Off the Record 

Off the Record  (ISSN 2370-1099) is the official publication of the Archives Association of Ontario, featuring technical and professional advice, information about grants, special features on archives around Ontario, and information on educational and employment opportunities. It is a quarterly newsletter and has been published digitally since 2012.


Past issues of Off the Record are open and available to the public.

Current issues are restricted to AAO Members. (The Current Issues menu option will only appear if you are logged in).


Please consult the submission guidelines for information about submission requirements. 

Questions or ideas? Get in touch with the OTR Editor, Grant Hurley


Interested in advertising? Find information and rates here or contact the editor

  • 12 Feb 2018 12:54 PM | Grant Hurley (Administrator)

    Hello AAO,

    Though Spring feels like it's a long way off yet, you can begin turning your thoughts to warmer times ahead by submitting to the Spring 2018 issue of Off the Record! 

    Why not join the immortal club of outstanding OTR contributors? Short articles on new acquisitions, institutional goings-on, interesting initiatives, and your thoughts and ponderings are all welcome. 

    The deadline for submissions is March 26th. Submission guidelines are available here

    Please feel free to get in touch with any questions or inquiries. 

    A spring-like cover image would also be welcome!


    Grant Hurley
    OTR Editor

  • 31 Jan 2018 12:00 PM | Grant Hurley (Administrator)


    The Winter 2018 issue of Off the Record is now available! It will make excellent indoor reading if the weather in your area is more frightful than delightful. However, make sure your electronic reading device is fully charged in the event of a power outage. Or, in celebration of the AAO's 25th anniversary, take yourself back to 1993 and print it out!

    The issue is available to AAO members here.

    This issue contains up-to-the-minute news on AAO initiatives, a member spotlight interview with Jennifer Weymark, a book review by John Smart, a co-op student reflection by Christopher Long, a transcription of a recent panel interview on digital preservation at the University of Toronto iSchool, and much more!

    The Winter 2017 issue is now open to non-members and remains excellent here.



    OTR Editor

  • 01 Nov 2017 12:00 PM | Grant Hurley (Administrator)

    Hello AAO,

    The Fall 2017 issue of Off the Record is now available! It's a perfect accompaniment to that leftover Halloween candy you brought to the office today.

    The issue is available to AAO members here.

    Settle into a cold November afternoon with the best source of news and information on the Ontario archival community. This issue contains a member spotlight interview with Brian Masschaele and a piece on the Provincial Acquisition Strategy's use of the documentation strategy concept as part of our regular columns. Updates include news on new acquisitions and digitization projects, space renovations, and a program to recognize beloved and historically significant trees in our province.

    Lengthier pieces include a fantastic addition to the practicum profile series about working with audiovisual materials, a reflection on the origin of the Grand Erie Education Archives, and a wonderful contribution by our very own Archives Advisor, Iona McCraith, on a visit to the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation. 

    The Fall 2016 issue on archives and Indigenous issues has always been open, but remains available here

    Happy reading!

    Grant Hurley
    OTR Editor

  • 31 Jul 2017 11:36 AM | Grant Hurley (Administrator)

    I am pleased to announce that the Summer 2017 issue of Off the Record is now available to members here

    This extra lengthy issue contains plenty of fantastic articles for your summer reading. A nearby pool or lake would improve the reading experience, but I must remind readers that they should avoid getting this issue wet if reading on an electronic device. 

    Among the great articles inside, you'll find fascinating pieces on recent exhibits at the Archives of Ontario and the Mennonite Archives of Ontario, a history of Waterloo's Lady Aberdeen Collection, notes and highlights from May's successful AAO conference, a new column from the Provincial Acquisition Strategy Working Group, a member spotlight interview featuring Sara Janes, and a highly engaging memoir of being an archivist in 1974 by John Smart. 

    Last year's also-lengthy Summer issue is now available free here

    Happy Summer!

    Grant Hurley

    OTR Editor 

  • 21 Apr 2017 2:48 PM | Grant Hurley (Administrator)

    Hello friends,

    The flowers are blooming, the sun is (kind of) shining, and I'm immensely pleased to release the Spring 2017 issue of Off the Record - just in time for the AAO conference occurring next week. The issue is available to members here

    In this issue, you'll find a wealth of quality news, announcements and articles, including information on two significant new digitization projects, a student practicum at the National Ballet Archives, and a fascinating account of the conservation treatment of a World War One-era newspaper. Plus a new edition of my pet series on archives in fiction about Marian Engel's scandalous 1976 novel, Bear

    Happy Reading!


  • 31 Jan 2017 3:07 PM | Grant Hurley (Administrator)

    Hello dear friends,

    The Winter 2017 issue of Off the Record is now available for your reading pleasure. Members can access the issue here

    This issue features a fantastic slate of content by excellent contributors - and only one piece relating to current events (my usual editor's message) which you are welcome to skip should you need a mental break from he-who-shall-not-be-named

    The issue includes the usual key updates and news, plus an interview with Anna St. Onge as part of our ongoing member spotlight series, and a special edition of "Ask an Archivist" focusing on four professionals and their experiences and advice working in digital archives positions. Feature pieces are by Jennifer Robinson on her work as a private conservator, by yours truly on Michael Redhill’s 2006 novel Consolation and its imaginary archival objects, and by Arthur McClelland on the great development of the Ivey Family London Room at the London Public Library. 

    If you are not an AAO member, please consider joining to get OTR ASAP!

    Keep warm! 


  • 21 Oct 2016 1:27 PM | Grant Hurley (Administrator)


    I am pleased to announce the release of the Archives Association of Ontario’s Off the Record theme issue on archives and Indigenous issues. The issue has been specially made open access so that interested non-AAO members can benefit from the fantastic contributions to this issue. Please share this issue as you see fit! You can download the issue here.

    In addition to a member spotlight profile of Archives Advisor Iona McCraith and community news, the theme section of the issue includes: 

    - A series of three diverse holdings profiles that shows archivists looking critically at their collections and seeking to provide a wider public profile for Indigenous-related materials: Anne McKeage at the Archives of Hamilton Health Sciences Archives; Kyle Neill at the Region of Peel Archives; and Danielle Shrestha at the Indigenous Art Centre at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. 

    - A features section with three contributions. Eric Pouliot-Thisdale writes about his experiences conducting crucial establishing demographic research in Canadian archives to identify War of 1812 Warriors and Residential School students from Kahnawake and Kanesatake. Janel Cheng and Richard McKibbon write about the promising work of the Archives of Ontario’s Indigenous Relations Working Group and its very focused approach to direct action extending from the TRC’s Calls to Action. And Krista McCracken writes about her experiences in the founding of the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre (SRSC) Archives and its collaborative, supportive working principles.

    It has been a privilege working with the contributors to put this issue together, and I greatly appreciate their time and effort. Happy reading!


    Grant Hurley, Editor

  • 22 Jul 2016 11:05 AM | Grant Hurley (Administrator)


    The Summer issue of Off the Record (OTR) is now available! It’s an especially lengthy issue perfect for your beach/deck/cottage/boiling hot commute reading. You can log in and download it here.

    This issue includes the launch of new student content, including two student authored articles on their work, and an absolutely fantastic set of questions and answers in the “Ask an Archivist” column. Many thanks to those who submitted questions and the very kind archivists who responded.

    Also included is a member spotlight interview with Carol Radford-Grant, and articles on the reopening of the Archives at Lakehead University, the second part of John Smart’s articles on the creation of the AAO, and a review of the 2016 conference alongside. There’s a new installment of “Food in the Archives,” and the essential news and updates from members that makes OTR tick! I was especially grateful this issue for the very high quality (and volume!) of submissions I received – thank you so much to the authors for their time and effort.

    The current issue plus the past 3 OTR issues are available to AAO members only.

    If you are not an AAO member, please consider joining – OTR is one (mighty fine, if I may say so myself) perk!

    Happy Summer!


    PS. I am now transitioning OTR-related business to the new dedicated e-mail: Please use this address for any future correspondence. 

  • 26 Apr 2016 2:54 PM | Grant Hurley (Administrator)
    Hello reader,

    The Spring issue of OTR is now available for your education and delight. You can log in and download it here.

    This issue includes feature articles on the AAO's early history by John Smart, the Talbot Tract map digitization project by Stephen Francom, and on the big move to the new Community Archives of Belleville and Hastings County by Amanda Hill. There's also an installment of Food in the Archives by yours truly, and some key news from the AAO President, taag, and on the upcoming 2016 conference workshops. 

    The current issue plus the past 3 OTR issues are available to AAO members only. 

    If you are not an AAO member, please consider joining, and all the beauties of OTR will be delivered to you not once, but 4 times per year! 

    Happy spring! (whenever spring happens to come anyway)


  • 01 Feb 2016 4:30 PM | Grant Hurley (Administrator)

    My very first issue as OTR editor is hot off the digital presses and available for your reading pleasure. You can log in and download it here.

    I have taken the chance to redesign the newsletter to make it easier to read and showcase the great content contributed by AAO members. I hope you like it! 

    This issue includes an interview with Brian Beaven as part of a new series on members, feature articles by AAO members on the interesting and innovative goings-on at their archives, AAO news, and a feature of my own on Benson's Strong Ale. 

    The current issue plus the past 3 OTR issues are available to AAO members only.

    If you are not an AAO member, please consider joining here - OTR is one of the many benefits you will receive! 

    Happy reading!


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