York archivists host virtual class visit for international development students

Originally published in yFile: York University’s News.

The York University Libraries’ Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections (CTASC) hosted its first-ever virtual class visit on May 27 with Professor Miguel Gonzalez’s SOSC 3800 Development Studies Research Methods course, part of the International Development Studies program in the Department of Social Science.

For the past several years, Gonzalez brought his students to CTASC to learn about archives and archival research. For most students, this opportunity to handle and analyze archival records is the first time they have stepped foot in an archive. While redesigning the course to meet the realities of an online format, Gonzalez reached out to archivists Katrina Cohen-Palacios and Jennifer Grant to collaborate on a virtual alternative to his yearly class visit.

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Recently described acquisitions

The following archival records have recently been processed, described, and are now available for researcher access!

  • The Abbott Ferguson Productions Ltd. fonds documents the creative and business aspects of several radio and television shows, predominantly the Royal Canadian Air Farce comedy troupe which aired on CBC from 1973 to 2019.
  • The records of Professor Stephen Lyon Endicott whose research interests included Canadian labour and social history, Chinese history, biological warfare, and oral histories of Western airmen from the Korean War era.
  • The documents of mathematician Alexander Wittenberg which contains correspondence with leading scientists, mathematicians and education specialists from across Europe and North America.

Additional home movies have been added to the Home Made Visible collection, as well as, new material to the fonds of community activist and parliamentarian Jean Augustine, writer Judith Cowan, Senator Marilou McPhredran, playwright and scriptwriter Jason Sherman, and Professor Frank Zigrone.


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Crowdsourcing the transcription of digitized archival records

Increasingly, researchers who use primary source materials hope their research can be done remotely through the use of digitized copies of archival records.  However, simply providing access to these digital surrogates is not always enough to optimize their utility for research. Though optical character recognition (OCR) technologies, under ideal circumstances, can do fairly well to provide keyword access to modern typescript documents, the contents of digitized handwritten and non-standard archival records are generally not searchable without the creation of modern transcriptions, translations or tags. Transcribing digitized archival records is an incredibly time-consuming and resource-heavy activity that archivists do not have time to undertake. Consequently, crowdsourcing the transcription of these types of materials can be a great way to share the work, introduce people to an institution’s archival holdings, provide experience working with primary sources, and add research value to those digitized records. This work, along with the human labour that goes into the digitization of primary source documents in the first place, forms the foundation of many digital scholarship research projects. Continue reading

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Highlights from Special Collections: Revisiting Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha

In this blog post, CTASC practicum student Brian Omran discusses Japanese graphic novelist Osamu Tezuka and his multi-volume work, Buddha.

Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989) is renowned as one of the greatest graphic novel artists in the world. He earned the moniker “the Godfather of Manga”, referring to the Japanese style of cartoons and comics that he created. Famous for making breakthroughs with the medium in the 1950s, he helped manga gain tremendous popularity not only within Japan, but internationally as well. He created many award-winning graphic novels including Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, and Buddha. The Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections has the complete eight-volume set of Buddha, which tells the story of Gautama Buddha in illustrated form. The series was originally published between 1972 and 1983. American publishing company Vertical, specialists in bringing Japanese-language graphic novels to the North American market, issued these English-language translated volumes in both hardback and paperback between 2002 and 2007.

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Lieutenant Governor Ontario Heritage Awards celebrates IBPOC home movies

Originally published in yFile: York University’s News.

The Regent Park Film Festival (RPFF) Home Made Visible (HMV) project, in partnership with York University Libraries and Charles Street Video, was awarded the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation. The award was presented on Feb. 20.

The two-year project highlighted the personal histories of Indigenous, Black and people of colour (IBPOC) communities in Canadian public memory through engagement with archives, research, artistic creations and public programming. HMV aimed to preserve these histories, celebrate the joy captured in home movies, and explore how archives have the power to shape who we become and how we relate to one another. Continue reading

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Celebrating Black History Month – Beverley Salmon

Written by Brian Omran, Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections practicum student

The Clara Thomas Archives holds a number of fonds that document the lives of Black Canadians. In this last week of Black History Month, we’re highlighting the work of Toronto politician and activist Beverley Salmon. Continue reading

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