Category Archives: General

Australia Day

January 26 is Australia Day, Australia’s national day. We have records that show some of Vancouver’s interactions with Australia and Australians. Here are a few examples.

The Young Australia League is a youth organization founded in 1905 that promotes “education through travel”, among other activities. They stopped in Vancouver during their 1929 overseas tour, along with a burro they picked up in their travels.

Young Australia League with burro

Members of the Young Australia League with burro, May 1929. Stuart Thomson, photographer. Reference code AM1535-: CVA 99-2027

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2012 Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference

In early December, I attended the annual conference of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) in Seattle. Here are a few of the highlights.

Cinerama street view

The Cinerama has been restored to its 1963 space-age look. A showing of “Hendrix 70: Live at Woodstock” was a highlight outside of the conference program. Photograph: Sue Bigelow

The Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) is a professional association for those involved in the preservation and access of moving image heritage. Members come from all over the world to attend the conference.

Ffmpeg workshop

There was an excellent workshop on uses of ffmpeg for archivists. Ffmpeg is open source, free software for working with multimedia files. One of the advantages for archives is that ffmpeg is always adding the capability of working with new types of files, but not getting rid of any old functionality. This means that if archivists encounter an outdated type of file, ffmpeg may be able to work with it. Ffmpeg software can analyze a file and report on all the different kinds of data inside. We store the original files in our digital archives but we also create another version using ffmpeg that can be viewed on a modern computer. Continue reading

Happy Holidays

The Archives will be closed from noon Monday December 24 to 9am Tuesday January 2.

Card from Mayor Rathie and Mrs. Rathie used 1963-66. Reference code PUB-: PDS 50

See you in the new year!

Remembering . . .

. . . the preparation . . .

29th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force training at Hastings Park, 1914. Stuart Thomson photo. Reference code AM1535-: CVA 99-155

Recruiting Station at Victory Square, 1941. Photographer unknown. Reference code AM54-S4-: Mil P265

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Something’s cooking in the Archivist’s kitchen

Second in a series about the BC Sugar records

While continuing to process our BC Sugar fonds, I had the pleasure of finding some cookbooks and they inspired me to try some historical recipes. Read on to see how they turned out.

“Great dessert ideas…try Rogers on ice cream!” Reference code: AM1592-S7-F1-: 2011-092.1557

Cookbooks are a favourite resource for social and cultural historians as well as scholars of gender studies and women’s studies. But the list of academics that use cookbooks as sources does not end there. Studying literature can be enriched by knowing what people were eating and cooking at various times. Continue reading

The Archives continues ‘pinning’ content to Historypin!

This isn’t the first time we’ve blogged about our Historypin page. We’ve recently taken the time, however, to add a number of new features to our Historypin Channel. In addition to over 200 new photos, we’ve added a number of site-specific moving image files from the 1920s to the 1970s!

Here is a screenshot with one of our photographs ‘pinned’ in Street View. Using the ‘Fade’ bar on the left you can fade out the archival image to see what that intersection looks like in Street View today.

One of our summer interns, Jesse Cumming, identified 200+ photos to add to our Historypin Channel. He also created a couple of unique “Tours” (click on the “Tours” tab to view). The first is called Vancouver in Motion and collects all our newly added moving image clips. The second, A 360° trip down Burrard, brings together photographs from the City of Vancouver Transportation Division, to create a tour down Burrard St. from Broadway to Hastings, showing 360° views of intersections along the way. Continue reading

And…Action! On set in the Archives Reading Room.

Here at the Archives, we’re used to working with pre-existing documents and media, though we recently decided to try our hand at creating something new. The idea arose to make a video introducing and promoting our public reading room, which is open for anyone to come and conduct research.

The first step was to find inspiration. Prior to our new video, proper Reading Room protocol had been communicated through a series of humorous “Dos” and “Don’ts” photos. We loved the way it was fun and tongue-in-cheek while getting the important facts across.

This series of posters created by the then-Public Archives of Canada (now Library and Archives Canada) shows good and bad Reading Room behavior. Don’t behave like the gorilla!

One other work we enjoyed while preparing this video was created by our friend and colleague at the United Church of Canada BC Conference Archives, the late Bob Stewart, entitled “The Archives – More than a Holding Operation”. The title makes its way into a line in our video, our own little tribute. Unlike Bob, our Archives does not have access to a choir – and none of us can boast rapping skills (well, one of our interns, but we could not convince her to go on camera). Continue reading

Your favourite Archives now on Facebook! What’s not to “like”?

At the Archives we are continually working on our social media outreach initiatives. It is something we do off the sides of our desks that has great value in reaching beyond the walls of the Archives and sharing our holdings with a wider audience often in new ways. This past summer the Archives was pleased to have a Communications intern from Concordia University helping us improve and expand our social media activities, Jesse Cumming. Jesse worked on many projects during the two months he was in Vancouver and you will see many of the fruits of his labour featured in blog posts this fall. Continue reading

Where are the Royal Columbian Hospital records?

The records known as the Royal Columbian Hospital fonds (formerly AM284), have moved to New Westminster.

In 1973, the records were given to us as a long-term loan. We don’t accept records as a loan now—we prefer to put our resources into records that we own—but in the 1970s it was a common practice.

[Job no. 876] : Construction site at Royal Columbian Hospital. AM1399, Townley, Matheson and Partners fonds. Reference code: AM1399-S3-: CVA 1399-263

The current owner of the records, the Fraser Health Authority, wanted them to be held at an archives closer to the hospital. The 1973 agreement was terminated and the records are now held by the New Westminster Museum and Archives. They are searchable online at the New Westminster Archives site.

Even though the fonds has moved, we still hold some records related to the Hospital, such as the photograph above. 2012 is the Royal Columbian Hospital’s 150th year, a great time for the records to move closer to home.

National Archival Development Program Elimination

We were dismayed to learn of the federal government’s April 30th decision to severely cut the budget of Library and Archives Canada and to eliminate the National Archival Development Program and the body that administers it, the Canadian Council of Archives.

NADP funding has helped the Archives describe and digitize many photographs like this one from the Jack Lindsay Photographers Ltd fonds. Reference Code AM1184-S1-: CVA 1184-3225

The CCA supports a network of archival institutions and advisory services across the country and has played an integral part in the development of Canadian archival standards and in the support of the development of all the provincial and territorial online archival databases across the country (BC’s is MemoryBC). It brings the latter together under Archives Canada, the national database of archival descriptions. These databases were built on and are supported by NADP funding, as are numerous archival and preservation advisory services in the provinces and territories. Continue reading