LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES

Library Events

I think that this should be ever changing as there are more events and presentations

New books

Info to come through Rob – To come from Librarian

About our classification system

After ACCI’s official opening, the acquisition of the library resources grew at a rapid rate. We began to research which classification system would be most suitable for our unique collection. We concluded that the library would benefit from a classification system that would not only best represent the collection but also be user-friendly for library users. Early on the staff knew that the Dewey Decimal Classification System (DDC) or the Library of Congress Classification System (LCC) would be challenging to work with because of the colonial bias in the way these systems organise and represent Indigenous subjects. It was important that we used a system that centred on an Indigenous world view. It was clear that neither DDC or LCC would match the ACCI Library’s mission or its Cree/Indigenous-focused collection. In the end we chose the Brian Deer Classification System (BDC) because of its flexibility and simplicity and because it is in use by Indigenous libraries elsewhere.

The UBCIC Resource Centre Classification Plan and the XWI7XWA Library First Nation House of Learning’s Brian Deer Classification Scheme, both of which focus on Indigenous groups in British Columbia, were used as guides to adapt BDC to a Cree-focused version for our library. Subcategories from these classification plans were copied over and rearranged, making sure that modifications were made to subject headings, subjects and themes to best reflect the local needs of our collection. For our Cree Library, a very important aspect of this classification system was that it allowed us to use the James Bay Cree language, traditional names, and Cree place names to classify our material. BDC is structured to identify specific languages, subjects and themes that lead to more visibility for specific topics and easier accessibility. For example, we had an increasing collection on the subject of snowshoes which we needed to include in our version of BDC. We decided the best option was to add a class designator in Tangible and Material Culture.

The ability to add topics in BDC that adequately describe and organize material eliminates the need to ‘force’ large amounts of material into limited subjects, so the end result is accurate representation and intuitive for users. What is great about Brian Deer is that there is no strict category for one book, and the class designators are adaptable so they can be changed and added as required. For instance, we found a book on the subject of ceremonial tobacco, which we did not have a subject designation for in our BDC version. We found that the closest fit in the existing categories was under Health and Wellness-Addictions Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking but we felt this was not the ideal class designator because of the sensitivity and the sacred nature of this subject. We opted to add a new class designator in the Tangible and Material Culture category.

Adding class designators enables us to make room for books on a topic that we wish to continue to collect. To date we have created close to fifty class designators and cutter codes within our customised BDC plan. To make it simple we decided to use letters only in the creation of our cutter codes. The UBCIC model used both numbers and letters and each letter corresponds with a number depending on whether it was a consonants or vowel as shown in the chart below:

UBCIC Deer Cutter Codes After Other Consonants
For the second letter:a-de-hi-lm-o
Use number:3456

The following is how our call numbers look:

1. Class designator (1-6 letters)
2. Place-specific cutter code (if applicable)
3. One Person cutter code (author/creator)
4. Date
5. Volume Number (when present)
The BDC is similar to DDC or LCC in some ways, using subjects to divide book by topic, and use of numbers and letters to create a call number. BDC is unique in its use of traditional and modern language to classify material, which helps to bring full visibility to specific topics that would be otherwise hidden or lost in DDC or LCC. The advantage of using BDC is the option of being able to classify the collection under different categories instead of one. Yet, BDC is not without challenges, as we soon discovered as we added new topics and adjustments to our classification plan. Even with BDC‘s tailored language and Indigenous view, we encountered a hurdle when we tried to catalogue a book on Inuktitut, which led us to remove an earlier division we had between Quebec and non-Quebec. After re-examining the entire language section we discovered that under (Cutter Code TBC) Language-Algonkian-Cree; (again this section did not have a list of dialects in the UBCIC edition) our version had mixed books in Eastern Cree, Plains Cree and others. Montagnais/Naskapi was in its own category, far from the Cree language (Cutter Code TBG) with unrelated language groups. To resolve this, we got rid of the TBG Cutter Code, and with the help of a Cree language expert, we rearranged the language section in a revised category. The valuable lesson that we learned was the importance of having a knowledgeable person in the Cree language properly categorize the language section so we could base our classification system around their arrangement. In general, we also learned having classifications done by someone with local cultural expertise and experience of the social aspects of specific communities and Indigenous groups was needed to properly organize the collection .

The BDC has provided the library with a foundation to create a tailored classification system that fits our collection. We are very satisfied with how BDC is working for the library and we have not run into any major difficulties since we began using it. While it is still a learning process for us, we are becoming more confident in correcting minor mistakes, and as we get to know the collection we are recognizing small inefficiencies in the subject and subheadings that can easily be adjusted. Currently we are in our third year of implementing Brian Deer, supervised by myself, with assistance from people hired on a contract basis. We have catalogued and classified a substantial amount of library books in many subjects (Subject Index) from Anthropology and Archaeology, to Rights & Titles and Intangible Culture & Literature, to name just a few. Use of BDC in our library collection provides a more modernised wide-ranging arrangement classified in a way that draws out the diversity and scope of Indigenous knowledge.

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About the region

Looking for activities to combine with a visit to Aanischaaukamikw? These websites can help you plan a trip to Eeyou Istchee/Baie-James.

Cree Outfitting and Tourism Association:  creetourism.ca

Tourisme Baie-James: tourismebaiejames.com

Voyages Eeyou Istchee Baie-James Travel :

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Accomodations

About the Oujé-Bougoumou

Oujé-Bougoumou is a United Nations award-winning community of 900 Crees, located near Chibougamau in northern Quebec. Built in the 1990’s, and guided by the eminent First Nations architect Douglas Cardinal, Oujé-Bougoumou was created from the vision of Elders in the latter part of the last century to be reunited once again as a community after decades of dispersal and forced relocations. 

The community offers a range of services, including Band and Council offices, a health care centre, Waahpitiewewan Elementary School, the Capississit Lodge, a well-stocked dépanneur, a cultural village, a competitive hockey arena and more.

Map

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