Dalhousie Libraries’ University Archives launches new archives catalogue



Dalhousie Libraries’ University Archives has released a new online research tool that provides information about a trove of historical records, photographs and other archival materials available to the university community and the general public.

In January 2011, the Archives initiated a project to develop an online catalogue hosted by the Dal Libraries. The result, launched officially in January 2015, is a sleek interface that allows researchers to search over 150,000 descriptions of files and items in the collections.

Michael Moosberger, Dalhousie University Archivist and Associate University Librarian for Research and Scholarly Communications, oversees the operations that manage and provide access to the collections. “We’ve come a long way from the paper-based collection listings and static web pages that were the primary way users discovered what was in our holdings. With our new online catalogue a user can type in any subject or keyword and find what records we have related to the topic, regardless of the collection with which the records are associated,” says Moosberger. The Dalhousie Libraries’ University Archives also holds records of Dalhousie University dating back to its earliest days: “Our new catalogue will also provide easier and faster access to the historical records of the University, which will be in greater demand as we get closer to 2018—Dalhousie’s 200th anniversary. The catalogue allows us to link digitized copies of a record, document or publication directly with the descriptive information in the database, providing users with ‘one-stop shopping’ for some of their research queries,” adds Moosberger.

Already, the Archives has digitized university yearbooks, calendars and the entire archive of Dalhousie Gazette, one of North America’s oldest student newspapers.

Staff at the Archives still have their work cut out—there are hundreds of thousands of uncatalogued documents, photographs, videos and other materials.

“The catalogue covers less than half of our total holdings. There are thousands of boxes of unprocessed records to sort through and describe before they can be made available to the public,” says Creighton Barrett, Dalhousie Libraries Digital Archivist. Simply cataloguing these materials is no longer enough: “Our users want online access to entire collections. This catalogue is an important step in that direction,” says Barrett.

Uncatalogued collections include the archives of important Nova Scotia businesses such as Robb Engineering and the personal archives of prominent researchers affiliated with Dalhousie, such as world-renowned oceans scientist Ransom Myers and civil engineer George Meyerhof.

The catalogue is built with an open-source program called Access to Memory (AtoM), developed by Artefactual Systems, a Vancouver-based archival software development company. New information will be added to the online catalogue on a regular basis as the Archives acquires new material.

For more information about the Archive’s collections and services, visit the Dalhousie Libraries’ University Archives website (http://dal.ca/archives).  The catalogue can be found online at: http://findingaids.library.dal.ca.

Third Printing of “West Novas: A History of the West Nova Scotia Regiment”


Michael Moosberger with members of the West Nova Scotia Regiment 


On January 9, Dalhousie had the honour of hosting members of the West Nova Scotia Regiment in the Archives and Special Collections Reading Room at the Killam.

The Regiment’s Honorary Colonel, The Honourable John Leefe, Honorary Lieutenant Colonel, Eric Meisner, Lieutenant Colonel Todd Harris, Commanding Officer of the Regiment, Regimental Sergeant Major, Chief Warrant Officer Richard Mills, Colonel (Ret’d) Ron Stonier and Sergeant (Ret’d) Garry Randall were on hand to present Michael Moosberger (Dalhousie University Archivist and Associate University Librarian for Research & Scholarly Communication) with a signed copy of the third printing of Thomas Raddall’s “West Novas: A History of the West Nova Scotia Regiment.”

Some background on Thomas Raddall . . . 

Born at Hythe, Kent, on November 13, 1903, Thomas Head Raddall was the son of British Army Officer Thomas Head Raddall and Ellen (née Gifford) Raddall. At the time, the family lived in the married quarters of the School of Musketry where Thomas’ father taught. In 1909 his parents enrolled him in St. Leonard’s Primary School for boys in Hythe. He continued there until 1913, when his family moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in order for his father to assume a training position in the Canadian Militia.  A little over a year after the family’s move, Raddall’s father joined the war effort. Acting Lieutenant Colonel Raddall, D. S. O., of the Winnipeg Rifles, was killed in action in August 1918 at Amiens.

Over his forty year writing career, Raddall published twenty five books, dozens of articles on a wide variety of subjects, more than seventy short stories, and an autobiography; made radio and television appearances; became increasingly called upon as a guest speaker by various historical and literary societies; and was asked to become Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia (1968), an offer he declined. He first received national recognition in 1944 when “The Pied Piper of Dipper Creek and Other Stories” received the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. He subsequently won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-fiction in 1948 for Halifax, “Warden of the North” (1948) and again in 1957 for “The Path of Destiny” (1957).

Thomas was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1953 and two years later received the Society’s Lorne Pierce Medal “for distinguished service to Canadian literature.” He was also made an Officer of the Order of Canada (1971) and received honorary doctorates from Dalhousie (1949), Saint Mary’s (1969), University of King’s College (Halifax; 1972), and Saint Francis Xavier (1973).

In 1973, Dalhousie University Archivist, Charles Armour, approached Raddall about the possible donation of his papers to the University.  He was obviously amenable to the idea, with the first transfer of his working papers, correspondence, personal narratives, research notes, souvenirs, unpublished writings, photographs, and miscellaneous printed items taking place in the fall of 1973.

The second transfer, which included his diaries, complete memoirs, and more photographs, arrived during the summer of 1994, shortly after his death.

As part of his last will and testament, Raddall also transferred to the University all the intellectual property rights to both his published and unpublished works, a bequest that has allowed the University to administer the rights to his books and other published works and grant permission for the re-publication of any work deemed appropriate by the University.

In April of 2014, Michael Moosberger received an e-mail from Lt. Colonel Todd Harris enquiring into the possibility of receiving permission from the University for a limited edition third printing of Raddall’s “West Novas: A History of the West Nova Scotia Regiment.”  He indicated that a small group of serving and former members of the West Nova Scotia Regiment were interested in funding the project. The University enthusiastically granted the Regimental members permission to proceed with the project and offered whatever assistance was needed.

It is thrilling to see the culmination of this work. “This event showed the type of community involvement and collaboration that we have always tried to encourage in the Dalhousie University Archives,” says Michael Moosberger.  “It promotes and strengthens the value and importance of preserving our documentary and publishing heritage while bringing the past to life for current and future generations.”

A copy of the book will be added  to the Raddall Collection.


GISciences Centre’s Lunchless Learn Series, Winter 2015

GIS lunchless learns


The GIS Centre’s Lunchless Learn Series is back for the winter term! These are hands-on tutorials, held around lunchtime, open to all on campus (without the food).

A GIS, or Geographic Information System, is “a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, integrating, manipulating, analyzing and displaying data relating to positions on earth’s surface.” In other words, it’s an easy and fun way to look at the world differently.

This series gives people a taste of what GIS is and how it can be used. We are offering the same session at different times and locations, so choose the one that fits your schedule best. These sessions are meant to be self-contained; after the intro session–take only the topics that are of interest to you.

Due to the high level of interest in these sessions, we ask you to sign up for each session. To sign up, contact gis@dal.ca

Intro – First Encounters of the GIS Kind
Thurs., Jan. 22/11:30 a.m.-1:00p.m.     Room G70, Killam Library, Studley Campus

Census – Count Yourself In!
Tues., Jan.27/noon–1:30 p.m.                Room C300, C Building, Sexton Campus 
Thurs., Feb.5/11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.      Room G70, Killam Library, Studley Campus

Georeferencing/Geocoding – Where am I?
Tues., Feb.10/noon–1:30 p.m.                Room C300, C Building, Sexton Campus
Thurs., Feb. 26/11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.  Room G70, Killam Library, Studley Campus

ArcOnline – GIS that’s in the Cloud(s)
Tues., Mar. 3/noon–1:30 p.m.                  Room C300, C Building, Sexton Campus
Thurs., Mar. 12/11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.   Room G70, Killam Library, Studley Campus

And don’t forget, the GISciences Centre is located on the second floor of the Killam Library.

Academic Term Hours for the Dalhousie Libraries, winter 2015

ac hours2

Welcome back from the holiday break! The five Dalhousie Libraries are getting back into the swing with our academic term hours. Check each location for specific hours and the start date.

Killam Memorial Library

Effective Monday, January 5

Monday–Friday: 8 a.m.–midnight
Saturday & Sunday:10 a.m.–midnight

Open from 1–8:45 p.m. on the following holidays:
Munro Day (Friday, February 6)
Viola Desmond Day (Monday, February 16)
Good Friday (Friday, April 3)

MacRae Library

Effective Monday, January 5

Monday–Thursday: 8:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m.
Friday: 8:30 a.m.–6 p.m.
Saturday: noon–5 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m.–10:30 p.m.

Holiday hours
Viola Desmond Day, Monday, February 16: CLOSED
Good Friday, April 3: noon–midnight
Easter Monday, April 6: 10 a.m.–midnight

Sexton Design & Technology Library 

Effective Friday, January 2

Monday–Thursday: 8 a.m.–midnight
Friday: 8 a.m.–9 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m.–midnight

Sir James Dunn Law Library

Effective Monday, January 5

Monday–Wednesday: 8 a.m.–10:45 p.m.
Thursday: 8 a.m.–8 p.m.
Friday: 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
Saturday: noon–6 p.m.
Sunday: noon–10:45 p.m.

Holiday hours
Munro Day (Friday, February 6) 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

W.K. Kellogg Health Sciences Library

Effective Saturday, January 3

Monday–Thursday:  7:30 a.m.*–11 p.m.
Friday: 7:30 a.m.*–7 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m.–11 p.m.

* Note: Circulation opens at 8 a.m. Mon.–Fri



Author reading with William Kowalski

William Kowalsk 72

When: Wednesday, January 14 at 4:30 p.m.
Where: Special Collections & Archives Reading Room, fifth floor, Killam Library

William Kowalski is a writer and an independent publisher. He has written five works of literary fiction: Eddie’s Bastard (1999), Somewhere South of Here (2001), The Adventures of Flash Jackson (2003), The Good Neighbor (2004) and The Hundred Hearts (2013). In September 2014, William won the Thomas H. Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award for The Hundred Hearts, which he will read from on January 14.

hundred hearts 72

Reviews for The Hundred Hearts:

“This searing novel manages to be a portrayal, both pitilessly accurate and strangely tender, of the toll of battle on soldiers and their families.” — The Globe and Mail

“Timely, beautifully written, and memorable.” — Owen Sound Sun Times

Don’t miss this chance to see William Kowalski in person as he reads from The Hundred Hearts.

 This public reading is sponsored by the Canadian Literary Collections Project.




New Database Subscription: Scopus



The Dalhousie Libraries now subscribe to Scopus, a large abstract and citation database of journals, books, and conference proceedings with strong Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medical content.  Humanities and Social Science content is also indexed in Scopus. Faculty members and students in the Faculty of Agriculture will be familiar with this database from before the merger. Halifax-based university community members may have used Scopus during a 2011-2012 trial.

Scopus offers a wide range of search, discover, and analytics tools. In particular, Scopus provides tools to assist researchers in tracking various impact factors. If you’d like to get started using Scopus, a short video overview of the main functions is available.

Scopus is available on and off campus if you have a valid Dalhousie Net Id and password.

Esri Canada GIS Scholarship

Through the Esri Canada GIS Scholarships program, Esri Canada is proud to recognize students at Canadian post-secondary institutions who are involved in projects. The scholarships are provided through schools, Dalhousie being one of 50 schools across the country, that demonstrate strong, multidisciplinary GIS courses and programs. This scholarship provides recipients with great networking opportunities, funding and access to extensive GIS resources including Esri ARCGIS software, books and training to develop their GIS skills and knowledge.

The deadline to apply is 4 p.m. on Monday, January 26, 2015.

For more information: ESRI Scholarship


Holiday Hours for the Dalhousie Libraries 2014

holiday hours sized for blog


Killam Memorial Library*

Sunday, December 14: 8 a.m.–midnight
Monday, December 15–Friday, December 19: 8 a.m.–6 p.m.
Saturday, December 20 & Sunday, December 21: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Monday, December 22 & Tuesday, December 23: 8 a.m.–6 p.m.
Wednesday, December 24: 8 a.m.–noon
Thursday, December 25–Saturday, December 27: Closed
Sunday, December 28 & Monday, December 29: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Tuesday, December 30–Thursday, January 1: Closed
Friday, January 2: 8 a.m.–6 p.m.
Saturday January 3 & Sunday, January 4: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Monday, January 5: Regular hours resume

*Please note: Access to GISciences Centre, Archives, and Special Collections is unavailable from December 25–January 1.

MacRae Library

Thursday, December 11 & Friday, December 12: 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 13 & Sunday, December 14: CLOSED
Monday, December 15–Friday, December 19: 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 20 & Sunday, December 21: CLOSED
Monday, December 22 & Tuesday, December 23: 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, December 24: 8:30 a.m.–noon
Thursday, December 25–Thursday, January 1: CLOSED
Friday, January 2: 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Saturday, January 3 & Sunday, January 4: CLOSED
Monday, January 5: Regular hours resume

Sexton Design & Technology Library

Monday, December 15–Friday, December 19: 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
Saturday, December 20 & Sunday, December 21: CLOSED
Monday, December 22 & Tuesday, December 23: 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
Wednesday, December 24: 8 a.m.–noon
Thursday, December 25–Thursday, January 1: CLOSED
Friday, January 2: Regular hours resume


Sir James Dunn Law Library

Friday, December 19: 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
Saturday, December 20 & Sunday, December 21: CLOSED
Monday, December 22: 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
Tuesday, December 23: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Wednesday, December 24: 8 a.m.–noon
Thursday, December 25–Thursday, January 1: CLOSED
Friday, January 2: 8 a.m.–4 p.m.
Saturday, January 3 & Sunday, January 4: CLOSED
Monday, January 5: Regular hours resume


W. K. Kellogg Health Sciences Library

Wednesday, December 17–Friday, December 19: 8 a.m.–6 p.m.
Saturday, December 20 & Sunday, December 21: CLOSED
Monday, December 22 & Tuesday, December 23: 8 a.m.–6 p.m.
Wednesday, December 24: 8 a.m.–noon
Thursday, December 25–Thursday, January 1: CLOSED
Friday, January 2: ​8 a.m.–6 p.m.
Saturday, January 3: Regular hours resume


Building a Book Tree or, How and Why Libraries Weed Their Collections

book tree3

This December, we decided to bring a little festive cheer to the grey lobby of the Killam Memorial Library by building a holiday tree out of old bound journals which had previously been withdrawn from the collection. Since then, we’ve had questions about how we decide to remove (or “weed”) items from the collection, a necessary practice in every library but not one that any librarian undertakes lightly.

The bound journal volumes we used to build the tree in the Killam lobby were originally withdrawn from the Novanet catalogue and moved into basement storage seven years ago when the library underwent an A to Z move. To improve access and simplify the Killam Library’s physical organization, thousands of volumes were shifted so that books and journals could be arranged in call number order instead of having the science and humanities collections stored on different floors. At that time, some of our librarians identified runs of journals that were duplicated by electronic versions on stable platforms such as JSTOR and in archival packages purchased to provide perpetual access to the content. We created room for new purchases by moving duplicated content into storage.

Before the journals went into storage, they were offered to faculty and members of the local community. Volumes people expressed an interest in were set aside for them to pick up, but many of these bound journals remained with us. Since 2007–2008, the Dal Libraries, in consultation with Dal’s Office of Sustainability, have explored environmentally sound ways of handling the remainder of these now unwanted volumes. Some were used to insulate the Blockhouse School on the South Shore. theblockhouseschool.org

Our basement storage is currently full with a combination of withdrawn materials and holdings we want to keep. We have no offsite storage facilities to store extra volumes. We are working with our Novanet partners to explore the development of an off-site repository, similar to the Downsview Repository operated by the University of Toronto: http://onesearch.library.utoronto.ca/downsview  Even if we do develop a repository, there will only be room for material which is unique, worth preserving, and not available electronically.

As part of this summer’s move of the Music collection to the first floor of the Killam, we have shifted some items into the basement including government documents, some microfilm, all microfiche and microcards, and some print indices. As well, the basement storage contains rarely used print journals that are not available electronically: these can be retrieved by placing a request at the Killam Library Service Point. In anticipation of the upcoming move of the Kellogg Health Sciences Library, some older health sciences materials are also stored in the Killam’s basement.

Periodically, we are asked why we haven’t donated these bound journals to organizations that collect books for countries or regions in need. Our old bound journals used to build the book tree do not meet the criteria of what many of these organizations need. It costs 50 cents to ship just one book to Africa, so these organizations must be specific about what they can accept. For example, the organization Books for Africa lists the following criteria for acceptable donated items:

  • popular fiction and nonfiction reading books (soft and hard cover).
  • books that are 15 years old or newer.
  • primary, secondary, and college textbooks (soft and hard cover) with a 1998 or newer publish date.
  • reference books such as encyclopedias and dictionaries published in 2003 or later.
  • medical, nursing, IT, and law books with a 1998 or newer publish date.
  • some Bibles or religious books, please place them in a box separate from other donations and mark the box as “Religious texts.” Bibles are sent only when requested by African recipients.
    Source: https://www.booksforafrica.org/donate/donate-books.html

While the Dal Libraries no longer need the particular volumes we used in our book tree, we would be happy to see them go to new homes if people want them. Community members are welcome to join us on January 5 to help take down the tree and redistribute the volumes (the books themselves weren’t harmed in the building of the tree, they have simply been stacked on top of one another). If no one is interested in these volumes, we will pack them up again and save them to build another tree next year.

For more information about how and why libraries weed their collections, blogger Joe Hardenbrook, who regularly blogs about libraries, technology, and teaching, has an excellent list on his Mr. Library Dude blog. Mr. Hardenbrook works as a reference and instruction librarian at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin where he manages reference and instructional services, teaches information literacy sessions, and serves as a liaison to the education, psychology, and diversity programs. Here’s what he has to say about why academic libraries weed:

Why Do We Weed?

  • To remove books that are not being used
  • To remove books with outdated or obsolete information/philosophies (that have no historical use)
  • To identify books that are damaged or in poor condition
  • To identify gaps in the collection and make new purchases
  • To align the collection with the university’s goals, mission, and curriculum
  • Limited space for the collection

It boils down to this: Weeding is simply the selection process in reverse. Librarians, using their knowledge, institutional interests, and professional tools, decide which books to purchase. We use that same skill set to decide what books to withdraw.

Libraries are Not Warehouses
For most academic libraries, our mission is not to collect the whole of human knowledge. We have limited space, limited resources. We are not a warehouse for books–a warehouse is a storage facility. Books are for using–not for sitting on a shelf for years on end.
Source: http://mrlibrarydude.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/why-we-weed-book-deselection-in-academic-libraries/

Finally, for more information on the subject of weeding, here are some excellent links on the topic:


Some Library Services Are Down

affected services

We are currently experiencing problems with some of our library services. We are investigating the issue and will resolve it as soon as possible.

Affected services are:

Please check  http://status.dal.ca for updates. We apologize for the inconvenience.

UPDATE, 11:55 a.m.: The issues have been resolved. Thanks for your patience.