Frequently Asked Questions
Here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions. If your question is not listed, please feel free to contact me!
What can CANB do for me?
CANB provides advice to member institutions on any and all aspects of archival work – setting up an archives, moving an archives, training new volunteers and staff, working on projects, gaining intellectual control of your holdings, preserving your holdings, creating emergency plans, performing a global assessment, and more. Archives Advisor Melissa McCarthy and Preservation Advisor Dean Lund are available to travel to your archives – for free! Education and training events are planned each year, with at least one held in conjunction with annual general meeting, usually held in April.
How do I become a member?
Fill out our membership form and send a cheque for $35.00. This fee covers the fiscal year from April 1 to March 31, and covers all of our services.
What can I do for CANB?
We are always looking for new Executive Committee members. The average commitment is about an hour a month, plus three full-day meetings a year. If you are interested, please contact our president, Joanna Aiton.
- Paper documents
- Unpublished audio material (cassette tapes, vinyl records, reel-to-reel, etc.)
- Unpublished video material (VHS tapes, DVDs, etc.)
- Electronic material (digital photographs, MS Office documents, MP3s, etc.)
- Scrapbooks including published material (e.g. scrapbooks of newspaper clippings)
Which materials are not usually considered to be archival?
- Published material (books, published audio and video material, published electronic records)
What should I do with my collections of published material?
Many institutions choose to treat collections of published ephemera (pamphlets, cards, etc.) as special collections material – in effect, as archival – or to treat them as archival when such material is part of a person’s or group’s records. Books may be organized and stored as library items rather than as archival items.
What should I do with my collections of local newspapers?
Please check with the Provincial Archives to see if good quality microfilm copies exist. If so, you do not need to try to preserve them. It is very difficult to preserve newsprint, which is on highly acidic and poor-quality paper. It may make sense for your institution to rely on the microfilm copy.
So does the format make something archival and does everything archival need to be saved?
Archival has more to do with being unique and containing informational, evidential, or intrinsic value. Determining these values and deciding what should be preserved are important parts of “doing” archives work. No matter what size of institution you are involved with and how small your holdings are currently, you won’t be able to keep everything. Being able to draw upon the experience of others to gain these skills is an important part of what can be gained from being involved with CANB.
How old must items be to be considered archival?
There is no time limit; archives run from the beginning of recorded history until yesterday. You would be surprised how quickly people’s memories of the recent past fade.
Which software should I use for my archival descriptions?
Any database will work for storing archival descriptions as long as you can set the fields to reflect the standard ways to describe fonds and collections. We strongly recommend against using spreadsheets (e.g. Microsoft Excel).
How can we let people know what our archives has?
There are a few options, including putting your descriptions on your website, but the way to make the holdings most widely accessible is through Archives Canada.
We contribute to CHIN for our museum items. Is it the same process to contribute to Archives Canada?
In addition to the description fields being different, there are two important differences between CHIN and Archives Canada. CHIN stresses the item while Archives Canada requires collection or fonds level descriptions. Secondly, all descriptions going to Archives Canada need to be sent through CANB.
What is a fonds?
A fonds is all of the records created, used and accumulated by a single organization, individual or juridical person during the transaction of daily business. All archival records are organized by fonds.
What funding is available through CANB?
CANB generally offers two funding programs each year. The National Archival Development Program (NADP) is usually announced in the fall with an application deadline in January. This is a federal funding program run by the Canadian Council of Archives. The CANB-New Brunswick Provincial Grant is usually announced in spring. This is a provincial funding program run by CANB through funding from the Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport. Both programs are competitive processes, so undertaking an application requires a thorough knowledge of archival processes.
Can CANB help me write my project application?
Yes. Contact the Archives Advisor for help. If your project relates to preservation, please contact the Preservation Advisor. Assistance can include formal training sessions, planned at the time you write your application, as well as answering questions that come up in the course of working on the project itself.
Why was my application rejected?
Reasons for not funding an application are supplied to applicants. Both programs are routinely oversubscribed – we receive requests for more money than we have to give. Projects are therefore evaluated and ranked on merit, with the highest-scoring projects being funded. It may be that other applications made a stronger case for the funding or better met the criteria. You are welcome to re-submit your proposal next year, but you may wish to contact the Archives Advisor to discuss the reasons it didn’t succeed and review how it could be improved and what you can do until the next deadline to put your archives in a stronger position to apply.
What should I do if I can’t finish my project on time?
If there is any indication that you cannot finish a project, you should immediately contact CANB (and, for an NADP project, CCA). CANB will sometimes be able to give you an extension; CCA cannot give extensions. If the project cannot be completed by the deadline, you will have to return the unused money. Failure to complete a project, report on its completion, or return funds makes an institution ineligible for future funding.