Waterloo librarian receives Talman Award

Thursday, July 5, 2018

University of Waterloo Library's digital archivist, Danielle Robichaud, has received the James J. Talman Award, named in honour of the second Archivist of Ontario.

Given by the Archives Association of Ontario (AAO), the award is presented when an individual "has demonstrated an outstanding level of imagination and innovation in contributing to the profession, his/her institution, or the archival community, or who has pioneered any aspect of archival work."

Danielle was chosen largely for her work in implementing Calls to Action (PDF) from the Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC), through increasing Indigenous representation on Wikipedia by: improving existing articles (with more than 4,250 edits to her credit), training archivists on editing Wikipedia, and leading Wikipedia Edit-a-thons. Danielle has helped organize multiple edit-a-thons at Waterloo and local public libraries, giving staff, students and community members the skills and empowerment to improve the representation of Indigenous peoples and women on the popular crowd-sourced site.

In describing why she chose to focus on Wikipedia, Danielle told the AAO:

"By making the decision to move beyond guilt and defensiveness to an action-oriented view of reconciliation, I focused on creating a reliable page to raise awareness about the school system and facilitate the retrieval of resources by others seeking to improve their own understanding of its impact."

After Danielle contributed 434 edits to the Wikipedia page on the Canadian Indian Residential School System, it was designated a Featured Article by Wikipedia's editors, placing it among the best Wikipedia has to offer. Danielle also created a webpage for the AAO, giving archivists the tools they need to help implement the Calls to Action in working Towards Truth and Reconciliation.

In a letter addressed to our University Librarian, Beth Namachchivaya, chair of the awards committee Carolynn Bart-Riedstra described Danielle as "an inspiration to her colleagues for her unending enthusiasm and accomplishments that transfer beyond the University of Waterloo. She is always willing to share her knowledge and expertise with colleagues and is a credit to you and the University of Waterloo." Congratulations, Danielle!

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