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AABC Archivist's Toolkit


The AABC Archivist's Toolkit offers access to a wide range of on-line and published resources for Archivists and archives workers at all levels. While not an exhaustive link to all publications/resources/guides in a specialized area, our goal is to provide access to useful links and examples for small and medium-sized archives, no matter what stage their archival collection is in. Originally intended for the British Columbia archives community, the AABC Archivist's Toolkit has evolved into a resource used by archives across Canada and by our heritage colleagues both local and abroad. 

Recommendations for additions, revisions and corrections are encouraged and should be directed to the EAS Coordinator at

A Manual for Small Archives 

The AABC's A Manual for Small Archives was originally published in 1988, with updates in 1994 and 2021. It is written to help staff and volunteers working in small archives, with limited access to training, with few employees, and with restricted finances and time. The manual explains archival principles and practices and offers guidelines and suggestions for various archival activities.

A Manual for Small Archives is available as a pdf.

The Manual is most effective when used in combination with the resources found in the Archivist's Toolkit.

British Columbia Thesaurus

The British Columbia Thesaurus: A Subject Indexing Tool for B.C. Archives was first published in 1990 and followed up with revisions in 1993. Version 2.0 of the thesaurus was produced in February 2022. The thesaurus provides a list of standardized indexing terms that organizations can use when preparing finding aids and descriptive records for their holdings. 

The B.C. Thesaurus is available as a pdf.

Specific resources for indexing or using names for Indigenous communities in British Columbia are available at: 

Xwi7xwa Library First Nations House of Learning (UBC)

Greater Victoria Public Library 

National Indigenous Knowledge and Language Alliance (NIKLA) and the Canadian Federation of Library Associations (CFLA) 

For additional resources on cataloguing books with Indigenous subjects/content, please contact the AABC EAS Coordinator.
Archivist's Toolkit Index

An index for the different sections within the Archivist's Toolkit is provided below.

Click on the blue header for access to resources on that topic.

Introduction to Archives
  • General Resources
  • Records Management
  • What is an Archivist?
  • Ethics
  • Archival Theory and Principles
  • Terminology
  • Climate Change and Archives 
  • Trauma Informed Archives Resources
  • Publications

Establishing An Archives

  • General Resources
  • Legislation
  • Mandate Statements and Policies
  • Publications

Indigenous Archives & Record Keeping

  • UNDRIP & the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Task Force
  • General Resources
  • Training Opportunities
  • Funding Opportunities
  • Repatriation
  • Protocol and Policy Development
  • Description and Subject Indexing
  • Records Management
  • Privacy Legislation and Indigenous Records
  • Software and Digital Heritage
  • Digitization and Preservation
  • Publications and Presentations

Appraisal & Accessioning

  • General Resources
  • Acquisition Policies & Documentation
  • Appraisal
  • Monetary Appraisal
  • Accessioning
  • Publications

Arrangement & Description

  • General Resources
  • Arrangement
  • Rules for Archival Description (RAD)
  • International Descriptive Standards
  • Description
  • Sample Descriptions
  • Indexing
  • Publications

Preservation & Emergency Planning

  • General Resources
  • Needs Assessments & Policies
  • Archival Supplies
  • Condition Assessment Tools
  • Preservation of Specific Media
    • Paper
    • Photographs
    • Sound and Film
    • Digital & Electronic Records
    • Oral History Records
  • Disaster Preparedness Planning
  • Publications
  • Publications

Access, Privacy & Copyright

  • General Resources
  • Using Archives
  • Reference Services
  • Reproduction & Use
  • Copyright Legislation
  • Access & Privacy Legislation
  • Access & Privacy Articles
  • Publications

Digitization & Automation

  • General Resources
  • Digital Reformatting
  • Database software
  • Publications

Electronic Records & DigitalPreservation Management

  • Planning, Frameworks & Policy Development
  • Digital Preservation Metadata
  • Digital Preservation Actions
  • Acquisitions & Accessioning
  • Physical Preservation of Digital Carriers
  • Trusted Digital Repository Audit and Certification
  • Determining Digital Preservation Costs & Staffing Needs
  • E-journals, Podcasts & Blogs
  • Presentations & Publications

  • General Resources
  • Funding Sources
  • Preparing Proposals & Applications
  • Managing Projects
  • Publications

  • General Resources
  • Education for Archivists
  • Electronic Mailing Lists
  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Friends Organizations
  • Publications

© 2006-2024 Archives Association of British Columbia. All Rights Reserved.

The Archives Association of British Columbia acknowledges that it carries out its work on the land of Indigenous nations throughout British Columbia. We are grateful for the continuing relationships with Indigenous people in B.C. that develop through our work together.  

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