RLI 283 Patron-Driven Acquisitions and the Development of Research Collections 7 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC 2013 would be representative of a particular region or theme.5 While users would have active input into the decision-making process associated with collection development, so would archivists. Such was not the case with the Portuguese Canadian History Project/Projecto de História Luso-Canadiana. Research Need This ambitious initiative was started in October 2008 by Gilberto Fernandes and Susana Miranda, two graduate students in the doctoral program of the Department of History at York University, who were later joined by Raphael Costa and Emanuel da Silva. Unable to find sufficient primary sources in public archives to sustain their research, they sought material in private hands among the Portuguese community in Toronto. One of their earliest contacts was Domingos Marques, a devoted collector of documents pertaining to the development of his community. Due to his impending move to a new home, Marques transferred the collection to the care of the graduate students after they volunteered to arrange for its donation to an archival repository. They worked with Marques to arrange the collection and to capture metadata about its content through taped interviews. The success of this relationship led to the formal establishment of the project to pursue two goals: the preservation of records created by individuals or organizations associated with the Portuguese community in Canada, and “the democratization and dissemination of historical knowledge” by exploring formats that take history beyond the monograph or journal article to make it more accessible for “ordinary” Canadians, particularly those of Portuguese descent, to reflect upon their individual and collective experiences. Responsive Collecting The path toward the first goal of preserving records was begun by York’s Department of History. Professor Marcel Martel, graduate program director, arranged a meeting between Fernandes and the head of York University Libraries’ Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections (CTASC) in May 2009. Two years earlier, the libraries had released Open Doors, Open Minds, its strategic plan for 2007 to 2011. The plan outlined intentions to acquire unique collections with enduring research value, to experiment with innovative collection activities responsive to the needs of graduate students, to respond to student diversity and curriculum of an increasingly international nature by acquiring non-English-language material, and to develop collaborations on and off campus. The Marques collection and other personal archives assembled by the Portuguese Canadian History Project closely aligned with these priorities. Much of the material would be used by the graduate students in theses, presentations, and publications. By bringing these documents into the public realm rather than leaving them in private hands, the libraries ensured that the students’ work would support the rigor of scholarly criticism through open access to primary sources that were the foundation of their research. Many documents were in Portuguese and concerned events and personalities involved with the Portuguese community’s social, economic, and political affairs. The project’s team members, who are part of this community, were able to bridge divides of language and culture that would likely be impassible for CTASC’s archivists. As graduate students in history, they were trained to recognize the research value of documents, thereby creating confidence in their appraisal decisions. The material was transferred to CTASC in October 2009, and under the stewardship of Anna St.Onge, archivist for digital projects and
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