How to find photographs that are not yet available online – part two

Our previous article “How to find photographs that are not yet available online—part one” explained the best-case scenario for finding photographs that are not yet available online. But what happens when things don’t go that smoothly?

What if I find items that are close but not what I want?

If there are items in your search results that aren’t quite what you’re looking for, don’t despair. It’s quite possible that we have what you want, but that it hasn’t been described yet. The items that have already been described offer you a useful clue as to where those non-described items might be.

First, note the fonds, collection, or accession where each item is from and look at the field labelled “extent.” How many other photographs make up that collection? Perhaps there are more images relating to your topic.

Does the item have:

- an item number?
– a particular photographer?
– certain keywords?

Use variations of those keywords, item number and photographer’s name to do other online searches in Archives Search. If those don’t yield any results, try the finding aid related to each item, either online or on paper. See “How to find photographs that are not yet available online—part one” for tips on using the finding aid.

What if the finding aid is not online or the finding aid is only available in paper?

If you find a fonds, collection, or accession that seems relevant to your research but that doesn’t have an electronic finding aid, look to see if it has a paper one. If it does, you can visit us at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa, to have a closer look at it. If there is no reference to a paper finding aid, then you have to search through the boxes from that collection. If you cannot come to Ottawa, you can contact our reference staff for guidance, or you may wish to hire a freelance researcher.

With more than 25 million images, chances are we have your “perfect shot.” You just have to find it!

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

How to find photographs that are not yet available online – part one

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has more than 25 million photographs, one of the largest archival photographic collections in the world. To make these collections more accessible, LAC has undertaken an ongoing project to digitize them, including photographic material. Currently, some images are already digitized and described at the item-level in our Archives Search database.

Given the cost and complexity of describing and digitizing fragile archival images, photographs are described and digitized only when they are requested by users. So, if you are looking for that unique, one-of-a-kind archival photo that no one else has requested (e.g., UFO, Big Foot or Ogopogo), you better start digging!

Begin by checking what has already been described. Follow the steps outlined in our past article: “How to find photographs online” to get a sense of the type of photographs that already exist on your topic, individual, or location.

If those searches do not yield what you’re looking for, it’s time to dig deeper. This is where archival research meets detective work! Remember, from now on we’re talking about photographs that have not been digitized, so you will not be able to view the image before ordering it or visiting LAC.

Keyword Search

In Archives Search, after selecting “Photographic Material” under “TYPE OF MATERIAL” you can enter key words in the search box. Get creative with the key words; archival documents are often titled using the creator’s own language. Narrow your search by using the “ADVANCED SEARCH” features.

You may end up with image search results that aren’t exactly what you’re looking for. Don’t panic. This list is just the beginning of your journey into deeper archival research. It’s fun, trust us!

Fonds/Collections/Accessions

Have you found archival records, including photographs and textual records, all jumbled together? These groupings are called fonds or accessions or sometimes collections. This is a high-level description of an entire grouping of material, usually based on the source of the original donation.

Check out the extent field and see how many photographs are listed there. Read the descriptions carefully and see if the material described relates to the photographs you’re looking for.

They do? Great!

Now, read the description again and see if there is a finding aid.

There is? Good!

Now see if it’s electronic and attached to the description in Archives Search.

It is? Fantastic!

Open it up and see if it provides a listing of the contents of the fonds, collection, or accession.

It does? Wonderful!

Locate the box that you think contains the image you’re looking for, based on the contents of the finding aid, and order the box by following the steps outlined in our article “How to consult material that is not yet available online.”

But what happens if things don’t go this smoothly? Our next article on this topic will provide more tips from our experts on what to do. Stay tuned!

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

New LAC RSS Feed – Finding Aid, Database and Digitization News

This new RSS feed highlights updates and additions to Library and Archives Canada (LAC)’s resources, such as finding aids, its various databases and provides information on newly digitized content.

Subscribe to this new RSS feed or visit LAC’s RSS page to access other LAC RSS feeds.

For more information on recent announcements at LAC, visit “News”.

The School Files Series, 1879 -1953

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) holds records created by the federal government about the administration of residential schools.

The School Files Series (archival reference RG10-B-3-d) within the Indian and Inuit Affairs sous fonds contains records created from 1879 to 1953 about residential schools and day schools.

This series contains some records of the admission and discharge of students at residential schools, as well as files on the establishment of individual schools.

The School Files Series has been digitized and is available through the Microform Digitization section of the LAC website.

Our reference specialists recommend a list of which schools are mentioned in which volumes and reels of the series. This list can be found in the Search Help section of the digital version of the series. It will prove to be quite useful when navigating the School Files Series.

Additional Resources

  • For more information on how to search the Microform Digitization section, use the Search Help section.
  • View the description of this series in Archives Search for additional information.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you.

Clarification for Film, Video and Sound Recordings

Our experts would like to add some clarifications to our earlier post: Lights, Camera, Action! Searching for Film, Video and Sound recordings.

Some published audiovisual material, such as feature films, can be found through the Film, Video and Sound Recordings database.  Some can be found in Library Search.  It is therefore recommended that you search both.

Fonds and accession records of items searchable on the Film, Video and Sound link can also be found using Archives Search.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

Listen to Canada’s Musical History with the Virtual Gramophone

From patriotic songs and sentimental ballads from the First World War era to classical vocalists and instrumentalists from the 1920s to 1940s; that is what you will find on the Library and Archives Canada website the Virtual Gramophone. This is a great place to listen to recordings from our music collection!

Our Virtual Gramophone website documents the history of the recorded sound industry in Canada, provides biographies of Canadian performers, presents a video of a working gramophone, allows you to search the database, and you can listen to some recordings.

Some of the recordings available online include:

  • Patriotic songs and sentimental ballads of the First World War era
  • Recordings from the rising vaudeville and jazz scenes, and the dance band craze of the 1920s
  • Music from Quebec in the 1920s and 1930s, including the recordings of Madame Édouard (Mary Travers) Bolduc
  • Popular music of the post-First World War era, including recordings from New Brunswick’s Henry Burr, the most prolific recording artist of his time
  • Classical vocalists and instrumentalists from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, including Emma Albani, Pauline Donalda, Sarah Fischer, and Hubert Eisdell
  • Military bands, popular songs, and other material in both English and French recorded or released by the Berliner Gramophone of Montreal circa 1901 to 1910

Although the website is no longer updated, it is still a great place to access some of our digitized recordings of the 78-rpm and cylinder music collection held by Library and Archives Canada.

If you have a keen interest in Canadian music, our other websites may also be of interest:

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

Lights, Camera, Action! Searching for Film, Video and Sound Recordings

If you’re looking for information about audiovisual recordings in the archival collection of Library and Archives Canada, use our Film, Video and Sound database, which contains details on individual audiovisual recordings that cannot be found in our Archives Search.

If you are looking for published audiovisual recordings, such as commercial film or television production, use Library Search.

Tips:

  • It is not yet possible to view the recordings online. Please see our blog post on How to Consult Material that IS Not Yet Available Online for details.
  • In the Film, Video and Sound database, the statement No consultation copies available indicates that a consultation copy must be made before you can consult or order a copy of the document. This will take approximately six weeks.

*Please consult our clarification regarding this article.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

New Digitized Reels: Border Entry Records

We are pleased to announce that you can now access 121,302 new images of immigration records on our website, with the Microform Digitization research tool.

Before 1908, people were able to move freely across the border from the United States into Canada. Beginning in that year, entry ports were established along the border. From 1908 to 1918, and from 1925 to 1935, border entry records were compiled in a list format to record the names of immigrants.

By providing these images online, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is now offering all immigration records containing nominal information for immigrants from 1865 to 1935 in its custody. Discover these valuable resources with the Microform Digitization research tool, which allows you to browse, page by page, the border entry records.

For more information on recent announcements at LAC, visit “News”.

How to Search for Images Online

Did you know that you can search for images in our collection online, simply by using a “copy negative number”?

What is a copy negative number?

Copy negative numbers are used to identify a photograph or a work of art in our collection. They usually start with a C-, a PA-, or an e number, such as:

  • C-041979
  • PA-005001
  • e002505688

Copy negative numbers are usually included along with the image in the photo credit in books, articles or online.

So what do you do if you have found a copy negative number, in a book or online, and would like to know if Library and Archives Canada holds this image? How do you get to the image’s description in our database?

It’s simple, just follow these tips:

You can search Archives Search by copy negative number; however, there is a trick to it…

  • C- and PA- numbers must have six digits after the hyphen in order for our database to recognize them.
  • Zeros should be added at the beginning of a shorter number to create a number with six digits. For example, if you see PA-5001 you need to enter PA-005001.
  • Copy negatives starting with an “e” do not follow the six-digit rule (they do not require a hyphen either).
  • Look under the heading entitled “Conditions of Access” for the copy negative number starting with C- or PA-, or under “Terms of Use” for e numbers.
  • You will need the copy negative number to order a photographic reproduction or a digital image of a work of art.

For more information, read our blog post How to Find Photographs Online for other quick hints to help you search for photographs.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!

Understand the Abbreviations Commonly Found in Military Service Files

In previous posts, we’ve explained how to order Military Service files and we’ve even outlined what type of documents you are likely to find in them; but what happens once you begin reading a Military Service file and see abbreviations? You may recognize some abbreviations, such as “YMCA” (Young Men’s Christian Association), but others, such as “11thIFofC” or “YISMHRCAMC”, may prove to be somewhat puzzling.

Help Is at Hand

Understanding these abbreviations can be difficult, especially if you are unfamiliar with Canadian military history. For this reason, the Genealogy Services have transcribed over 6,000 abbreviations commonly found in these records and have added them to a list of abbreviations used in military service files. Using this list, you can search for the abbreviations in alphabetical order.

Understanding that “11thIFofC” stands for “11th Regiment (Irish Fusiliers of Canada)” or that “YISMHRCAMC” means “York Island Station Military Hospital Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps” will help you decipher the soldier’s life and provide you with a much better understanding of ranks, jobs, regiments and much more.

Questions or comments? We would love to hear from you!