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Ethnic archives in Canada: a case study of seven Japanese communities

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Title: Ethnic archives in Canada: a case study of seven Japanese communities
Author: Tsuruta, Sayuri
Degree Master of Archival Studies - MAS
Program Archival Studies
Copyright Date: 1996
Subject Keywords Japanese Canadians - Archives
Abstract: In the Canadian archival system, in the past, ethnic communities were not encouraged to establish their own archives because they were considered to.lack the resources required for sustaining professionally acceptable archives. In recentyears public archives have come to emphasize preservation of their parent bodies' archives, and consequently fewer resources have been available for preservation of private archives, including ethnic archives. There is evidence that some ethnic communities are concerned to preserve their archival materials. This thesis examines the.efforts of Japanese-Canadian communities to preserve archival materials bearing-on their historical experiences. A case study using the method of focussed interviews of Japanese-Canadian communities in seven cities revealed the substantial will to preserve archival materials. The study discovered that, while Japanese Canadians have been and are being rapidly assimilated to the larger society, cultural interests and the need for the sense of identity persist and are renewed by each generation. Under these circumstances, community leadership sees archival activities as an integral part of the community activities. The case study also revealed strengths and weaknesses of archival activities in those communities. Closeness to records creators through formal and informal networks within the communities provides community archives with distinct advantages. These archives can easily identify and locate materials of continuing value. They also have easy access to contextual information on records and their creators. Weaknesses were identified in defining acquisition policies and financial resources. Contrary to concerns of some archivists and researchers, most respondents are aware of the need to abide by professional standards, and they are also willing . to make their materials available to the general public. Based on the findings of the case study, several recommendations are offered. Preservation of ethnic archival materials should be clearly recognized as a responsibility to be assumed by both public archives and ethnic communities. To carry out this responsibility effectively, planning and cooperation among different archives and communities are essential. Ethnic community-based archives, on their part, should follow the accepted principles and practices, especially in the area of acquisition, so that they function as a legitimate part of the Canadian archival system. Networking among ethnic community archives is also recommended in order to reveal relationships among their holdings.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/4286
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]

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