IBVM Archives Support Group (ASG): POST 1

Hello Everyone,

I am posting the information from our first Skype meeting and the continued conversation that I had with Sr. Sandra after the meeting ended.  It was lovely to at least hear all your voices and reconnect.  I am putting the information up in a series of three posts.  Please comment and change as you see fit – they are just a starting point!

Initial Group:

Institute/Irish Province: Áine McHugh

AustralianProvince: Robin Scott

CanadianProvince: Michelle Anitra Pariag/Juliana Dusel, IBVM

The group will work online, primarily via email and our blog.

I would suggest choosing a colour to represent each province (I’ve chosen red for Can. Prov.) so that we can distinguish comments and changes to joint posts.  I’ll type the initial message in black type and comments thereafter in red.

You’ve probably guessed, I’ve chosen green for Ireland!

I (Michelle) will keep a running list of meetings, key dates etc. and periodically email/blog them to everyone.

[Skype – Premium Membership allowing for video conference calling :


$4.49/month.  I will look into signing up for this and updating you all on progress]

IBVM ASG: POST 2 – Feedback Required

The following items require feedback.  Please go directly into the post and respond.

1.) Meeting Frequency

Proposed: Bi-Monthly

This is alright with me – we could amend as necessary.

Thanks Michelle, for pulling all this together, a lot of work!  Bimonthly meetings on Skype are fine with me too.

I figured out the colour thing. Yes bi-monthly is good.  How about we start in Feb?  I’ll be away until 21st Jan. for Christmas break.


I’m happy with Robin’s suggestion that Kim Eberhard join the group, her experience sounds very relevant and it would be beneficial to have somebody with a wider vision on board.

Looks like a good fit.  I’ll ask Kim in the new year if all are in agreement.  She might have too much on, of course.

IBVM ASG: Post 3 – Action Required

How can we approach working on projects together from different locations?

Suggestions: Via GoogleDocs (now called Google Drive) or Email (one person collates then sends on to next etc.)?

 Considering that we are all in different parts of the Globe, I think that GoogleDrive/Calendar etc. would be the best option for us to work jointly on things.  If anyone knows of anything else that might work please suggest it!  I have set up a Google Account and will be emailing sign-in information and basic tips (information is currently the same as for this blog). 

Items for Action:

1) Start a list of 2013/2014 events in each particular province where we might host a meeting of archivists


-IBVM Events

-Archival/Historical Conferences

-Mary Ward Related

See forthcoming GoogleDocs email, note that I have added a feature on the blog that will keep readers updated on upcoming events

I asked about any international meetings in Australia next year but apparently there aren’t any.  Pity, that would have been good.  But I’ll check 2014.

2) Institute-Wide Policies

Both Ireland and Australia currently have policies – can we look at these and streamline into a formal overall policy?

What we need to do:

-decide which sections of policy need to be included

-have computer files of document so that we can work directly on this

-name someone to do first, second and third editing or determine a time   frame where we all work on it

-approval from each advisor

-submit to Generlate

-Send out to Provinces

Common Institute wide policies for province archives are needed, probably something of a priority. I’ll put our policies up on the Goggle docs; I’m not entirely happy with them so it will be good to review and create more comprehensive policies that we will all have in common. A joint review of policies, working to an agreed time-frame sounds good. It would allow equal input and perhaps free up discussion; although given our geographical separation would it perhaps be a bit unwieldy? 

I think this is a priority as well.  I think a general collection policy could work and perhaps a generic retention/disposal schedule with the option to tailor it to a specific region.  I think a collection policy should be specific to the organisation and not just explain what archives and archivists do. 

2) Institute-Wide Assessment regarding state of the archives in each province

How? Who?

Suggestions: mail out or computer questionnaire? – or guidelines for assessment and request email response

 Robin do you have an assessment/documentation from your time in South Africa you could share?

Sounds good, most of the main areas to cover are outlined below. It would give a good overview of the Province Archives, how they are currently managed, contents and open up discussions (in a respectful and non threatening way) on the future care and custodianship of the archival collections.

Yes, a general survey would be great before we see what is required in practical hands-on assistance.  We can really only assist if we have a policy drawn up though.  In South Africa I was able to arrange and describe but I was powerless to provide a solution to their problem.  I suggested a few possibilities but many provinces, I suspect, just want to be told what to they are supposed to do with the collection which has to come from an agreed policy.



-starting point for international discussion

-would get some insight on issues in other provinces

Some of the issues to address:

-Who is currently the named archivist, how active?

-Where are the archives kept – room? Temperature control, humidity


-arrangement, description etc

-what kind of research requests


-access to computers ad internet

-named archivist ability to travel

-types of help they might need, training in archives – presentations on institute etc.

3) Chart of where in the world the IBVM are worldwide, numbers, and other relevant info

-where their materials are sent: i.e. the Sisters in Morocco send their information to Spain, numbers etc.

Why: understand flow of archival materials, scope etc.

-better understanding of Institute at large

Can we double check on this information below?  (taken from IBVM website)

Australia – > South East Asia



Eastern Africa – Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania

England – Albania?

India – Bangladesh, Kolkatta, Nepal

Ireland – Generlate (Italy), Gibraltar, Sudan



South Africa – Zambia

Spain – Ecuador, Morocco


Timor? (East Timor comes under Australia)

Not What We Thought (General Archives, Ire)

Our most recent project,  the digitisation of a small collection glass plate negatives we believed had been taken by M. Michael Corcoran during her visitation of the foreign houses in 1903/1904…….

It now looks like only 4 of the slides were taken by M. Michael Corcoran and the rest taken in (East Africa) Kenya at a later date.

We are working on identifying the photographer and the exact location of the photographs

Not sure if the girls are dancing or taking part in drill?!




Glass Plate Negative Taken by M. Michael Corcoran in Australia.

Label on frame identifies it as Hornsby.