I am an Associate Professor at the iSchool, where I teach classes on the archival system and profession, archival arrangement and description, and personal and community archives. My work centers on personal archives – how and why they are created, and how archivists understand, represent and provide access to them. Most recently I have focused on archives created by communities organized around a particular topic, such as online grief support communities.
I have a background in English literature and completed my PhD in archival studies in the Faculty of Information, University of Toronto. 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.
- Personal archives
- Writers’ archives
- Archival arrangement and description
- History and evolution of archival theory
- Online communities and archives
- Archival representation
Refereed Journal Articles
- 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 Information33, no. 2 (July 2017): 89-105.
- Douglas, Jennifer. “Toward More Honest Description.” American Archivist79, no. 1 (Spring/Summer 2016): 26-55.
- Douglas, Jennifer. “Origins and Beyond: The Ongoing Evolution of Archival Ideas about Provenance.” In Currents of Archival Thinking, 2. 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.
- Douglas, Jennifer. “Letting Grief Move Me: Thinking Through the Affective Dimensions of Personal Recordkeeping.” In Moving Literary Papers, ed. Linda M. Morra. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, forthcoming.