A for Archives, B for Books and Beyond: A New Video Series by ROAAr

Labiba Faiza and Jacquelyn Sundberg

How does one consult a book from the 1400s without breaking its delicate spine? Which kind of gloves are best for handling century-old photographs? If you don’t know, ROAAr has you covered with its new video series!

Given the extent of cataloguing and overall classification work that the McGill library undertakes, it should come as no surprise that ROAAr has a special fondness for the English alphabet. In fact, in 2020, we published an alphabetically arranged interactive book called AMAZE; a McGill A-Z Experience, which was carefully crafted to offer a comprehensive exploration of 26 incredible wonders from the collection of the McGill library, ranging from individuals to artwork.

ROAAr is happy to announce yet another special endeavour centred around the English alphabet. This year, we bring you an alphabetical video series – Easy as ABC. Working with primary materials involves processes and rules that may be overwhelming to some. The purpose of this series is to make ROAAr collections more accessible by teaching the ABCs of working with physical and digital materials in our holdings through 26 quick demonstrations and how-to videos.

So far, the series consists of four videos, not in alphabetical order, which correspond to the letters A, C, F, and S respectively:

A is for Archives: Archivist Adria Seccareccia demonstrates how to navigate the McGill Archival Collections catalogue online.

C is for Custom Housing: In this DIY video, Octavian Sopt demonstrates how to easily create a protective cover for books with fragile bindings.

F is for Finding Aid: It might be difficult to find exactly what you’re searching for in McGill’s extensive archives; archivist Adria Seccareccia shows how to use the archives quickly and effectively.

S is for Supports, Snakes, and and Sweaters: Jacquelyn Sundberg explains how to use book supports and book snakes to ensure that books are properly cared for during consultation. She also offers much needed friendly advice: bring a sweater into the chilly reading room!

Tune in to Easy as ABC for bite-sized lessons on ROAAr-related fundamental skills. While the alphabet is our guiding principle, we are not keeping to alphabetical order. We will be adding videos to the playlist as we go. Stay tuned! The full series will be available on this playlist: https://mcgill.ca/x/Uo7

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