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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The development of university archives in British Columbia: a case study O’Donnell, Jacqueline P.


This essay attempts to determine how university archives in British Columbia have developed from their origins as collections of historical documents within university libraries, and whether they exemplify the larger trend of archival development evident in Canada. An examination of the history of the National Archives of Canada provides a model of developmental stages and key elements necessary for a modern archival programme. In addition it exemplifies the Canadian tradition of “total archives”. Individual case studies explore the evolution of British Columbia’s three university archives, in the light of this Canadian tradition. Archival programmes located within the University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University are examined, in order to determine how they were conceived, advanced and sustained. An examination of the administrative records of the three university archives including annual reports, correspondence, policies and committee minutes presents a historical overview of their growth and development. Following decades of progress, the emerging picture is one of an incomplete process with each institution having attained a different level of development. The conclusion compares and contrasts the three institutions and assesses their progress in the broader national context of Canadian university archives generally. The state of university archives in British Columbia mirrors that of their national counterparts and the emerging picture is one of an evolution still incomplete.

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