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Special Collections

A guide to the Library's various Special Collections.

Bras d'Or Collection

The Bras d’Or Collection has over 1,700 records (e.g., documents, reports and studies) related to Cape Breton Island's history, economy, natural resources and environment.

CBU Library's Bras d’Or Collection

Photo credit: Samantha Delaney

Many reports are of historical importance and give a picture of the changing economy of Cape Breton Island, especially related to steel-making, coal mining, the fisheries and agriculture. Some reports recount the efforts to diversify the economy and the state of the environment in a certain area, at a certain point in time. Engineering reports are about the state of municipal utilities and proposals for improvement.

Of special interest are the reports on the remediation of the Sydney Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens sites. Cape Breton University received the library of the Joint Action Group when it was dispersed. The CBU Library preserves reports that span the clean-up efforts starting in the 1980's and continuing through to the completion. The papers of the Joint Action Group are held at the Beaton Institute.

JDAC Environmental Site Assessment Report

Photo credit: Samantha Delaney

The Bras d'Or Collection only contains those reports that are not widely available, anyone doing research on Cape Breton should also search the Novanet catalogue for published material in the general collection.

Some of the Bras d'Or reports are searchable through the Novanet catalogue [Location Code: CBBDR]. Other materials are searchable through the Bras d'Or database where some of the reports have been digitized. The site is underdevelopment, with new reports being added daily.

The material is non-circulating. For access, please inquire at the Circulation Desk. You can view or search the collection here.