Laura Millar has worked as an archival, editorial, and information management consultant for close to 30 years, and she is the award-winning author of more than forty books and articles on archives, publishing, and distance education. She has taught editing, writing, and information management at the such institutions as University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Victoria. In 1984 she became the first graduate of UBC’s Master of Archival Studies program, and she received her PhD in archival studies from the University of London in 1996. She has consulted for governments and agencies around the world. She and her husband live in Roberts Creek, British Columbia.
Her first publication was A Manual for Small Archives, published by the Archives Association of British Columbia in 1988 and still available as an online publication through the AABC website. This manual was followed in 1989 by A Handbook for Records Management and College Archives and then by Archival Gold: Managing and Preserving Publishers’ Records, a publication of the Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing. Her 2009 work, The Story Behind the Book: Preserving Authors’ and Publishers’ Archives, was the first book in the JJ Douglas Library, a series of books about books from Simon Fraser University’ Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing (CCSP) Press.
The Story Behind the Book, edited by renowned British Columbia publisher James Douglas, for whom the JJ Douglas Library is named, highlights the value of authors’ and publishers’ archives and presents numerous anecdotes about the care of publishers’ and authors’ archives, including the story of the National Library of Scotland’s purchase of the business archives of the publishing house John Murray for £31 million; Sotheby’s auctioning the edited page proofs for Thomas Hardy’s novel Jude the Obscure for £162,500; and the sale of only one letter from D.H. Lawrence to Juliette Huxley for £1,875.In the foreword to the book, Ian Wilson, then Librarian and Archivist of Canada, encouraged authors and publishers to consider the value of their archival materials, suggesting that Millar’s book is a “thoughtful, contemporary approach to the preservation of writing and publishing records” and reminding writers and publishers that their “creativity, frustrations, and accomplishments must form part of our story” as a nation.
Millar’s most recent book, Archives: Principles and Practices, published in 2010, has been awarded the Society of American Archivists’ Waldo Gifford Leland Award, which recognizes "writing of superior excellence and usefulness in the field of archival history, theory, or practice" – it is the "best book of the year" award for archives in North America. Reviewers have praised this book as practical yet insightful, calling it “a thoughtful and comprehensive overview of the discipline” written in a “very readable and engaging” style.
Laura Millar is the daughter of author Dr. Thomas Millar [separate entry]
A Manual for Small Archives (Archives Association of British Columbia, 1989) 978-0-8649108-9-9
Archival Gold (Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing, 1989) 978-0-8649108-4-4
The Story Behind the Book: Preserving Authors’ and Publishers’ Archives (Canadian Centre for Studies in Publishing 2009) 978-0-9738727-4-3
Archives: Principles and Practices (Facet Publishing 2010) £44.95 ISBN: 978-1-85604-673-2