Out and about

Last week I had a bit of a change from my normal routine. I went to the University of Manchester to take part in a training course, and the archives hosted a visit from 46 members of the York Civic Trust.

As I’ve mentioned before, the new digital catalogue will be available online. There are a number of ways we could do this, but the one we hope to use is the Archives Hub. The Archives Hub is a JISC-funded service that supports education and research by helping archives to get their catalogues online. They don’t hold material themselves, but are an aggregator where you can search archives from hundreds of repositories without going to their individual websites. They also conduct research and development work on data and technology with partners all over the world.

They run free training days where you can learn how to add catalogues to the Hub. This is what I went along to on Tuesday.

IT Training room at the University of Manchester

It was a really useful day. I learned how to use the Hub, and tips and hints for making our catalogue work with their system. It was interesting to see the variety of attendees, from trainee and student archivists, cataloguers like myself, to librarians who are unfamiliar with archival methods but have responsibility for original material. There were also a number of participants from The National Archives, who provide the online services ARCHON and the National Register of Archives who wanted to gain insight into the way the Hub works.

It was great for me to discuss my project and other peoples’, hear about successes and problems, and ask questions about our specific needs. I feel like I have a good understanding of what we need to do and who to talk down the line to make sure that everything is compatible. Many thanks to Jane Stevenson and Lisa Jenkins for a very interesting day!

On Wednesday I was again fortunate to meet new faces, this time archive enthusiasts from the York Civic Trust who came on a half-day visit to the archives. I am afraid I don’t have any photos, but the visitors attended two talks by Richard Taylor, Archives and Local History Development Manager, on the past and future of the service and were shown behind the scenes by the Civic Archivist, Victoria Hoyle. I then gave a brief introduction to the City Making History project and what we hoped to achieve. I really enjoyed meeting the members and answering their perceptive questions which included disposal,  cataloguing processes and plans for future projects. Unfortunately we ran out of time, but hopefully everyone enjoyed their visit.

In the future when the archive has moved,  we hope to do tours more often for all sorts of different groups but at the moment we are very limited by space and staffing.

This week I’m back to my research, but with a boost from interacting with others who are engaged with our work and looking forward to the outcome. Though we can’t run behind the scenes tours very often, you can ask me questions on here anytime so if there’s anything you ever wondered about archives in general or this one more specifically then don’t be shy – leave a comment. You can even post anonymously if you’d prefer!

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