
This project has also served to create new partnerships and new opportunities over the past year. Last fall, the ASA applied for funding from the CCA for our innovative "Archival Resources in the Classroom" proposal. At this point, we are still waiting to hear whether or not our project will be approved but the intention is to develop two on-line learning objects for use in the K-12 sector, which will incorporate digitized archival documents in the learning process. The ASA has agreed to partner with Alberta Learning to ensure that there is a clear pedagogical purpose as well as a direct link to classroom instruction. We will also be partnering with the Alberta Online Consortium to ensure that the outcome is attractive to students and original in design. The possibility of increased exposure to a new audience and the opportunity to participate in the education process is exciting.
While the ANA project has been a major focus of the ASA, progress was made on other important fronts as well. Educational offerings included the Archives Institute and the basic Archives Awareness course as well as special topics workshops on Privacy Issues and Emergency and Disaster Preparedness.
The Communications Committee oversaw the creation of "A Feast for the Eyes: Food in Archives," the latest in the ASA's renowned Archives Week on-line exhibits. The Committee is now focusing on next year's undertaking - an exhibit devoted to built heritage as represented in archival holdings to celebrate the official opening of the new Provincial Archives of Alberta building. The Committee also reports increasing membership numbers, an indication that the ASA is reaching a broader community.
The ASA continues its outreach efforts, both within the heritage community and beyond. The Society has representation on the Provincial Archives Advisory Board and liaises with other provincial heritage organizations through the Alberta Heritage Council. ASA Archives Advisor/Executive Director is currently chair of the Council. The Advisory Services Program continues to reach a variety of individuals and organizations with questions or an interest in the preservation of archival records or the development of new archival programs. Representation at CCA meetings in Ottawa, most recently the Archives and Education roundtable, has ensured that Alberta's voice is heard during planning of national initiatives.
A final piece of good news - Alberta Community Development, which provides sustaining operational funds for the ASA through the Alberta Heritage Resources Foundation, has increased our annual support from $100,000 to $160,000 beginning in the 2003-2004 fiscal year. The new funds will be critical for the future stability of the Society and development of programs within our mandate.
I'm looking forward to the new year. It promises to bring exciting challenges and opportunities for Alberta's archival community. My thanks to everyone for their work and support over the past year.
Submitted by Jo-Ann Munn Gafuik
President, Archives Society of Alberta