Thursday, May 31, 2012

Elimination of the National Archival Development Program


On April 30, 2012, Library and Archives Canada announced the elimination of the National Archival Development Program (NADP) which has collapsed the Canadian Council of Archives (CCA).  NADP is a grant program which assists archival institutions across Canada to make archives accessible to the public, to digitize archival collections, to train and employ young professionals, to increase representation of underrepresented groups in holdings and to assist with preservation of archives.
The CCA was founded in 1985 and is unique in that it works with individual Provincial and Territorial councils of archives to identify common needs and long-term goals, then presents the results in a single, unified voice. This way, a collective harmonization of efforts reduces the need to repeat processes that have already been developed. The elimination of NADP is a detriment to archival institutions across Canada.

The Musée Héritage Museum archives’ goal is to acquire, preserve and make archival holdings available to the public.  Our archives hold the documentary heritage of St. Albert and are to be shared with anyone interested in St. Albert’s history.  Without NADP in St. Albert, public access to our archival holdings will be more difficult as much of this work has been done through the federal grant.  In the past, NADP funding has helped us in many areas, including:

-       Preservation Management: Preservation involves a variety of techniques to ensure our archives last for as long as possible so future generations can use them.  In 2005, we had a preservation assessment done by an archives conservation expert. This report let us know what we are doing well and what needs improvement with regards to preservation. 
-       Archival Digitization Project:  For this project in 2006, we digitized photographs in the holdings relating to Métis history in order to represent communities that are currently underrepresented in archives.  These photographs were placed online on the Archives Society of Alberta’s database.
-       Magnetic Media Project: In 2008 we ordered supplies in order to preserve our oral histories.
-       Photographs of Aboriginal Life in the early 20th Century: In 2009 we described, digitized, preserved and placed online photographs of residential schools from Alberta and Saskatchewan.  The project involved aboriginal communities as they helped us identify the content of the photographs.  We digitized negatives and made photographic prints which were returned to their respective communities.  We established relationships with various First Nations communities who were saddened to recall their sufferings at residential schools yet elated to receive photographs of their families.  These photographs can currently be viewed on the Archives Society of Alberta’s database.
-       St. Albert Historical Society Photography Project: In 2011, we processed over 1000 photographs and digitized over 800.  The photographs cover a large range of St. Albert’s history.  The project allowed us to make photographs available online via the Archives Society of Alberta’s database.

 
From the Photographs of Aboriginal Life in the early 20th Century project - Children in front of Le Goff, Cold Lake school, Alberta, 1920s - 1930s. 
From St. Albert Historical Society Photography Project - George Hodgson family, [187- - 1900].



To learn more about how NADP has supported archival institutions across Canada and how you can help, see http://archiviststrek2012.tumblr.com/.

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