22 May 2020

Ontario Archives Situations During COVID-19 Pandemic

The Archives Association of Ontario (AAO) Municipal Archives Interest Group have taken a COVID-19 situation survey of 17 Ontario archival organizations: Simcoe County Archives, Oxford County Archives, City of Toronto Archives, Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County, St. Marys Museum and Archives, City of Vaughan - Archives & Records Management Services, Museum of Dufferin, Bruce County Museum & Cultural Centre, Stratford-Perth Archives, Grey Roots Museum & Archives (Grey County), City of Ottawa Archives, St. Catharines Museum, Lambton County Archives, Region of Peel Archives at PAMA, Dundas County Archives, Archives of Ontario, Norfolk County Archives.

The largest, the Archives of Ontario (AO), has 106 full-time employees and 6 part-time. All are working from home. In response to "What projects are staff working on, especially while physically
separated from your collections and facilities?" AO responded "...updating and revising internal documents like policies, procedures and protocols and reviewing our public-facing products such as research guides and pathfinders. Collections management analysis also continues, including description and authority record clean up and appraisal activities for both government and private records. More specifically, we continue to advance key initiatives and projects ... increasing our focus on engaging audiences via digital platforms, enabling increased digital access, working on digital online exhibits, creating online educational resources and maintaining an engaging social media presence, and conducting preparatory work in anticipation of a new collections management system.

The City of Toronto Archives, second largest with 20 employees, has some working from home, some not continuing to work. All 15 full-time and 1 part-time staff of The City of Ottawa Archives continue to be employed working from home except 2 who are redeployed.

Two of the smallest archives have no employees working.

All responses indicate that to the best of knowledge environmental conditions continue to be maintained for archives storage.

Thanks to Nicholas Moreau for AAO the information.

AAO has a collection of COVID-19 resources on collection care, documenting the pandemic and, working from home. The latter has a long list of things that can be done remotely.

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