Maggie Linardic has been volunteering at the Archives for over a year now. Maggie holds a Fine Arts degree with a major in photography from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Currently she is enrolled at Langara College in the Library and Information Technology Program. Combined with her interest in photography she became aware of volunteer opportunities at the Archives through another volunteer, Helen Lee: thank you Helen! Through her experience working at a small art gallery and studio, Maggie arrived at the Archives and the Langara Program with experience cataloguing artworks.
The Archives has set up a variety of projects for Maggie, allowing her to gain more cataloguing experience and have some fun handling photographs and negatives. Maggie created item-level descriptions for many of the photographs in the Leslie F. Sheraton fonds. This is a large collection of photographs so this project is a work in progress – some slides are still awaiting titles. The grant-funded scanning part of this project has been completed. The Archives is excited that our new database permits us to offer the scans we create in higher resolution than before.
Dedicating one afternoon a week to the Archives, Maggie has contributed to several small projects. And one large one–Maggie finished checking and doing the data entry for an entire drawer of catalogue cards for the City of Vancouver Archives Pamphlet Collection! Of the twenty-two catalogue card drawers, where pamphlet descriptions are filed alphabetically by subject, four drawers are now complete in our database. Somehow when the original transition was made to a database back in the early 1990s only a portion of the pamphlet descriptions were transcribed. The project Maggie was a part of involves checking in our database to see if the information on the card exists there and if not, then she creates a catalogue entry for each item missing from the database. With continued help from volunteers, the Archives is looking forward to ensuring that all of the descriptions for our holdings will be searchable from the comfort of your home.
The other large data entry project that Maggie and other volunteers have been helping us with is the Binders Project! As the oldest municipal archives in Canada, and having a prolific collector as our first City Archivist, we have a huge archival resource. Our collection includes 1.5 million photographs and this number continues to grow.
In a pre-digital world, before the Archives had a database, descriptions of individual photographs were handwritten on worksheets. With the advent of typewriters, these often hard-to-read handwritten worksheets were transcribed by a typist and made easier to read. Unfortunately, even the typewritten version of these worksheets cannot be recognized by the OCR [Optical Character Recognition] software we have. This is where the volunteers are a huge help: the data entry they do in spreadsheets can be imported into our database. Once the photographs are scanned, they will appear online with the description.
These typed versions are available in the Archives’ Reading Room for browsing – they are accompanied by basic black and white photocopies of the original photographs. Over the years, many of the collections represented in the Reading Room photograph binders have been scanned and the descriptions transcribed and made available for searching on the web. The Binders Project will systematically digitize and make available all of the photographs and descriptions now in the Reading Room Photograph Binders, meaning that researchers will not have to look in two different systems to find images.
The Archives would like to thank Maggie for her continued dedication to the Archives. Maggie will be starting new classes in the fall and will continue to find time to volunteer with us!