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Bulletin of the Bibliographical Society of Canada

ISSN: 0709-3756

Fall 2022
New Series, number 97

Table of Contents

President's Report
Member News
President's Report

This fall we are seeing an almost full return to in-person activities across the academy with teaching, learning, and research. Most of our members have transitioned back to classrooms, libraries, and conference rooms. As we adjust to the bustle of the new academic year and welcome back old faces and new to our spaces, it is important we continue to support each other through care and patience. The last few years have not only been isolating and destructive to our bodies, but also damaging to the social connections that bond us together. Virtual communication technologies like Zoom have enabled us to continue and maintain the activities of the Society, but it has been exhausting for our councilors and members to plan and participate during this tumultuous period. Therefore, I am excited to announce that our next Bibliographical and Book Studies in Canada conference will be held in-person at York University as part of the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in May 2023. Many of us have not seen each other in-person for several years and it will be wonderful for us to share our knowledge, discuss current trends and scholarship, and continue to connect and build the bonds of our Society during and after the conference.

In recognizing the 75th anniversary of the Society’s founding, our past Spring conference focused on the theme “At the Threshold: Looking Forward, Looking Back,” which called on presenters to reflect critically on the past, present, and future of bibliographical studies. The study of books is tied inexorably to the past where bibliographers and book historians examine the deeply rooted ways text shapes and reflects the world around it. Yet, our discipline also stands at the threshold of a profoundly uncertain future. Amidst change and transformation, presenters looked ahead to new ways of being and understanding in a mutable world. In so doing, presenters considered what formative legacies we wish to retain and honour—and which we might usefully move beyond towards the end of building a more vibrant and just world. There were several excellent panels that directly addressed this theme, and I am looking forward to these presentations making their way into the Papers/Cahiers.

This past year, the Society’s Council struck a subcommittee to study the feasibility of continuing to disseminate the Society’s peer-reviewed Papers/Cahiers scholarly journal in print, as well as online. The Papers/Cahiers exists to publish and disseminate scholarship in the field of bibliography broadly defined. Beyond monetary considerations, it takes significant human hours to bring print and electronic journal issues to completion. Our Society has always been a small organization, largely populated by librarians and teaching faculty. The amount of time that either group has for publishing scholarly work has diminished greatly over the last two decades and now largely takes place outside of traditional working hours. For many years now, the Papers/Cahiers has been available on the Open Journal Service, but also on Érudit, an open access platform supported by academic libraries in North America and Europe. The usage statistics for the Papers/Cahiers are strong and will only increase now that it is part of the Érudit program, which assists academic libraries and their users access our content. The Society is also compensated with royalties for digital access via Érudit. These royalties have largely offset the loss in revenue from the drop-off in institutional subscriptions for print issues as libraries shift towards electronic-preferred acquisition models.

At this past Spring Council meeting the subcommittee recommended the Society cease printing of the Papers/Cahiers, making it available online only. While going online only will still mean a great deal of work for the editorial team, it will still liberate some time, specifically around the production process. Councilors discussed the recommendation and passed the motion to cease printing of the Papers/Cahiers beyond issue 59. This decision was also discussed at the Annual General Meeting of members in the Spring. While most members will see this decision as a loss to the history of our Society and the wider traditions of bibliography and book history, it reflects the financial and labour challenges the humanities face in supporting print versions of scholarly journals. I am reminded that the purpose of our Society is the scholarly study of the history, description, and transmission of texts in all media and formats. As we move beyond celebrating the 75th anniversary of our Society, it is critical we continue to measure ourselves against this primary goal and consider how we can disseminate our publications to the widest possible audience through accessible online options. This does not mean the end of print for our Society. Our Council is considering several options for how to support printing and print culture in Canada with some of the funds that will be released from ceasing the print publication of the Papers/Cahiers.

I am tremendously grateful for the support I have received from our Council members and wider membership these past few months. I am thankful to Karen Smith for her continued counsel as Past-President, Svetlana Kochkina for coordinating a successful Spring conference and planning our next in-person conference at York University, Sarah Lake and Billy Johnson for coordinating our communications to the membership and wider public, Ruth Panofsky, Elizabeth Willson Gordon, Rachel Harris, Philippe Rioux, Ellen Forget, and Sarah Severson for steering our publications and ensuring they are open and discoverable, and Tom Vincent and Andrew Stewart for making sure we continue to be a sustainable society to support bibliography and book studies in Canada.

I would also like to thank our outgoing Councilor Susan Cameron, Scott Schofield, and Myra Tawfik for their service the past few years on our Council and committees. We also have new members on Council, including Isabelle Robitaille as our second Vice-President, and our new councilor cohort of Heather Dean, Danielle Fuller, and Karina Vernon.

Our Conference, Awards, and Fellowship Committees will be sending out calls-for-proposals in the coming weeks so please look for updates via the BIBSOCAN listserv, our website, and social media. I thank our Councilors on those committees for ensuring junior and senior scholars continue to get financial support to produce bibliographical and book studies research at our conferences and publications.

Stay safe and I look forward to seeing many of you at our in-person conference in 2023!
Chris J. Young

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Member News
Documenting Social Movement: Bibliography, Archives, and Protest
March 6, 2023
10am PT/1 pm ET/ 6pm BST
Despite working under precarious and hostile circumstances, oppressed groups have produced an enduring archive of records and media that document their struggles. Preserving and accessing these materials poses various challenges. When collected at all, surviving documents are scattered across multiple collections of personal papers or organizational records in one or more repositories. To address this and other concerns, community-based institutions have been founded, with explicit mandates to collect such materials. Posters, pamphlets, and other protest ephemera have also increasingly been sought by academic libraries. Join us for a presentation by representatives from collecting institutions in Canada, England, and the United States of America who will discuss the history, status, and vitality of their social movement collections. Pre-recorded talks by representatives from three institutions will be followed by a live, moderated discussion.
This presentation is sponsored jointly by the Bibliographical Society (UK), the Bibliographical Society of America, and the Bibliographical Society of Canada and will be presented in English, with captions in both English and French. Presentations will be broadcast on YouTube Premier, but registration is required to attend the discussion. Please find the registration page here.

History of the Book in Australia

Devotees of national book history projects will be interested to learn that work has resumed on Volume One of a History of the Book in Australia. While Volumes Two and Three were published in 2001 and 2006 respectively, the first book in the series was delayed for financial and administrative reasons. Editor Wallace Kirsop advises that work on the first volume, Establishing a Colonial Print Culture (1788-1890), is now well-advanced. Co-edited with Elizabeth Webby, it will be published in 2023 by Ancora Press. The book has a Canadian connection: Judy Donnelly, project manager of A History of the Book in Canada/L’histoire du livre et de l’imprimé au Canada, who relocated to Melbourne several years ago, is assisting with editorial duties.

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Announcing a new exhibition at Bruce Peel Special Collections, University of Alberta
Ancestors: Indigenous Peoples of Western Canada in Historic Photographs 
Curators: Sarah Carter and Inez Lightning
21 Sept 2022 to 31 March 2023

This exhibition will explore a selection of photographs from a rich and diverse collection with potential for enhancing our understanding of the history, economies, culture, ceremonies, and art of the Indigenous Peoples of the western provinces. By sharing the many insights and perspectives generously provided to them by Elders and keepers of traditional knowledge, the curators hope to show us some of the ways that the photographs in this exhibition represent more than moments frozen in time; they carry stories and legacies into the future.

To learn from these photographs, it is crucial that we try to understand them in context. Most of these photographs were created in the nineteenth century by non-Indigenous photographers. Frequently sold as souvenirs or postcards, these images of Indigenous peoples were contrived and disseminated for commercial, ideological, and imperial reasons, and they seemed to satisfy a hunger for exotic, nostalgic, and romanticized depictions of so-called “vanishing” peoples.

The exhibition catalogue—winner of the Margaret McWilliams Book Award in the Popular History category, one of three finalists in the Women Writers category for a High Plains Book Award, and recognized with an honorable mention (8. Exhibition Catalogues) in the annual University & College Designers Association (UCDA) Awards—is available for purchase through University of Alberta Press or Indigo.

Many of the photographs from the Indigenous Photograph Collection can be viewed online through the Internet Archive.

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Book cover for Ancestors: Indigenous Peoples of Western Canada in Historic Photographs. The cover features a black-and-white photograph of two adults in traditional Indigenous clothing riding horses. Behind the horses are a child, a dog, and another horse.
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