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EMu and Archives. Experiences from the Canada Science and Technology Museum Corporation. Goals. Share our experiences in managing archival collections with EMu Identify items of potential common interest Discuss and learn from others in the EMu community. Overview.

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emu and archives

EMu and Archives

Experiences from the Canada Science and Technology Museum Corporation

  • Share our experiences in managing archival collections with EMu
  • Identify items of potential common interest
  • Discuss and learn from others in the EMu community
  • Archival Collections at CSTMC
  • What is an archive?
  • Using EMu to manage archives
  • Challenges and lessons learned
archival access projects
Archival access projects
  • Several photographic collections digitized for public access
  • Popular Web site features
  • Earlier initiatives stored in MS Access databases
  • Current initiative using data in KE EMu
what is an archive
What is an archive?
  • Archival records are the products of everyday activity
  • Archives are the non-current records of individuals, groups, institutions, and governments
  • Formats may include photographs, films, video, sound recordings, computer tapes, unpublished letters, diaries, and other manuscripts
  • Each archival object exists as part of a group
why are archives important
Why are archives important?
  • Researchers use them both for their administrative value and for purposes other than those for which they were created
  • Used for many different reasons
  • Open to the ingenuity of the researcher
how does an archive differ from other collections
How does an archive differ from other collections?
  • Library collections consist mainly of distinct published works
  • Museum artifact collections are generally distinct, “3-D” objects
  • Archival collections are unique groupings of material in the context in which they were produced
  • With an archival collection, the sum is greater than the parts
cstmc s archives in emu
CSTMC’s Archives in EMu

Catalogue disciplines:




Engineering Drawing


Trade Literature

archives discipline
Archives discipline
  • Hierarchical
  • Arranged respecting the original structure of the fonds or collection
  • Modeled on Rules for Archival Description (RAD)
  • Allows us to catalogue as deep as resources allow
  • Can account for a wide range of materials
other disciplines that manage archival collections
Other disciplines that manage archival collections
  • Photographs, Engineering Drawings, Trade Literature
  • Structure is flat (no hierarchy)
  • While many are photos, may accommodate other types of media
flat in structure
Flat in structure…


















three archival initiatives at cstmc
Three archival initiatives at CSTMC
  • Digitizing and presenting historic image collections (mainly photographs) for public access
  • Documenting and cataloguing archival collections as a whole
  • Capturing institutional memory
1 historic image collections for public access
1. Historic image collections for public access
  • Current initiative is using our "photograph" discipline in the Catalogue
  • This is one of our “flat” archival disciplines
  • Objective is to make collections available to a wide audience, not to fully document the archival collections in question
2 documenting and cataloguing archival collections as a whole
2. Documenting and cataloguing archival collections as a whole
  • Hierarchical (based on RAD)
  • May go in-depth, or stay at the top level for now
  • Intended to allow us to go to the level of detail we can manage, given resources
  • Make existing finding aids (documents) available and searchable as multimedia attachments
institutional memory where to catalogue
Institutional memory: where to catalogue?

(a) photograph discipline (flat)

(b) in archives discipline (hierarchical)

(c) multimedia attachments in events module

(d) somewhere else?

access control
Access control
  • Often have volunteers and short-term staff involved in cataloguing projects
  • Such staff are not EMu experts – we need to carefully manage what they are able to edit
  • Record level access should help
limitations in our implementation
Limitations in our implementation
  • Search limitations of our Archival hierarchy
  • For example, may be difficult to search for all objects in a Fonds, given our structure
  • May need to adjust implementation
subject terminology
Subject terminology
  • Multiple sets of terminology – no universal controlled vocabulary
  • New archival cataloguing is loosely based on Library of Congress
  • Cataloguing by volunteers is a challenge (they know the material, but are not cataloguers)
digital asset management
Digital Asset Management
  • Many reasons to digitize
  • Born digital vs. digitized
  • Digital preservation
  • Capturing and managing metadata
  • Managing licensing and commercial use
  • Is EMu the best repository?
  • Noted that other EMu Users are also working in this area
  • Rules for Archival Description (RAD)http://www.cdncouncilarchives.ca/archdesrules.html
  • “Basic RAD”http://scaa.usask.ca/rad/
  • Society of American Archivistshttp://www.archivists.org

Brian Dawson

Director, Informatics Services

Canada Science and Technology Museum Corporation

Ottawa, Ontario

Phone: (613) 991-1340

E-mail: bdawson@technomuses.ca

Web: http://technomuses.ca