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David Sharron, Brock Special collections
September 13, 2022 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am
David Sharron, Brock Special collections – Head, Archives and Special Collections
Topic: “Plate Spinning and Ball Juggling: All in a day’s work at the Brock Archives”. This would be a look at the various roles and responsibilities that we have at Brock and how our collections connect the institution to the greater Niagara community and beyond.
Brock archivist unveils many facets of his job
Duncan McLaren introduced guest speaker David Sharron whose topic was “Plate Spinning and Ball Juggling: All in a day’s work at the Brock Archives.”
David has been a professional archivist for 24 years. He graduated with a Master’s in History with an archives specialization through the University of Windsor in association with Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. His first job was at the NASA/Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas as an image archivist taking care of mission photography. He returned to Canada after five years and three years later came to Brock University. He has been at Brock for 15 years as the head of the Archives and Special Collections department in the library. David is also a certified archivist through the Academy of Certified Archivists and has completed the Digital Archives Specialist certification through the Society of American Archivists.
An archivist makes sure special papers and documents do not get discarded. David defined the difference between an archive and a special collection: an archive is a daily life record; special collection is what someone wants to collect, usually on a specific suject. He explained the five steps to archiving: 1. Acquisition; 2. Archival appraisal; 3. Arrangement and description; 4. Storage of Records; 5. Providing Access.
He said that records can come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and formats. David pointed out that while the Brock archives are open to the public, all material must stay in the reading room at Brock.
David said Brock has a massive collection of books that hold some relevance to Niagara. Other extensive collections include Masonic topics and information including blogs on Autism. The total collection, with a value in the millions of dollars, includes rare books – with the oldest published in 1489 – and many unique materials.
David said that one unexpected benefit of the COVID pandemic was that Brock had the time and opportunity to create a new digital exhibit.
He concluded by listing the top five things to know about the Brock Archives: 1. They hold records not found anywhere else; 2. Archives don’t have to be old; 3. Most materials are in the library catalogue and digital files; 4. Chances are there is something there you can use; 5. Everyone is welcome.
The archives are located on the 10th floor of the Brock Tower and can be accessed online at https://brocku.ca/library/archives/
Following a question-and-answer period, Duncan thanked David and presented him with a gift certificate in token of appreciation.