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!

Join the dance! – Dance Archives at LAC

Did you know that Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has fonds and collections related to dance in Canada? These include fascinating documents in a variety of formats on many aspects of this major component of the performing arts.

These fonds illustrate the careers of the founder of the National Ballet of Canada, Celia Franca, and a few of its principal dancers, including Veronica Tennant and Karen Kain.

Other fonds focus on the achievements of companies and artists in the field of modern dance, including the Groupe de la Place Royale, co-founded in 1966 by choreographers and dancers Jeanne Renaud and Peter Boneham. LAC also holds the fonds for the Toronto Dance Theatre and the Margie Gillis Dance Foundation, which are among the leading institutions in modern dance.

The collection also includes archives from schools of dance and of dance pioneers in Canada, including the Lacasse-Morenoff, the Gina Vaubois and the Ottawa Ballet Company, founded by Nesta Toumine in 1947, and Alex Pereima, ballet dancer and arts administrator.

At the same time, there are a certain number of fonds related to institutions that support dance companies and artists in Canada, including the Canada Council for the Arts, the 
National Arts Centre Corporation
, the Canadian Conference of the Arts and the Dance in Canada Association.

Many dance-related posters and photographs can be found through our Archives Image Search tool, using the keywords “dance” or “ballet.” You are also invited to consult our Flickr album.

Keep in mind that not all of our documents are available online. However, you can order archived documents through our online Request for Retrieval of Documents form. Please consult our article on How to consult material that is not yet available online for more information.

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

Queen Victoria’s Journals now available at 395 Wellington Street, Ottawa

At the age of 13, Queen Victoria became an avid journal writer when her mother gave her a diary to document an upcoming trip to Wales. Her last entry was written more than six decades later, on January 13, 1901, only nine days before her death.

This year, in honour of Queen Victoria’s birth (May 24, 1819) and the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, all 141 journal volumes (comprised of 43,765 pages) have been digitized and are now available through a courtesy subscription obtained by Library and Archives  Canada (LAC), through The Royal Household, and with the assistance of ProQuest.

The project’s website says that “ As well as detailing household and family matters, the journals reflect affairs of state, describe meetings with statesmen and other eminent figures, and comment on the literature of the day. They represent a valuable primary source for scholars of nineteenth century British political and social history and for those working on gender and autobiographical writing.”

Not only have the diaries been digitized, they have been (and will continue to be) transcribed to allow for a keyword search. In fact, The Queen, as Head of State for Canada, did not leave us unmentioned. A keyword search for “canad*” (without the quotation marks) currently retrieves more than 150 results up to 1839!

As the project continues and more years are transcribed and become searchable, this resource will become more valuable.

To access the journals, use any of the public workstations located at 395 Wellington Street in Ottawa or our Wi-Fi connection and visit the website Queen Victoria’s Journals [http://www.queenvictoriasjournals.org/]. You may browse the journals by date or search for keywords.

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

Discover the Access Codes for Archival Records at Library and Archives Canada – Part II

In our post “Discover the Access Codes for Archival Records“, we reviewed four of the most common access codes 90, 32, 10, and 18. However, there are other access codes that you may encounter while undertaking your research. They include access codes 96 and 99.

Restrictions vary (Code 96)

Access code 96 indicates that within a group of records there exists more than one type of access condition. For example, since the Department of Transportation fonds (RG12) contains records that are open (code 90) and others that are restricted (code 32), the fonds-level access condition are indicated by “restrictions vary” (code 96).

A sample record description in the Archives Search database displaying access code 96: RESTRICTIONS VARY.

Access code 96 can be applied to more than just fonds-level descriptions. It can also be linked to series, sub-series and accessions. However, it does not apply to individual volumes and files.

Remember

Access code 96 usually means that there are more specific descriptions available for the records you are researching. In some cases, these records can be accessed by simply clicking on the “lower level descriptions” link in the “Fonds consists of” section of a record description.

A sample record description in the Archives Search database displaying the FONDS CONSISTS OF ROW.

In other cases it will be necessary to consult a printed finding aid. To learn more, read our post Discover Finding Aids.

To be determined / closed pending processing (Code 99)

Access code 99 means that the access conditions for a group of records have yet to be determined. Usually this is because the records are being processed. In the following example, while the photographic material is open, the access conditions for the textual records have yet to be determined:

A sample record description in the Archives Search database displaying access code 99.

Open, no copying (Code 95)

Access code 95 indicates that the records are open and can be consulted, however, at the request of the donor, the records cannot be copied or reproduced.

A sample record description in the Archives Search database displaying access code 95.

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

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!

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!

Discover the Access Codes for Archival Records at Library and Archives Canada

Have you ever ordered an archival record only to find out that it is restricted? Archival records may be subject to access restrictions. To find out if a record is open or restricted, you must identify its access code. When you are in the Archives Search database, you can find these codes in the “Conditions of access” section of records descriptions (see image below):

A black-and-white three-column table of a record description in the Library and Archives Canada Archives Search database. On the left is the title “Conditions of Access,” in the middle is the volume number(s), and on the right is the access code “90: Open”.

A sample record description in the Library and Archives Canada Archives Search database. Note the conditions of access in the right column.

The most common access codes are 90, 32, 18 and 10.

Open Records (code 90)

Any records that are unrestricted and directly available for consultation are marked as “90: Open.”

Government Records (code 32)

Some government records must be reviewed according to the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act beforebeing made available. Records restricted under these laws are identified as “32: Restricted by law.” For an example, please consult the Operational records of Prairie Northern Region record description.

To request restricted government records, follow the instructions on our Access to Information and Privacy page.

Private Records (codes 18 and 10)

Records that are “18: Restricted” can be accessed through an application procedure established by the donor. These restrictions affect what you can consult, as well as what you can copy.

Records that are “10: Closed” cannot be consulted. In some cases, restrictions on closed records are set to be reviewed after a date specified by the donor.

To find out what files are restricted in a private fonds, consult the PDF document linked under “Conditions of Access” in the fonds description. For an example of this type of document, please see the Lester B. Pearson fonds description.

The next post, Discover the Access Codes for Archival Records at Library and Archives Canada – Part II, will review other access codes that apply to archival holdings. Until then, let us know if you have any questions or comments. We would love to hear from you!

How to Consult Material that Is Not Yet Available Online

For Archival Material – Use Archives Search

When searching for archival material (i.e., diaries, photographs etc.), use Archives Search. You will be able to search database records, known as “archival descriptions”. Sometimes the contents of the record have not yet been digitized. When this is the case, use one of the following methods to consult the material:

For Published Material – Use Library Search/AMICUS

When searching for published material (i.e., books, newspapers, etc.), use either our Library Search or, for more search features, use our AMICUS catalogue. The search results will often be database records (known as “bibliographic records”) and not full-text online documents. There are three ways you may consult the material:

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