What is MIKAN?

The blog post “Ordering documents: what numbers do I need?” helps clients locate the right reference numbers among all the choices in a descriptive record. But what about the MIKAN number? What is that all about?

MIKAN is a computer system for searching, creating, and modifying information about archival materials. The name is based on an Algonquin word, meaning “road,” “path” or “discovery.”

The MIKAN number is a unique record number automatically assigned by the MIKAN system to a record at all levels of description (fonds, series, accession, file, item). Because it is a mandatory field in the MIKAN system, the number appears on each archival descriptive page – at the very bottom – in our Archives Search database. See example below.

Example of a MIKAN number.

Although it can be used to locate and order material, it is not an archival reference number per se and will not show up on our examples of reference numbers page. Therefore, it is best to always include the full archival reference and not just the MIKAN number.

Let Them Howl: 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage—An exhibition in Ottawa and Winnipeg

The year 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of women first winning the right to vote in Canada. On January 28—the date that Manitoba became the first province to pass women’s voting rights into law—Library and Archives Canada (LAC), in partnership with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, will officially launch an outdoor exhibition titled Let Them Howl: 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage.

The exhibition will feature reproduction portraits of some of the women who fought for equality and the vote. Be sure to check out the exhibitions January 28 to February 15, 2016 on the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa (presented in partnership with Winterlude) and February 12–21, 2016 at the Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg.

The exhibition features reproduction portraits from LAC’s collection of historic figures like Nellie McClung and Agnes Mcphail to modern women who have broken gender barriers, such as Adrienne Clarkson and Beverley McLachlin.

A black-and-white photograph of Agnes Macphail in profile, reading the paper.

Agnes Macphail by Yousuf Karsh, 1934 (MIKAN 3256551)

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Images for Women’s Suffrage Now on Flickr

Women won the vote in small incremental steps, with the western provinces leading the way. However, it was not until the 1960s that the majority of women in Canada gained the right to vote. Women’s suffrage was a powerful and early expression of women’s rights in Canada.

Patent of Invention Applications at Library and Archives Canada

A patent of invention application (for a patent) is a document that usually includes “an abstract, a specification, and drawings.” This type of application is important as it often becomes the official patent document once it is approved. Like the patent process itself, the structure of and type of information in each application is highly regulated. Here’s an overview of what Library and Archives Canada (LAC) holds in terms of patent applications. A subsequent blog post will detail the steps to follow when searching for a specific application.

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office fonds is one of the first places to look if you’re trying to get an idea of what LAC holds in terms of patents. You’ll find relevant holdings in the Patent Branch and the Industrial Design Division series within that fonds. Both series encompass the pre- and post-Confederation periods and include documentation that demonstrates the various stages of the patent application process. Please note that many of these are searchable through the Canadian Patents, 1869–1919 database. Continue reading

Orders-in-Council database

A new version of the Orders-in-Council database is now online. Digitized images for the years 1911 to 1916 are now available, plus new descriptions for the years 1916 to 1924 have been added. You’ll also notice new sorting features available in the Results pages.

Start searching the Orders-in-Council database now!

Temperance, social reform and the quest for women’s suffrage

At the beginning of the 19th century, many people considered that industrialization and urbanization were the source of society’s ills. This sparked the temperance movement, which advocated moderation or abstinence from alcohol because of its perceived detrimental influence on society.

Temperance societies, such as the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), campaigned against alcoholism to protect the home and strengthen family life. In addition to temperance, they endorsed many social reforms including community welfare, education and women’s suffrage to combat inequities like poverty and child labour. WCTUs realized that in order to prompt social change women needed to be able to influence government policies, which meant gaining the right to vote.

The temperance movement got more women interested in participating in public life and actively engaging in political and social reform. Nellie McClung, who was instrumental in winning women the right to vote in Manitoba in 1916, began to get involved in politics with the WCTU.

A black-and-white photograph of a seated woman, right hand propping up her head, right elbow on a table, a book in her left hand. She is looking directly at the camera.

Nellie McLung by Jessop Cyril (MIKAN 3622978)

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The Carignan-Salières Regiment

The colony of New France was in a precarious situation when France’s King Louis XIV acceded to the throne in 1661. The population and safety of the colony were a priority for him. In order to increase the population, the first contingent of the Filles du roi (“King’s daughters”) was sent there in 1663. Two years later, in 1665, the Carignan-Salières Regiment disembarked in New France to ensure the safety of the colony and, more specifically, to deal with the Iroquois threat.

A pen and watercolour sketch depicting an officer in the Carignan-Salières Regiment in profile. He is holding a lance in his right hand and wearing a sheathed sword on his left hip.

Officer of the Carignan-Salières Regiment, 1666 (c010368k)

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Curious about Library and Archives Canada’s new archival collections and publications? Check out “What’s new in the collection”

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is pleased to launch “What’s new in the collection,” your place to stay informed on some of LAC’s newest acquisition activities.

This new section showcases lists of select archival records and publications that we have recently received in addition to select archival records that are now available for consultation.

Of particular interest in the inaugural winter 2016 release is the addition to the Michel Marc Bouchard fonds as well as new items by Peter Rindisbacher and Cornelius Krieghoff. New publications received under the Legal Deposit Program include books on pianist Oscar Peterson and author Germaine Guèvremont.

Selected by LAC archivists and librarians, What’s new in the collection will be updated quarterly.

Happy discoveries!

Lucille Teasdale and Piero Corti: big dreams for a little hospital

Canadian surgeon Lucille Teasdale first met Italian doctor Piero Corti at Saint Justine’s hospital in Montréal in 1955 while completing an internship. Both doctors dreamed of providing medical assistance to people in developing nations and Piero was immediately drawn to Lucille’s dedication to her profession. After parting ways, Piero and Lucille reconnected in Marseille, France. There, Piero shared his dream of developing a small clinic in Uganda into a world-class hospital, eventually convincing Lucille to join him. The couple were married in Gulu, Uganda in 1961 and worked together at St. Mary’s-Hospital Lacor for 35 years. In that time, the hospital went from a small outpatient unit with 40 beds to a 450-bed facility treating 150,000 patients per year before Lucille passed away in 1996 from AIDS, which she contracted from operating on one of her patients.

A colour photograph showing four people standing outdoors. Three are in traditional Ugandan dress while another is in western clothing.

Lucille greeted by locals upon arrival in Gulu, Uganda (MIKAN 4843368)

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Lucille and Piero’s wedding in December 1961 (MIKAN 4843366)

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Open government 101

The first time many of us heard of Open Government may have been in 1980, in the pilot episode of the BBC series “Yes Minister.” The first policy idea of newly-appointed minister Jim Hacker was being “open”; giving citizens the chance to connect with the people they had just elected.

Long-serving civil servant Sir Humphrey Appleby was dismayed at this idea, explaining that open government was an absurd concept—one must choose between being open or governing.

Today, citizens and governments across the globe disagree with Sir Humphrey’s outdated ideas. Indeed more than 68 countries have joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a multilateral initiative that advocates openness within government to promote transparency and empower citizens.

Canada joined the OGP in 2011 and the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat released our first Action Plan in 2012. This plan was founded on three pillars: Open Information; Open Data, and Open Dialogue. Our second Action Plan, which builds on the original commitments and adds new commitments in areas such as government spending and contracting data, will be completed this summer.

At Library and Archives Canada (LAC), our main commitment to Open Government centres on open information. We are committed to increasing access to archived federal documents among LAC’s holdings by removing restrictions on this information wherever possible. In February of 2015, we wrote a blog post about Block Review. We’re happy to report that this work continues and that we have now opened almost 18 million pages of records in our holdings! We’re also working to ensure that, wherever possible, government records will be open when transferred to us in the future.

This past summer, we told you about the work we’ve been doing with historical datasets—migrating datasets from our holdings to Canada’s Open Data Portal. To date, we have migrated over 40 datasets. Keep checking our blog to keep up to date with our new additions to the Portal.

Enough about us! How can you get involved? Open Government is about facilitating a two-way conversation. Add your voice to the conversation—the best place to start is the Open Government portal. It’s a one-stop shop for everything the federal government is doing in the Open Government arena (including current consultation opportunities).

Keep checking back for more Open Government updates!