British Columbia Remembers the Great War

British Columbia Remembers the Great War

Dennis Duffy
Dennis Duffy

Dennis DuffyArchivist (Retired)

Why did you want to become an archivist?
I’ve always been interested in stories about BC’s pioneer days, ghost towns and so on.  Like ghost towns, archival records are another kind of relic from the past and provide us with windows to look into that past.  My work with archival films and sound recordings gives me a set of especially interesting windows to look through.

How did you become an archivist?
Through my background in audio-visual media.  I was first hired in 1978 as a summer student, to copy sound recordings for preservation.  I later worked as a contractor and my role gradually expanded; I was asked to research, write and edit books, to identify films made in British Columbia and eventually to help the BC Archives acquire and preserve historic films about BC.  Finally, in 1998, I was given the opportunity to join the regular staff of the archives.  (It only took me 20 years!)

What do you do as an archivist?
I still do some work with the sound and film collections.  But I also help to deal with new acquisitions of archival records; with arranging and describing collections of records; with descriptive data and databases; and with many other projects.  Recently, I edited a video production based on old films of soldiers in Victoria and Vancouver, training and preparing to leave BC to fight in the First World War.  The video will be part of an exhibit commemorating the 100th anniversary of that war.

What did you enjoy most from working with the First World War film footage?  I had about an hour’s worth of footage to work with – most of it raw or unedited.  It was a very interesting challenge to work with this material to construct the short montages and tell a series of visual stories.  The First World War era songs really helped in bringing the silent footage to life.  I had a lot of fun trying to synch up bits of the action with changes in the music – for instance, so that a trumpet fanfare in the song is heard when you see trumpet-playing soldiers on the screen.  I got a kick out of doing that!
Raymond Frogner
Raymond Frogner

Raymond FrognerFormer Archivist

Why did you want to become an archivist? 

I have always been interested in learning about the past we share, in the idea of recording and preserving our memory, and how we are what we choose to remember and forget. 

How did you become an archivist? 

 After spending years researching in archives, I decided to learn about the opposite side of the process. I attended the University of British Columbia’s master of archival studies program, then found work in various archives in western Canada. 

What do you do as an archivist? 

Appraising, selecting and acquiring records, researching and writing about the identity of records, their creators, and the context of creation. I also preserve records, provide access and understanding of records through finding aids, liaise with researchers, and create digital and analogue projects to depict the functions, interactions, and relationships between people and the records they create.