Archives Awareness Week 2013

Image of three researchers working in the reading room of the Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, York University Libraries. Image no. ASC05083.

Archivally-aware researchers at the Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, 1989.

To celebrate Archives Awareness Week, held this year from April 8th to 14th, we're pulling together some posts demonstrating how archival records can document the experience of individuals, families and communities; reveal forgotten stories; and teach us something about our past, present and future.

York University students and faculty are lucky to have two archival institutions on campus:  the Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections here at the Scott Library – which collects university records and private records of interest to faculty research strengths; and the Archives of Ontario -  the provincial depository of provincial government records and private records of provincial significance.

The GTA is also home to dozens of public and private archival institutions: from the City of Toronto Archives, academic archives at the University of Toronto and Ryerson University, religious archives, community archives and archival holdings at Toronto Public Libraries. Here's a listing of some archives located in the Greater Toronto Area.

Why are Archives Important?

Archives are important because they are the repository of the social values and the collective memory of individuals, as well as repositories of a shared group memory of communities and nations.

Archives are also a source of accountability, where institutions and organizations document their decision-making and activities.

Related to the power of archives to preserve and document memory and accountability, is the role of archives in social justice.  Archival documents have played important roles in documenting historical injustice and can provide evidence in reparation and reconciliation proceedings.

Universal Declaration on Archives

You can download a poster featuring the element of the Universal Declaration on Archives released by the International Council of Archives in 2011 here.

Poster featuring the Universial Declaration on Archives. Available at:

Stay tuned this week for more feature posts to celebrate Archives Awareness Week!


Canadian Council of Archives. “Awareness Kit / User and Archivist Stories.” 2004. Web. 8 Apr. 2013. Available at: .
International Council on Archives, and Section of Professional Associations. “ICArchives : Reference Documents : Universal Declaration on Archives.” 28 Sept. 2010. Web. 8 Apr. 2013. Available at:
Public Awareness Committee, Association of Canadian Archivists. “Why Archives?” Aug. 2007. Web. 8 Apr. 2013. Available at:

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