Pro Tem, the bilingual student newspaper founded in 1962 at York’s Glendon College, is now available in electronic form along with archived issues dating back to its first publication. Pro Tem’s new Web site was launched on May 8 and is a joint venture between Leslie Frost Library and Glendon Advancement.
The newspaper’s Web site calls Pro Tem "York University’s oldest student-run publication and Ontario’s only bilingual newspaper." Until recently, it was also only available in paper format. Its history was haphazardly preserved through private collections of select issues in the basements and attics of former Pro Tem editors and other interested parties, but the newsprint on some of the oldest issues was beginning to yellow and crumble.
Left: Julianna Drexler (left) and Marie-Thérèse Chaput welcome guests to the launch of Pro Tem‘s Web site
Julianna Drexler, Frost Library’s head librarian, was an avid collector of Pro Tem, keeping every issue she could for the purpose of amassing an archival collection. Drexler has been supervising part-time students on the Pro Tem Web site project since 2005, funded by the Office of Student Affairs, Glendon College, and Associate Principal, Student Services, Louise Lewin. The students managed to organize and scan the available issues of the newspaper, despite the fragility of some of the copies and the lack of a scanner with the right dimensions, with the help of the York Digital Journals project, which currently provides accesses to 15 York University journals.
Right: former Pro Tem co-editor-in-chief Chris Spraakman (left) and Andy Michalski, Pro-Tem editor from 1970 to 1971
Under the direction of York digital initiatives librarian Andrea Kosavic, all the issues were digitized and hosted on the York Digital Journals site. "Our challenges were numerous and diverse," said Kosavic. "The huge volume of papers, the number of participants in the project, and the lack of appropriate technology resulted in slow progress, but we succeeded at last and we are very proud of the results."
Visitors to the Pro Tem Web site can browse through current or back issues as well as search for articles by title, author, date or text. "The project continues," added Kosavic. "We plan to create an abstract for each issue from the 1987-1988 academic year onwards and make it easier for Google search to pick them up so that the global community can access this wealth of historical documentation." Abstracts for issues published before 1987 have already been completed by Stefan Caunter (BA ‘90). As current issues become available, the database will be added to continuously.
Left: Visitors checking out the new Pro Tem Web site
Several former editors and contributors of Pro Tem as well as many Glendon alumni attended the gala launch of the newspaper’s Web site. Although the title of the newspaper, Pro Tem, has been used for over 40 years, according to the first issue, the name was supposed to be temporary until someone came up with a more eloquent title. The name, however, stuck and has been used ever since. Pro Tem means for the time being.
"This is an exciting project, because…now anyone can see how each year’s [newspaper] staff applied their energy and creativity and experimented with what they could produce," said Chris Spraakman, Pro Tem‘s former co-editor-in-chief with Julie Sage (2003-2004). "Working on this paper was the highlight of my degree," said Spraakman. "I learned as much at Pro Tem as I did in classes."
Drexler and Marie-Thérèse Chaput, director of Glendon advancement, co-hosted the Web site’s launch, while Kosavic introduced alumni, former Pro Tem staff, current students and faculty to the intricacies of navigating the Pro Tem Web site.
"This is great for Glendon," said Alex Ross, a second-year Glendon philosophy major and Pro Tem‘s incoming editor for 2008-2009. "The history of this newspaper is the history of the campus and it will now be preserved and available for research for anyone who wishes to do so."
Glendon is home to a large international student community and Pro Tem consistently reflects this diversity by publishing work by writers of various nationalities. It is dedicated to the power of the student voice.
Above: George Rust d’Eye (back left), Paul Sheppard, Bob Waller, Chris Spraakman, Andy Michalski, Tom Ellison, Paul Rabry (front left), Patrick Banville, Marisa Baratta, Christiane Beaupré, Alex Ross, Rosalie Taylor and Terry Walker
Many of Canada’s journalists got their start writing for Pro Tem, among them Harold Levy, John C. P. King, Andrew Nikiforuk, Rhéal Seguin, Vianney (Sam) Carrière, William Marsden, James Daw, Christopher Hume, John Spears, Nick Martin, and Paul Weinberg.
In addition to the Web site, there is also a physical archive at the Leslie Frost Library on the Glendon campus.
Submitted to YFile by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny.