The Original Order of Things:
An AAO Monthly Newsletter
April 2022, Volume 2, Issue 4
Welcome Jazmine Aldrich, the AAO’s New Archeion Coordinator!
I am a settler archivist living and working on the traditional and unceded territory of the Abenaki people and the Wabenaki Confederacy, in a region of Quebec known as the Eastern Townships. I grew up in this region and English is my first language, but I do speak French. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in History and Global Studies with a minor in Indigenous Studies from Bishop’s University (2019) and a Master of Information Studies degree from McGill University (2021).
2. Why did you choose to pursue a career in the archival profession?
I chose the archival profession because it is the perfect blend of two things that I love: history and order! My first time working in archives was as a summer student for the Lennoxville-Ascot Historical and Museum Society, at the Uplands Heritage Site in Lennoxville, Quebec. One of my first tasks was to index names found in a minute book for a wartime knitting club. As drab as that may sound to some, I found myself fascinated by how I could dive into this written record that so few had ever laid eyes on, and make these ordinary people (mainly women) come to life as historical agents in a local (and world) history. Archives emphasize the value of our everyday activities in shaping the world around us.
3. How did you hear about the Archeion position and what made you interested in it?
I heard about the Archeion Coordinator position through the ARCAN-L listserv. I was interested because I had previously worked with instances of the Access to Memory (AtoM) software through my work with the Eastern Townships Resource Centre on the Eastern Townships Archives Portal, as well as with the Timor International Solidarity Archive. I find the software exceedingly valuable for discovering archival records and democratizing access to archives, particularly in a massive multi-repository context like Archeion. I am interested in exploring how to make the best use of the software, in order to make connections across archival institutions and maximize research potential.
4. What are you most excited to work on as the Archeion Coordinator?
Having grown up in Quebec where we do not have a centralized provincial archives database, I am most excited to work with the vast network of AAO members using Archeion. I am interested in exploring how such a vast network of institutions with diverse practices can come together to contribute to this common project for the greater good (lofty aspirations, I know!)
5. What is an accomplishment you are most proud of?
I am the first person in my immediate family to graduate university, and I did so while working to pay my way and maintaining a high level of academic achievement to earn scholarships. I earned three post-secondary degrees (college, BA, and MISt) consecutively while working multiple jobs and taking part in extracurricular activities. It was exhausting, but well worth it!
6. What is the most interesting archival project that you have worked on?
It is so difficult to choose! One that stands out to me is the Data Rescue: Archives and Weather (DRAW) project at McGill University. They developed a crowdsourcing platform for transcribing handwritten logbooks of historical weather observations recorded at the McGill University Observatory from 1863-1963. Once transcribed, the data helps researchers to understand historical weather and climate patterns that are essential to building better models of climate change. The project also curates educational resources for contextualizing historical weather, which is fascinating. I worked for this project from 2020-2021 and have since continued on as a volunteer because I truly believe in its mission. I would highly recommend everyone sign up to transcribe some weather data!
7. Is there anything else you would like to share? Hobbies, favourites, etc.?
My passion for history extends to my free time, so please share any recommendations for reading and watching historical fiction and period dramas. Aside from that, I am also a novice gardener contending with a hungry urban deer population, a houseplant enthusiast, and decidedly both a dog and cat person.