UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

A critical guide to sources for the study of the history of the family in British Columbia, 1849-1918 Burrows, James Kenneth


Access to archival holdings is one of the fundamental problems faced by archivists. The difficulties in providing access to the wide variety of subjects contained with even one archives is further complicated by the changing fields of research which require the use of archives. Neither provenance based or subject indexing access systems have been able to cope with these changing needs. The creation of thematic guides has been an attempt to offer more flexible subject access to collections since each guide deals with a separate topic. Despite their value in providing access to current themes, the thematic guide has been simply a listing of collections and does not offer any analysis of how various forms of records, their availability and their uses relate to the subject. The creation of such a critical guide forms the bulk of the paper. To investigate the effectiveness of this type of guide, records which relate to the study of the history of the family in British Columbia were identified. This particular subject area was chosen because of its relative newness and since many of the records applicable to its study are not easily found. The holdings of the British Columbia Archives and Records Service and the City of Vancouver Archives provided the relevant materials for the study. The records chosen as useful to the study of the family were listed and many collections were examined closely. From this review of holdings, an analysis of records types and their value to the study of the family in British Columbia was developed. Standard appraisal and descriptive techniques were employed for the analysis. In addition, a study of past research uses was done to provide a better understanding of how the records could be employed. It was found that a critical guide could be produced using modifications of standard formats, such as the basic form for inventories suggested by the Society of American Archivists. In addition, appraisal criteria were applied to the categories of documents in order to assess their value. Using these standardized techniques means that an analysis of record types will be better understood by others. The critical guide offers a vehicle for archivists to provide researchers with more information about the records in a less haphazard fashion.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.