Héritage / Library and Archives Canada tips

Discussion in 'Canadian' started by Richelieu, Jan 13, 2020.

  1. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    Over the past couple of years I have been dabbling with the Héritage collection with varying degrees of success and exasperation, but recently I had a Eureka moment – you can find the microfilm reel number in the LAC catalogue. You may still have to scroll through hundreds/thousands of pages to find what you are looking for but at least you will know that you are looking in the correct reel. N.B. There are some reels missing from Héritage and much of LAC’s collection is not available online.


    Note that the ‘Online’ filter applies only to documents on LAC’s own servers and should be disregarded for Héritage searches.

    URL syntax: http://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_c5734/3?r=0&s=2

    c5734 is the reel number – no hyphen. You will get a ‘Page Not Found’ error if the reel is unavailable.

    3 is the page number – if you pick a number out of range you will get a ‘Page Not Found’ error.

    r=0 is the orientation – scale 0 to 3.

    s=2 is the size/definition – scale 1 to 6, 6 being the largest.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2020
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  2. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    I use a similar method when navigating Heritage. It is faster to edit the URL line to move around than to click the links.
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  3. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    Requesting the digitisation of microfilm reels:

    CRKN: “As the materials in the Héritage collection come from Library and Archives Canada, the process to request their digitisation is completed through their website (process and link below)...

    Reel request process

    To request that a reel be digitised, please fill in the reproduction order form here: Order form for copies. There is no cost for this request. Please note under special instructions that you would like the Canadian Research Knowledge Network to digitize and upload the reel and we will then be able to process and upload it to Héritage. This process can take up to 12 weeks while LAC retrieve the reel and it goes through the digitization and cataloguing process. As the reel is digitised, catalogued, and uploaded to the website, you can track it’s process on our What’s New in the Collections page.”

    Some reels are still restricted but that these restrictions can be reviewed as follows:

    LAC: “We need to inform you that the requested material is Code 32: Restricted by Law. As a result, the terms of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act (ATIP) therefore apply and this material must go through an informal review by an ATIP analyst, in accordance with the legislation, before being made available for consultation or reproduction. This process may involve a time delay beyond our service standards. For more information regarding ATIP, please visit our website: Access to information and privacy - Library and Archives Canada

    If you already have an active request with ATIP to access this restricted material, please reply to this email and provide your ATIP request number.”

    EDIT: See New Resource - Canadian Photo Albums PDF for tips about accessing WW2 Canadian Film and Photo Unit (CFPU) collection at LAC.​
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2020
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  4. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    I received confirmation from CRKN today that my first request, to have reel C-5609 digitised, has borne fruit. This reel will be particularly useful to those interested in convoys TC 1 to TC 4. Its contents have been catalogued by LAC. This process began two years ago and took much longer than anticipated by anyone but was doubtlessly hampered by COVID. Hopefully future requests will be quicker.

    One frustration that I have encountered are reels ‘restricted by law’: reel C-4976 is a case in point. Although incomplete, some of these papers are freely available from TNA; some from NAA; and reel C-4975, containing the previous letters, has no restriction.

    It is unclear to me whether these are default settings or the result of conscious decisions. As mentioned above, you can ask for these decisions to be informally reviewed but my previous requests were unsuccessful. Only Canadian residents or citizens can request formal reviews, for a nominal fee. So if we have any Canadians interested in army development then I would encourage them to request a formal review of C-4976 - it should prove interesting.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2022
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  5. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    My number one Archives Canada tip is use the most random search terms you can think of.
    Far more interesting results with far more serendipitous finds than any attempt to search the damned thing 'properly'.
  6. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Thanks for getting this done. Missing those early convoy movements (TC-1 to TC-4) has been annoying.
  7. Richelieu

    Richelieu Well-Known Member

    If you want to skip straight to the convoys - TC 1 starts at image 2067; TC 2 at 2547; TC 3 at 3053 and TC 4 at 4133.

  8. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Thanks for the information. I have a spreadsheet that includes all Train Schedules along with ships east and west bound. I have page numbers for each ship. I am in the process of updating at the moment. I will PM you regarding the spreadsheet.
  9. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    Coincidentally, I had asked for a couple of reels to be added to Heritage via the CRKN route recently, and have a couple more pending. There is one I'm interested in that is likewise restricted by a Consultation 32 classification. I'm sure the process is covered in the above posts and link but I did ask the question as to whether a Consultation 32 can be reviewed with a view to being able to request digitisation using CRKN, and just got the below reply.

    "Yes, it is possible to submit an Access To Information and Privacy (ATIP) request for a reel to be reviewed. To do so, you would have to fill in an Access to Information form. However, you must be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident of Canada or an individual or corporation currently present in Canada in order to make a formal request under the Access to Information Act. Unless you meet these criteria, you will have to hire an independent researcher here in Canada for them to do the request on your behalf. A list of freelance researchers is available on our website: http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/freelance-researchers/Pages/freelance-researchers.aspx

    "The only way that a reel Restricted by law can be consulted is if it has been reviewed by ATIP and opened (code 90). Neither clients nor independent researchers can consult restricted reels without an ATIP request first. The independent researcher can indeed copy images of the open (code 90) reels."

    So as a UK citizen I cannot myself make such a request but there remains the possibility that a Canadian member can ask for a "32" reel to be reviewed and possibly cleared for upload to Heritage.

    My own searching of the Heritage reels has been a combination of just slogging through (and I have found stuff that way) or entering the reel number into the LAC catalogue to find what subjects are covered in it. Oddly, I can only get that to work by including the hyphen in the reel reference, and using the 'exact phrase' option in Advanced search.

  10. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian

    Have you asked whether there are finding aids for the parts you are interested in?

    I recently received this from someone at LAC - it's going to be made public and put on their website soon too. It's a finding aid for files on technical subjects related to WW2. Reels C-5770 to C-5847.

    This was really surprising to me to be honest (it was not what I was asking about, specifically; I was asking about photographs that were removed from the files prior to being turned into microfilm). I don't know whether they have other finding aids for the Heritage files or not.

    Attached Files:

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  11. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian

    On the subject of ATIP, my contact noted "While I am on the topic, there are seven reels of microfilm that remain restricted in this specific DND microfilming Job. With the finding aid, it is now possible to see exactly which files are on these reels - nothing classified about the titles of the reports! Should you wish to submit an Access to Information request, such request could specify either the files on these restricted reels, or the entire contents of these reels, be reviewed for release of information that no longer needs to remain restricted. The process would then involve digitizing these records and sharing whatever can be released directly... If memory serves, this would cost you $5."
  12. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian

    When the technical files were digitised in the 1950s, the pages that had photographs were set aside and kept in RG24 vols. 9391--9401. For instance Note for file - Photographs mentioned in this correspondence removed by Historical Section GS, AHQ [General Staff, Army Headquarters] in August 1954 prior to file being microfilmed

    These boxes are organized in three large files each, organized by the original filing numbers you will find in the microfilm front pages which start with 55, such as 55/549/9. I had a look at three of these boxes on Friday and it was amazing.

    This is what LAC wrote to me:

    The original Second World War-era Canadian Military Headquarters(London) 55-Block equipment evaluation reports were filmed and destroyed in mid-1954 by the Department of National Defence, mostly as a records storage space-saving initiative. The department described these as Job 72 of the overall filming project. These reports are now in LAC custody on microfilm reels C-5770 to C-5847, which is digitized on Canadiana's Héritage site (with 7 exceptions in the series for reels that contain restricted records). C-5770 contains a full index of these reports by title and file number, which appear to be the first 85 or so pages of the reel [https://heritage.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.lac_reel_c5770/1]. As a result of this request, we have built a basic file listing of the reports on these reels, which should be very useful, as files were filmed in ascending sequential order. We have created a new sub-series for these 55-block records, which will be available shortly under Mikan record number 5779272. This record will have the new finding aid attached to it.


    During the filming, photographs were deliberately removed from the appendices of these reports and filed separately by the DND historical section staff. These were eventually transferred as a separate collection to the National Archives of Canada. Today, the compiled photographs exist in a series of files in RG24 vols. 9391--9401. These are open and have no restrictions to consultation, but have not been digitized.

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