Jennifer Douglas

Assistant Professor

iSchool (Library, Archival and Information Studies)

I am an Assistant Professor at the iSchool, where I teach classes on the archival system and profession, archival arrangement and description, and 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. My dissertation, and the article “Toward More Honest Description,” published in American Archivist, suggest several ways archival representation of personal archives – and institutional archives, too – can do better.

My dissertation, entitled “Archiving Authors: Rethinking the Analysis and Representation of Personal Archives,” won the 2013 iSchools Dissertation Award. In 2014, my article “What We Talk About When We Talk About Original Order in Writers’ Archives,” based on my dissertation research, won the 2014 W. Kaye Lamb prize from Archivaria, for the article that most advanced archival thinking in Canada.

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, supported by a Hampton New Faculty Award and through a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, focuses on how individuals and communities use records in processes of grief and bereavement, and on how a better understanding of the emotional and affective roles of records in peoples’ lives might contribute to more sensitive, engaging and responsive archival access systems.

From 2016 to 2019, I am the General Editor of Archivaria.