5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About the RCRF

The Research & Collections Resource Facility is the newest building to open its doors at the U of A, and for those who haven't ventured…

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The Research & Collections Resource Facility is the newest building to open its doors at the U of A, and for those who haven't ventured over yet* (and even for those who might have), here are five things you probably didn't know about the RCRF:

1) The design was inspired by wine vineyard architecture

Image for PostImage for PostLeft: RCRF Design | Right: A Winery Design (Courtesy of 50th Parallel Estate Winery)

Benjamin Louie, University Architect and former Chief Librarian Gerald Beasley searched for creative solutions to design a new facility that wouldn't look like a barn or a warehouse. The aim was to create a comfortable space where knowledge and scholarship could be enjoyed while simultaneously providing copious amounts of storage and functional space for materials processing.

They found inspiration in the architecture of a winery. As you know, a winery has a storage area for barrels and cases of bottles on shelves, a processing area, and often a tasting room for visitors and connoisseurs. Ben presented this idea and Gerald replied, "I like to drink books in the evening after supper." The design was decided and now the RCRF is open for "sampling!"

2) The RCRF was designed with sustainability and the environment in mind

The facility was awarded Green Globes certification, which means the RCRF was built thinking about energy conservation, lowering water consumption, and responsible use of building materials.

3) UAlberta Libraries are digitizing the collection in a big way

The RCRF will be home to 5 new digitization scribes. Our goal is to digitize material within the archive to make research widely available to the public. This program is a partnership between the UAlberta Libraries and Internet Archive.

We have the opportunity to digitize rare items in the tens of thousands… if not more!

4) We have a book vacuum!

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Books sometimes come in dirty or dusty - so we have a special book vacuum to ensure that materials come back into the collection space clean. We also have quarantine cabinets and a freezer to keep items clean, prepare them for further archiving measures, and protect other items in the collection.

5) Unique Collections, such as Anne Wheeler's films, are kept in ideal conditions to preserve for future generations

This facility has been awarded the Movable Cultural Property designation from the Government of Canada, meaning that the security and environmental controls create an ideal setting for preserving cultural heritage for the people of Alberta.

* The Archives reading room at the RCRF is available by appointment for researchers. Retrieval requests can be made to the University of Alberta Archives using the Material Access Request Form.by appointment for researchers. Retrieval requests can be made to the University of Alberta Archives using the Material Access Request Form.