From Dal News (read the full article here). Featuring Alice Albarda (MLIS ’17) and Creighton Barrett (SIM lecturer and Digital Archivist). We are thankful to the Dalhouse Archives for providing our students with valuable experiential learning opportunities.
You can also read this post by Alice to learn more about her various Dal Archives projects:
“We started working on the anniversary [seven years ago], and it still wasn’t long enough,” says Moosberger, associate university librarian for archives, special collections and records management. “Our goal was to have the core bodies of university information accessible online before the anniversary… we’ve achieved a lot — we have all the Dal Gazettes and large body of calendars and yearbooks — but not all.”
They may not have gotten it all digitized, but from photographs and videos to yearbooks and letters, the Archives team with the University Libraries has worked hard to make sure that many, many documents of Dalhousie’s rich history are available to help celebrate its anniversary.
Learn more: Dalhousie Archives website
Moosberger has over 34 years of experience as an archivist, and took his first position with Dalhousie back in 2000. He feels Dal’s 200th anniversary milestone is a great opportunity to highlight all the historical resources the Dal Archives has in its holdings, and to grow awareness of the importance of preserving Dalhousie University’s history going forward.
“The Dal Archives were only established in the 1970s; prior to then, the preservation of university materials was very haphazard ,” he explains. “Many items from the early 1800s just haven’t survived. There are also gaps related to various academic and administrative units of the university — we have records from central administration but we don’t have complete bodies of records from all the faculties.”
A team effort
The Archives team is comprised of two professionals — Michael Moosberger and Creighton Barrett (digital archivist) — as well as six assistants. As the team lead, Moosberger sets the direction of his team and allocates budgets towards current or future projects.
“I really must emphasize this isn’t about me,” says Moosberger. “The staff we have here are very knowledgeable and committed , a lot of the stuff we’ve accomplished would not have been achieved without them.”
Dal Archives have acquired over seven kilometers of printed items during the last 50 years. To put that in perspective: it would be like having an item for every step from the Dalhousie Student Union Building all the way to Lake Banook in Dartmouth.
“This is the challenge we face with over seven kilometres of holdings: knowing all our treasures, discovering them and then re-discovering them. It’s really exciting on a day-to-day basis.”
As result of this large number of items, contract staff were hired specifically to assist with special Dal 200 projects such as the online timeline “A Year of Dalhousie History,” which features events, historical photographs and other materials daily throughout 2018.
Then there is the Dalhousie Originals project, where the Archives contributed files and photographs for the 52 individuals highlighted throughout the year.
“If you wanted a ball park of how many hours were spent digging through old files for Dal 200 projects, it would probably be equivalent to having three full-time staff members working for the last three years,” explains Moosberger.
[photo: Alice Albarda]