A day in the life of a reference librarian

By Kristen Frame

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has a vast collection of published material that includes fiction and non-fiction, newspapers, government reports, Parliamentary debates, maps and atlases, music scores and recordings, and films. This blog article will give you an idea of how this vast collection helps reference librarians to answer research questions.

As a reference librarian, I receive questions on a wide variety of topics, which require different types of published material to answer. I recently received a request to find a copy of a Militia General Order from the First World War. This specific General Order from August 1915 cancelled a regulation that required married men to have consent from their wives in order to enlist. To answer this particular question, I had to make use of multiple sources of published material from our collection.

General Orders

A photograph of the title page of a book.
Department of National Defence, General Orders, 1915

I began my search with LAC’s bound copies of published General Orders from 1897 to 1945. These can be requested using our online catalogue, Aurora.

I consulted the volume from 1915, but the General Order that cancelled the requirement to have consent from wives to enlist was not in this volume.

Canada Gazette

A typed page with two columns from the Canada Gazette.
Page from Canada Gazette, August 21, 1915, that includes General Orders; image from A Nation’s Chronicle: The Canada Gazette

Next, I decided to check to see if the Canada Gazette published this General Order, as it regularly published General Orders during wartime. Issues of the Canada Gazette from 1941 to 1997 are available online in our A Nation’s Chronicle: The Canada Gazette database. Again, my search came up empty, as there was no mention of the order in the 1915 Canada Gazette.

Secondary sources

My next step was to consult secondary sources (books and articles) to see if any research had already been done on this General Order. I did find references to the General Order in the following publications:

However, these references did not include any information about where—or whether—this General Order was published. This General Order was becoming a real mystery!

Newspapers

Two newspaper articles side by side.
The Toronto Daily Star, August 20, 1915, page 7; The Globe, August 21, 1915, page 6

At this point in my research, I decided to search newspapers to confirm that this order was passed in August 1915. I searched the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail from August 1915 and found articles from both newspapers reporting that the regulations for enlistment had changed, and men were now free to enlist in the Canadian Expeditionary Force without the consent of their wives (if married) or parents (if under 17).

Orders in Council

A typed page with General Orders 1915 at the top.
P.C. 1915–1948, Overseas Expeditionary Forces, Regulations Enlistment 1915/08/19, Actg M. M. and D. [Acting Minister of Militia and Defence], 1915/08/14 (e010920460)

Now that I had confirmation that the General Order was passed in August 1915, I felt it was likely that the government did not publish this General Order. But as a last resort, I searched our Orders-in-Council database using Collection Search. At that time, some General Orders were approved by Orders-in-Council. And there it was! At long last, I had found the General Order that cancelled the regulation requiring married men to have consent from their wives to enlist.

As you can see, the General Order was not easy to find. This particular search illustrates how many different kinds of published material can be used to answer a research question.

Do you have a question that could use the assistance of a librarian or archivist? Submit your question in writing to us today .


Kristen Frame is a Reference Librarian in the Reference Services Division at Library and Archives Canada.

Images of Recordings for Children: 78rpm discs, 1918-1962 now on Flickr

These colourful, playful discs represent some of Canada’s earliest recordings for children. Some were simply recordings of nursery rhymes or well-known tunes in English and French.

A colour image of a record label for the Canadian Music Corp., Ltd. Side 2 depicts an outline of Canada with the name Dominion overlaying it. The recording title listed is “Ma mère m'envoit-au marché” followed by the artists Hélène Baillaregion – vocals, and Gilbert Lacombe – guitare.

“Ma mère m’envoit-au marché, Side 2” [Ma_Mere.jpg]

Some of the discs would have come as part of a package of items. The Dee & Cee Company was a doll manufacturer, rather than a record company, that produced the “Pretty Baby” discs. Dee & Cee presumably included the discs with the sale of some of their dolls, probably as an attempt to increase sales.

A colour image of a record label for the Dee & Cee Toy Company, Ltd. Side 1 depicts a small girl sitting and holding an open book. The company name and the recording title “Pretty Baby” are on the book cover.

Pretty baby, Side 1 [Pretty_Baby_1.jpg]

These beautiful labels captured the attention and entertained many children in the early 20th century when they were released.

Visit the Flickr album now!

Library and Archives Canada releases tenth podcast episode, “The Virtual Gramophone: Early Canadian Sound Recordings”

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is releasing its latest podcast episode, The Virtual Gramophone: Early Canadian Sound Recordings. LAC’s Virtual Gramophone is a multimedia website devoted to the early days of Canadian recorded sound, providing an overview of the 78-rpm era in Canada.

Gilles Leclerc, Archival Assistant, and Gilles St-Laurent, Head Audio Conservator from LAC join us to explore the Virtual Gramophone website and music collection. They discuss the different aspects of the collection and bring to light some incredible stories about maintaining the collection for future generations.

Subscribe to our podcast episodes using RSS or iTunes, or just tune in at: Podcast – Discover Library and Archives Canada: Your History, Your Documentary Heritage.

For more information, please contact us at podcasts@bac-lac.gc.ca

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!