Shared Emotions - McCord Museum

Collections and Research

Shared Emotions

Uncovering the sentiments buried in archival documents

Anyone who has ever read archival documents like letters and diaries knows that these witnesses of the past can be full of emotion. Such documents may convey feelings, sensations, attitudes, values and ideologies, aspects that are often ignored by the traditional indexing process (tagging documents using keywords) and thus difficult to track down in historical records.

The goal of the Shared Emotions project is to make it easier for researchers and members of the public to locate elements associated with the history of sensibilities. By developing and implementing an innovative procedure to index emotional themes, the McCord Museum hopes to showcase one of the strengths of its Textual Archives collection, a corpus that contains numerous personal documents illustrating the social, cultural, emotional and intimate dimensions of life in Montreal.

Building on the digitization projects carried out at the Museum over the past few years, this initiative has enhanced the descriptions and indexing of digitized archives to make them more accessible and easier to find on the Web.

With the financial support of Library and Archives Canada, our team has written up detailed descriptions of 100 groups of archival records from 29 different fonds and collections. In addition, some 200 individual items have been described and indexed, and 48 of the most compelling ones have undergone a participatory transcription process, making these handwritten documents easier to locate and read.


To share the discoveries made en route, 12 articles highlighting various topics associated with the history of sensibilities will be published in the coming year.

Discover these texts on the Museum’s blog.

To learn more

Processed archival fonds and collections

Archives and documentation centre

Open to the public Tuesday to Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to noon, and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (closed on legal holidays)

By appointment only:
514-861-6701 ext. 1249

Not to be missed!

This Project has been made possible in part by the Documentary Heritage Communities Program offered by Library and Archives Canada.

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Not to be missed!