About us...

Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute is a museum, archive, library and a teaching centre.

ACCI flows from the knowledge that Cree culture must be captured, maintained, shared, celebrated, and practiced or it will wither and die. Cree Elders have spoken of the need for a central place for the protection of the way, and have developed a vision for Aanischaaukamikw over several decades.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Adapting Brian Deer - Week #6

Week #6 - March 23-27, 2015 

There are little things that trip me up now that I am more familiar with Deer.  That being said, I am also finding the mistakes easier to find after I make them.

Every once and while I will be on a roll, giving books call numbers in quick succession.  You can guess where the book should be placed by the title; you confirm the topic (by reading the back of the book and checking out the table of contents) and moving to check the author and date of the book. It can be a few seconds to place a book now compared to the 2-10 minutes I used to take for each title.  However, I find that I am less careful than when we first started.  With speed (and sometimes because of my overconfidence), a few little mistakes are made every once and a while.

The shelves are filling up!

Today I was placing call numbers on the book and found 2 call numbers where I had forgotten to add the author code after the subject and place codes.  I put the books aside, went back into the database to make the change.  I fixed the call numbers and reprinted the stickers.

Other times it can be something as simple as mixing up letters in your head.  Canadian Arctic material goes under “CS”, United States of America Arctic region (Alaska) goes under “CVA” and International Arctic goes under “DA.”  Upon review of some titles, I found that I had placed many titles that should have been under “CVA” under the general North American Indigenous Peoples code “CY” and then placed a geographic code for Alaska “UAK” after it.  While it could technically be correct using “CY UAK,” using “CVA” is a much more accurate call number as it keeps the Inuit material together rather than mixing it in, with say Athapaskan.

We take these little mistakes in stride and check each other’s work every once in a while.  When we make changes to the classification system itself, we know that we will have to go back and redo some titles, but more on that soon.

Written by Raegan M. Swanson

Friday, March 20, 2015

Adapting Brian Deer - Week #5

Week #5 - March 16-20, 2015

One of the great things about the Brian Deer Classification Plan is that there isn’t one strict category for each book. A book about the Cree and their land in Quebec might go under History & Culture – Cree – Quebec, or might be more suitable in Title and Land History – Quebec, with a Cree cutter code following it. Whichever one we chose would be correct, but we want to be as accurate as possible to the topic of the book as possible. Some books are very clear, but others take a little bit of investigation to pin down what they are really about.

Hunting Tradition in a Changing World: Yup’ik Lives in Alaska Today

When I came across Hunting Tradition in a Changing World: Yup’ik Lives in Alaska Today, it seemed very simple: this one would go under Nature & Ecological Knowledge – Traditional Hunting – Inuit, wouldn’t it? The back cover at first seemed to agree, explaining that the Yup’it today continue to engage in traditional hunting methods. However, “hunting” in the next paragraph was used as a metaphor for Yup’ik men and women searching for their history for the survival of their cultural identity.  Would this book then be under Roles & Relationships – Indigenous Identity – Inuit? The Contents page and the Library of Congress subject headings it had been assigned did not help clarify anything for me, so I turned to a chapter and started reading. The chapter was about the non-Yup’ik author’s experience of receiving a name in the community. Anthropologists tend to squeeze their own experiences into their books, turning the focus away from a people’s own experience of their traditions and their identities to make it more of a “scientific” test of a culture that is not the author’s own. 

So I decided it was best suited to Anthropology – Social and Cultural – Ethnography and Ethnology – Inuit.

Thank goodness the next book was more straightforward: Cultural Identity and Ethnicity in the Pacific was classified under Roles & Relationships – Indigenous Identity – Oceania. Easy!

Written by Ashley Dunn

For past blog posts - check out the following:
Week #1-#2
Week #3
Week #4

Monday, March 16, 2015

Adapting Brian Deer - Week #4

Week #4 - March 9-13, 2015

We are into our fourth week since we began using the Brian Deer Classification System to organize our library material at Aanischaaukamikw.  When I was first introduced to the system around 2012 and saw the classification plan it looked difficult to understand and I didn’t feel confident enough to tackle it on my own.  I wanted to visit a Cree/Native library that used this system to see first-hand how they were using it and to find out how it was working for them.  We were going to meet Tim Deer at Kahnawake, but we had to cancel our trip.  When Ashley showed me the steps in adding the call numbers, I was surprised, as what had seemed too difficult to comprehend turned out to be reasonably easy!

Since then the Brian Deer Classification System seems less complicated to me then when I first saw it.  For me, the challenge lies in trusting my judgement in developing accuracy to divide the books by their topics/subjects.  I keep asking Raegan and Ashley whether I have chosen the right topic for each book.  What I like about the system is that we can change or add additional information to suit the unique needs of our library material. I think the Brian Deer Classification System was a great choice to use because it provides us with the ease of either revising or expanding it to meet our needs.  For example I like what Raegan and Ashly did by adding “CDB” to specify “James Bay/Hudson Bay” to the Continents, Regions, Countries, & Names cutters. 

Written by Annie Bosum

Friday, March 6, 2015

Adapting Brian Deer - Week #3

Week 3 - March 2-6, 2015

Sometimes, after you start a project, you have to go back and make some changes.  This is how we started this third week of implementing Deer.  Ashley had been thinking about the call number structure and the order of the cutter codes didn’t sit right with her.  We discussed it, and decided to go back and make some changes to books that we had already worked on. 

Originally the call numbers looked like this:
1. Class designator (1-6 letters)
2. One Person cutter code (author/creator)
3. Place-specific cutter code (if applicable)
4. Date
5. Volume Number (when present)

Now our New call numbers would look like this:
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)

Ashley took each of the books that needed to be redone (around 60 titles) and printed new labels for the books.  This didn’t take as much time as creating labels since it was a question of moving cutter code 2 and 3 around.  She changed the call number in the database and then copied and pasted the new call number into the label template.

Only some of these books have stickers...

We have run into a supply situation… we are out of clear stickers to protect barcodes and call numbers.  While an order has been placed, we will continue to make call numbers and place them on books.  Once the clear stickers arrive then we will go back and cover up the call numbers.

We have also continued to add and refine our Classification Plan.  Place names and sub-headings get added almost every other day.  These subjects were either not in the Classification Plan at all and needed to be added, or the idea was there and the content had to be adjusted to be more inclusive.  

We are still asking each other questions as we work.  We each have a print-out of the Classification Plan and one master Classification Plan on our shared server space.  We write in the changes and at the end of the day we make those changes to the digital document.  If there have been lots of different changes, then we print out new plans for each of us.  We want to control the number of versions that exist of the Classification Plan and this is an easy way to do it.

Annie hard at work
We are creating call numbers faster and faster with each passing day.  There will always be books that are more difficult to classify then others, but we need to consult each other less and less.
It has been so great to see the shelves filling up with labeled books!

Written by Raegan M. Swanson

Adapting Brian Deer - Week #1-2

Week 1-2, March 17-27, 2015

On Tuesday March 17th 2015 we officially started with the call number labeling.  Within the first day, we realised that there would be a lot of additions, clarifications and notes that we would need to add to our guide to make it accessible and easy to use.

The first thing we did was simplify the cutter codes.  The UNBC model had both numbers and letters.  Each letter corresponded to a number depending on if it was a consonants or vowel (see chart below). 

UNBC Deer Cutter Codes After Other Consonants
For the second letter:
Use number:

We wanted to keep it simple, and we decided that we were only going to use letters for cutter codes.  Author codes would be the first 3 letters of the author’s last name with no numbers.  If there was more than one author or editor, it would be the first listed.  If it was a company, museum or government who created the book, we made simple rules to follow and placed these rules in the Classification Plan.

We each took a pile of books to our desks.  These books had already been entered into our MINISIS database so we used the bar code to call up the book in the system.  We created a call number based on the classification system, using our best judgement to make the final call for which subject the book would be placed under.  We then entered in the call number into the database record.  We copied the call number from the database and placed it directly into our individual spreadsheets.

Ashley with the first labels printed out.

After each person had filled a full sheet (we had 56 labels per page), we would print the labels out and put them on the books.  Each call number was covered with a plastic label for protection.

Ashley and our first finished book.

Throughout this process, we had multiple discussions.  “What do you think about this book?” was asked over and over again.  Each time we hesitated, we consulted one another, allowing us to troubleshoot as we worked.  If we were missing a topic, such as imperialism, we would talk about where we could place it in the current list or where it could be incorporated if changes were made.  We added place names and designators to our lists and many sub categories throughout the first two weeks of implementation.

The first cart of books (day 1).

Communication between the three of us working on the project (Annie, Ashley and myself) was of the utmost importance, notably if we thought the book could have multiple designators.

Keep checking the blog for more updates about the Library!

Written by Raegan M. Swanson