Jennifer Douglas

Associate Professor

School of Information

I am an Associate Professor at the iSchool, where I teach classes on archival arrangement and description, personal and community archives.

I earned my PhD from the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto, where I focused on the many and varied processes and agents that shape personal archives and how (inadequately) these are represented by traditional archival principles and methods.

The overarching question that motivates my research is: What are the roles of recordkeeping and archive making in the intimate and emotional lives of individuals and communities, and what are archivists’ responsibilities to support, represent and make space for these roles? My current research, which has been supported by a Hampton New Faculty Award (2017-19), SSHRC Insight Development Grant (2018-20), and a SSHRC Insight Grant (2020-23) focuses on how individuals and communities use records in processes of grief and bereavement, on the intimate relationships between records and their creators, and on how a better understanding of the emotional and affective roles of records in peoples’ lives might contribute to more person-centred  and care-oriented archival theory and praxis.

Recent talks

“Keep Running Towards the Danger: On the Transformative Potential of Archival Care.” Archives Society of Alberta Biennial Conference, Edmonton, AB, May 25-27, 2023.



Chow, June and Jennifer Douglas. “From Salvage to Strategy: A Conversation with Paul Yee on Archival Consciousness and the Chinese Canadian Archival Record.” BC Studies 218 (Summer 2023): 73-103.

Douglas, Jennifer. “On ‘Holding the Process’: Paying Attention to the Relations Side of Donor Relations.” Archives & Manuscripts 50, no. 2 (2023): pp. 23-42.

Douglas, Jennifer, Mya Ballin and Jessica Lapp. “Introduction.” Archivaria 94: Special Issue – Toward Person-Centred Archival Theory and Practice. Eds. Jennifer Douglas, Mya Ballin, Jessica Lapp and Sadaf Ahmadbeigi. (Fall 2022): 5-21.

Douglas, Jennifer, Alexandra Alisauskas, Elizabeth Bassett, Noah Duranseaud, Ted Lee and Christina Mantey. “‘These Are Not Just Pieces of Paper’: Acknowledging Grief and Other Emotions in Pursuit of Person-Centred Archives.” Archives & Manuscripts 50, no. 1 (2022).

Douglas, Jennifer. “Research from the Heart: Friendship and Compassion as Research Values.” Australian Feminist Studies 36 (2021): 109-125.

Douglas, Jennifer and Alexandra Alisauskas. “‘It Feels Like a Life’s Work’: Recordkeeping as an Act of Love.” Archivaria 91 (Spring/Summer 2021): 6-37.

Douglas, Jennifer, Alexandra Alisauskas and Devon Mordell. “‘Treat Them With the Reverence of Archivists:’ Records Work, Grief Work and Relationship Work in the Archives.” Archivaria 88 (Fall 2019): 84-120. Available in cIRcle.

Katie Sloan, Jennifer Vanderfluit, and Jennifer Douglas. “Not ‘Just My Problem to Handle’: Emerging Themes on Archivists and Secondary Trauma.” Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies 6 (2019).

Douglas, Jennifer and Allison Mills. “From the Sidelines to the Centre: Reconsidering the Potential of the Personal in Archives.” Archival Science 18, no. 3 (2018): 257-277.

Douglas, Jennifer. “A Call to Rethink Archival Creation: Exploring Types of Creation in Personal Archives.” Archival Science 18, no. 1 (2018): 29-49.

Douglas, Jennifer. “Getting Personal: Personal Archives in Archival Programs and Curricula.” Education for Information 33, no. 2 (July 2017): 89-105.

Douglas, Jennifer. “Toward More Honest Description.” American Archivist 79, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2016): 26-55.

Douglas, Jennifer. “The Archiving ‘I’: A Closer Look.” Archivaria 79 (Spring 2015): 53-89. Available at:

MacNeil, Heather and Jennifer Douglas. “Generic Evolution and the Online Archival Catalogue.” Archives and Records 36.2 (2015): 107-127.

Douglas, Jennifer and Heather MacNeil. “The Generic Evolution of Calendars and Inventories at the Public Archives of Canada, 1884-ca.1975.” American Archivist 77 (Spring/Summer 2014): 151-174.

MacNeil, Heather and Jennifer Douglas. “The Generic Evolution of Calendars and Guides at the Public Record Office of Great Britain, ca. 1838-1968.” Information and Culture 49 (Aug/Sept 2014): 294-326.

Douglas, Jennifer. “What We Talk About When We Talk About Original Order in Writers’ Archives.” Archivaria 76 (Fall 2013): 7-25. Available at:

Douglas, Jennifer and Heather MacNeil. “Arranging the Self: Literary and Archival Perspectives on Writers’ Archives.” Archivaria 67 (Spring 2009): 25-39. Available at:
[This article has been translated into Croatian for the archival journal Arhivski vjesnik.]

Douglas, Jennifer. “‘Kepe wysely youre wrytngys…’: The Fifteenth-Century Letters of Margaret Paston.” Libraries and the Cultural Record 44.1: 29-49.

Book Chapters

Douglas, Jennifer. “Archiving’s ‘Archival Turn’: Looking Back on the History/Archives Debate in Canada.’ In “All Shook Up”: The Archival Legacy of Terry Cook. Eds. Tom Nesmith, Joan Schwartz and Greg Bak. Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2020, 28-34.

Douglas, Jennifer. “Letting Grief Move Me: Thinking Through the Affective Dimensions of Personal Record-keeping.” In Moving Archives. Ed. Linda M. Morra. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2020, 147-167.

Douglas, Jennifer. “Origins and Beyond: The Ongoing Evolution of Archival Ideas about Provenance.” In Currents of Archival Thinking, 2nd. . Eds. Heather MacNeil and Terry Eastwood. Santa Barbara: Libraries Unlimited, 2017.

Jennifer Douglas. “Original Order, Added Value? Archival Theory and the Douglas Coupland fonds.” In The Boundaries of the Literary Archive: Reclamation and Representation. Eds. Carrie Smith and Lisa Stead. London: Ashgate, 2013, 45-57.

Jennifer Douglas. “Origins: Evolving Ideas About the Principle of Provenance.” In Currents of Archival Thinking. Eds. Heather MacNeil and Terry Eastwood. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Libraries Unlimited, 2010, 23-43.