Postcard, potatoes, uncatalogued document, n.d. - University of Saskatchewan Archives

CCA - The Advisors' Toolkit

Advisors' Reference List: an annotated bibiography of most useful resources


The following list is arranged in alphabetical order under broad main headings. It is not exhaustive but meant for sharing practical & proven resources. Comments were provided by members of the CCA Archives Advisory Services Working Group.


Archives Management

1.      The ANLA Resource Binder for Small Archives. St. John’s, NL: Association of Newfoundland and Labrador Archives, c1998.

Written as a series of workshops, it provides introductory information on the main functions of archives. In addition, it contains short articles on RAD fonds and series descriptions for textual records, monetary appraisal (by Carman Carroll) and “Managing Your Congregation’s Records” (by Jean Dryden).

2.      The Archival Trail (VHS, 21 minutes). Kingston: Ontario Council of Archives, 1990.

Somewhat dated (pre-dates Rules for Archival Description and the Internet), this video describes the basic archival functions and presents the legal and cultural roles that an archival program can serve in a municipal, corporate and not-for-profit setting. Originally created in VHS format, it is also available by request from the Archives Association of Ontario as a DVD (as of 2007).

3.      The Archives: More Than A Holding Operation (VHS, 13 minutes). Vancouver: United Church of Canada British Columbia Conference Archives, 1990.

Hosted by Conference Archivist Bob Stewart, this humorous video was designed to educate church members on the role played by the Conference Archives within the United Church of Canada. Originally created in VHS format, it is now available online at http://

4.      Archives: The Inside Story (VHS, 17 minutes). Winnipeg: Association for Manitoba Archives, 1988.

Somewhat dated (pre-dates Rules for Archival Description and the Internet), this video introduces the role of archives in society, the uses of archival records by different researchers, and the research process in an archival setting.

5.      Archives Tutorial. Edmonton: Archives Society of Alberta, 2004.

This Flash website provides a behind-the-scenes tour of an archival institution (including reference room, processing areas, and stacks) as well as essays on archival practice, frequently asked questions, and commentaries by researchers on how they use archival records. The URL is

6.      Archivist’s Toolkit. Archives Association of British Columbia website, accessed October 11, 2007.

Free access to digital resources on the Internet about managing small to medium size archives. Organized by archival function, includes automation, electronic records, starting an archives. Provides links to general resources, sample policies and forms, case studies, and publications.

7.      A Day in the Life of the Archivist (DVD, 24 minutes). Ottawa: Anglican Diocese of Ottawa, 2006.

Created primarily to raise awareness of the role of the archival program within the church, this DVD takes a light-hearted look at the role of the archival program within the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa.

8.      Ellis, Judith, editor. Keeping Archives. 2nd ed. Port Melbourne, Australia: D.W. Thorpe and Australian Society of Archivists, c1993, 2002.

Addresses principles and practices of managing archives programs. The first chapter is a good introduction for students/volunteers to the value and nature of archives. Australian focus. Index included.

9.      Guidelines for Archives in New Brunswick. Fredericton, NB: Council of Archives New Brunswick, 2006.

This guide was prepared to provide "a standard set of operational objectives and practices" to archives (including governance, acquisition, arrangement, description, preservation, access and awareness). This small guide of 28 pages is well written and could be a great tool for smaller archives or newly established archives. Not available online. You can order the book from CANB through the Provincial Archives.

10.    Institutional Standards Committee. Sustainable Archives: Self-study guide for institutional membership. Port Coquitlam, BC: Archives Association of British Columbia, 2002. Accessed April 14, 2015.

This self-evaluation tool outlines standards for institutional membership in AABC, lists questions to assess if an archives meets that standard, and provides space to jot down ideas for improvement. Available as a pdf document.

11.    A Manual for Small Archives. Vancouver, BC: Archives Association of British Columbia, 1988, rev. 1994.

A little dated now since Chapter 5 on Describing Archival Material includes references to the older versions of RAD, but still useful for explaining acquisition process at introductory level. Especially helpful is the Chapter 3 “Bringing Material Into Your Archives: Acquiring, Appraising, and Accessioning”. Please note that this Manual is only available online from the AABC’s web site at

12.    Stunden, Nancy. Minimum Standards for Archives: a self study.  Winnipeg, MB: Association for Manitoba Archives, 1992.

This tool for self-assessment gives basic elements required for setting up an archives, a list of questions to evaluate current policies and procedures, and suggestions for improvement. Available in html and pdf documents. Note: the pdf document has blurred text.

13.    Couture, Carol et collaborateurs. Les fonctions de l'archivistique contemporaine. Sainte-Foy, QC : Presses de l'Université du Québec, 1999, 559 p. (Collection Gestion de l'information).

A copy can be purchased online at this address:

This publication is considered to be the work of reference in archives in Québec. It was written under the direction of Carol Couture, conservator and director general of the archives branch at Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. Containing nine chapters written by archivists, the publication covers all concerning the management of archival records through the tasks undertaken by the archivists.

14.    Gagnon-Arguin, Louise, Jacques Grimard et collaborateurs. La gestion d’un centre d’archives. Mélanges en l’honneur de Robert Garon. Sainte-Foy, QC : Presses de l'Université du Québec, 2003, 360 p. (Collection Gestion de l'information).

A copy can be purchased online at this address:

This publication attempts to answer a fundamental question: how can we adapt the principles of management to the archival discipline? The text approaches theoretical principles as well as practical ways for the management for an archival repository around themes such as the conciliation of the needs and resources, providing services, the relationship with the users, etc.

15.    Gareau, André. Guide de gestion de archives d’entreprise. Montréal, QC : Réseau des archives du Québec, 2003, 314 p.

A copy in CD format can be ordered via the RAQ Secretariat for $25.00:

535 ave Viger Est, local 5.27.1 
Montréal, Québec, H2L 2P3
Telephone : (514) 864-9213
Email : 

This publication is practical. It adopts an integrated approach for the management of archival records as it marries both records management and historical records. It is a work that offers basic knowledge to businesses where a records management programme is being established. It includes a model for a classification plan and a conservation calendar.

16.    Dion, Isabelle et Yvon Lemay. Répertoire des ressources en gestion des archives (RRGA),

Regularly updated, this directory of resources in the management of archives is a gold mine of information in both the French and English languages. Access to the references can be done in three ways: 1) a simple search, 2) an advanced search and 3) lists of resources by archival functions (analysis of needs, arrangement, description, indexation, appraisal, preservation, etc.).

17.    Charbonneau Normand et Mario Robert et al. La gestion des archives photographiques. Sainte-Foy, QC : Presses de l'Université du Québec, 2001, 326 p. (Collection Gestion de l'information).

A copy can be purchased online at this address:

This publication concerns specifically the management of photographic collections and fonds. It contains a history of photography and the types of supports, but also covers the following themes: acquisition of photographs, monetary appraisal, arrangement and description, indexing, preservation, etc.

18.    Québec's Perspective on Archival Science. Archivaria. The Journal of the Association of Canadian Archivist. Number 59, Spring 2005,

This is a special issue of the journal Archivaria containing texts on numerous themes related to management as practiced in Québec. Authors include Carol Couture (Taking Stock: The Evolution of Archival Science in Québec et Research in Archival Science: A Status Report, Gille Héon (Archival Appraisal: A Status Report Details), Normand Charbonneau (The Selection of Photographs Details) and Jacques Grimard (Managing the Long-term Preservation of Electronic Archives or Preserving the Medium and the Message).


Automation in Archives

1.      Lake, David, Russell Loiselle and Debra Steidel Wall. ICA Study 12 - Market Survey of Commercially Available Off-the-Shelf Archival Management Software Paris, France: International Council on Archives, 2003.

This survey of software packages for archives, primarily in English, is a starting point for institutions looking to automate their collection management process and provides some “lessons-learned” guidance on purchasing software. (from ICA website). Other publications from ICA also available on this site, search “downloads” section. Articles in various languages.

2.      Archivistique – Logiciels. Page tirée des « Ressources en sciences de l’information ». Montréal, QC : École de Bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l’information de l’Université de Montréal,

Below is a list of software for records management and the management of historical records for institutions that wish to computerize the management of their fonds and collections.

  • CIDG inc. (ADHOC Documents) : management of administrative records and description of archival records according to RAD.
  • COBA (COBA Document) : includes the management of records with the help of descriptive files, the conservation calendar, the classification plan, the management of loans, control of access and research.
  • Docu-Dépôt inc. (EDC) : includes the control of files, the conservation calendar, and the production of reports. (See also the DocuData site.)
  • GCI inc. (GESTION VIRTUELLE includes the management of records, classification plan, conservation calendar, and description of archival records according to RAD. .
  • GESTAR (ARCA) : description of archival records according to RAD, and for all levels.
  • GESTAR (DOCUMENTIK) : includes the location of records, the culling of administrative files and records.
  • Grics (GESDOC) : includes the classification plan, the conservation calendar and the culling of records.
  • SHLM & Infoka (ARCHI-LOG) : description of archival records at all levels according to RAD.



1.      O’Brien, Jeff. Basic RAD: An Introduction to the preparation of fonds- and series-level descriptions using the Rules for Archival Description. Regina, SK: Saskatchewan Council of Archives and Archivists, 1997.

Free to download or access online. Provides instructions on how to write multi-level RAD descriptions. Offers lots of examples.

2.      Rules for Archival Description. Ottawa, ON: Bureau of Canadian Archivists, c1990, rev. 2003.

Free to download chapter by chapter from the CCA website. Last revision August 2003.

3.      Charbonneau, Normand et Mario Robert. La description des photographies. Archives, 1998-1999, vol. 30, no 1, pp. 25-43.

This article, which was awarded the Prix annuel du meilleur article from the journal Archives, examines the description of photographic images with the Rules for Archival Description (RAD).

4.      Turner, James M. Images en mouvement. Stockage – repérage – indexation. Sainte-Foy, QC : Presses de l'Université du Québec, 1998, 116 p. (Collection Gestion de l'information).

A copy of the publication (or of specific chapters) can be purchased online at this address: 

This publication proves interesting since it concerns the description and indexation of a medium that constitutes a lesser known but still important component of archival collections and fonds: the moving images. He explores the theoretical aspects of the arrangement of moving images with the objective of indexing them and thus facilitate their access by users.



1.      CCA Archives Advisory Services working Group, November 2011, 6p. Step-By-Step Guides to Digitisaion Projects


Preservation / Storage

1.      Basic Conservation of Archival Materials: A guide = Manuel de conservation des documents d’archives. Ottawa: CCA, 1990, rev. 2003.

Also known as “The Red Book”, it is free to download chapter by chapter. Great for basic information on storage, care and handling of most archival record types, with emphasis on preservation management, in both official languages. Presented in easy to read format with minimal use of jargon, it also covers what to do with mouldy, fire or water damaged records, and how to prepare for a disaster. Index included.

2.      E-Services section. Ottawa: Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) website, accessed October 4, 2007.

o    Titles of note: TB #27 Remedies for Deteriorated or Damaged Modern Information Carriers by Joe Iraci

o    TB #25 Disaster Recovery of Modern Information Carriers: Compact Discs, Magnetic Tapes and Magnetic Disks by Joe Iraci

o    TB # 23 Guidelines for Humidity and Temperature for Canadian Archives by Stefan Michalski

o    TB # 22 The Stability of Photocopied and Laser-printed Documents and Images: General Guidelines by David Grattan

E-Services section offers free access to articles and CCI Notes, and lists of CCI Technical Bulletins (TB) and other publications for purchase. Provides authoritative, detailed information on storage, care & handling, and minor treatments of paper-based documents and “modern information carriers” like CDs and DVDs.

3.      Wellheiser, J. and J. Scott. An Ounce of Prevention: Integrated disaster planning for archives, libraries and record centres. 2nd ed. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, c2002.

Presents an integrated approach to disaster planning. Canadian focus. Assumes reader has prior knowledge of basic preservation. Provides more detailed, specific information, for example, how ‘fire proof’ filing cabinets work or how to choose from the 8 types of automatic sprinkler systems available. Index included.

4.      Charbonneau, Hélène et Johanne Perron. « La Préservation » in Les fonctions de l’archivistique contemporaine, Chapter 9. Sainte-Foy, QC : Presses de l'Université du Québec, 1999, pp. 429-470. (Collection Gestion de l'information).

A copy of the publication can be purchased online at this address:

Hélène Charbonneau and Johanne Perron are two preservation specialists in Québec and both teach preservation principles at the university level. This chapter offers an excellent summary about methods and principles, and is a very good starting point on the preparation of a preservation programme for an archival institution.

5.      Base de données Préserv’Art. Centre de conservation de Québec.

Easy to use. On their website Préserv'Art is described as “an interactive database of products and equipment used for the conservation and protection of artefacts, works of art and archival documents. It was developed for collection managers, archivists curators, conservators, artists, museum technicians, students, teachers... Preserv’Art collates within files, pertinent information found in scientific and commercial publications.

It combines this data with the practical input of various specialists from the conservation field, thus providing useful information on the applications and uses of the various products listed.”