Titles for descriptions of Indigenous-related archival content

We are following up on calls for action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The calls for action exist to promote truth, healing and reconciliation.

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) adopted procedures to assure that records have titles for description of Indigenous content are culturally sensitive.

These records include:

  • journals
  • manuscripts
  • art
  • photographs
  • maps
  • audio-visual material

All descriptive information related to Indigenous content needs an accurate title. Whether creating or modifying a title, it needs to be culturally sensitive.

Guidelines for writing an accurate title

When working with titles, consider that it needs to:

  • make them easy to find
  • accurately represent the content
  • respect the principles from:
  • provide background context
  • follow the rules for archival description and the flexibility they allow. Consider how an individual or community self-identifies

Three options for analyzing record titles

  1. If an appropriate title exists, there is no action required.
  2. If no title exists, the archivist drafts a fitting title based on the guidelines above.
  3. If the title is problematic, the archivist writes a new title based on the guidelines above.
    • Structure: The new title goes in square brackets [ ], followed by the original title.

Some examples

Photography – Government Archives

Textual record – Governmental archives

Art – Private archives

Cartographic document – Governmental archives

Naming conventions

Naming conventions change frequently. New titles may not reflect the most up-to-date terms currently in use.

Contact us

If you have any questions, please contact bac.bureaucesmaoperations-cooofficeadmoperations.lac@canada.ca.