The University of New Brunswick Archives go online with Eloquent Archives

image for New Brunswick UniversityThis case study of UNB, established in 1785, includes several direct links into the universities’ online archives database – a great way to discover their rich heritage!

The University of New Brunswick’s Archives & Special Collections department has been in existence since 1931, gathering the rich history of UNB which was established in 1785. In that same year, the library moved to the top floor of what used to be called the Old Arts Building, now referred to as Sir Howard Douglas Hall. (Click image for larger view.)

Along with the contents of the library, a collection of university records dating back to university’s founding in 1785, was moved to the new library building. Since 1931 and through two subsequent moves, Archives & Special Collections has been part of UNB Libraries. Over those years materials have been described and made accessible through hand written acquisitions lists, typed finding aids, web pages, databases, and in various iterations of the library catalogue.

In 2012 after several years of behind the scenes inputting, the department went live with its Eloquent Archives database, The Gateway. The department now accessions all material through the Eloquent administrative module, and uses the web front end for public access to university records, and literary and historical manuscripts.

These include the papers of Sir Charles G.D. Roberts, a Fredericton born, UNB-educated author and poet, the Right Honourable R. B. Bennett fonds, and Lord Beaverbrook’s Canadian Correspondence

This last fonds is an excellent example of Eloquent and its staff’s ability to use cross-walks in moving records from traditional library catalogues to more appropriate archival description platforms. The Beaverbrook records had been in a MARC format in the library catalogue which created retrieval problems for patrons and departmental staff. Having the file-level records searchable from the same database as related collections and fonds has been a great improvement.

Eloquent has also made possible ongoing consistency in the description of print and digital sources. In the case of the UNB Yearbooks, once print material has been digitized it can be served up directly from the Gateway through flip books. In the case of other media, such as UNB Football films a hand-off to a Vimeo subscription account works well.

So – in brief – Eloquent has been a solution to tracking acquisitions and to describing and providing access to material in any format. Our next steps will see the addition of donor files for staff use.

Case Study written by:

Francesca Holyoke; BA(UNB), MLIS(Dal)
Head, Archives & Special Collections


Patti Auld Johnson; Bachelor of Office Management (UNB)
Certificate in Records Management (Mohawk)
Archives Assistant

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