As mentioned a few weeks back, I’ve been working on a Collections Information Policy for Archives and Special Collections here at the University of Huddersfield.
I now have a draft which is out to consultation including from the wider professional community.
Please feel free to comment!
There are distinct and exciting possibilities here… needs musing on. Navigation & presentation not wonderful, but have a play though:
All 9,866,539 buildings in the Netherlands, shaded according to year of construction.
A summary of the api at http://dev.citysdk.waag.org/
Netherlands buildings/dates website – screenshot
I guess this must be central Amsterdam although I couldn’t get the “data” part to display on the site
I’m just configuring our Calm system here at the University, writing our first Collections Information Policy and writing a calm user guide-and-procedures-manual. As all these activities overlap, I’m kind of multitasking so that they mutually inform and reinforce one another (well, that’s the hope anyway!!).
It’s exciting times for the Service because we currently have a three part-time Assistants and a (paid!) graduate intern, and a new Assistant Archivist starting at the end of this month. As well as some project staff, if all goes according to plan over the next few weeks… The multiple people and mostly part-time nature of our posts means we have to get some of this stuff down on paper to establish principles now.
After a good 6 years away from direct cataloguing practice, it’s good to get my head back into standards, best practice and the use of calm for cataloguing.
Probably shouldn’t confess this, but the procedures manual/user guide is based on the one I originally wrote for the calm implementations at Lambeth Palace Library, subsequently updated & amended for the Royal Northern College of Music and then for Rotherham Archives & Local Studies. I get a little frisson from seeing the examples I included for/from those repositories – the Bell Papers (Lambeth), the Brodsky archive (RNCM), and all the South Yorkshire place names which resulted from an extensive piece of work with the local geography and maps expert on the staff at Rotherham, my colleague Sally. Good times!
I’m proud of my track record in implementing Calm – hopefully my successors aren’t reaping any difficulties I didn’t foresee (use the comments to tell me if so please so I can avoid making the same mistakes again!). And I’m *really* excited about the Service here at Huddersfield moving into a phase of actually making inroads into our cataloguing backlog, and learning from the reflection and practice of other colleagues to get the users and the stuff together – which is the whole point of this archives thing….
Just to complete the trip down my memory lane, here’s a musical palimpsest from the Digital Image Archive of Medieval Music
Event run by the University’s Centre for Visual & Oral History Research (programme unavailable online). Missed Dr Rob Perks’ intro but just picking up on the discussion: initial question about the availability & “archiving” (ie deposit)of HLF funded projects under the £82 million programme.
Now into series of presentations on “oral history & contested spaces”, a series of case studies on current research into areas as diverse as the Allied bombing of France in WW2, hitchhiking & experiencing gender. Continue reading
The latest Museum Practice looks at how opening collections up and allowing visitors to touch and handle artefacts doesn’t have to be at odds with conservation concerns.
This is something we know all about in archives! – and it’s something many users are very excited about.
“Can I touch it? – Yes. Do I have to wear gloves? – No. Wow!” is a typical exchange.
Unlike museum objects which are often in cases (for sound conservation reasons), most archives are there to be touched. It’s the “getting to the archival documents in the first place” bit that the archives domain could learn from museums.
I make no apology for repeating the topic of a previous post on Holocaust Memorial Day (27th January). Go and look at/listen to the Voices of the Holocaust website - the earliest known oral histories of the Holocaust, recorded by David Boder (born Aron Mendel Michelson, 1886-1961). Boder was an academic then at Chicago who during 1946 recorded the immediate experiences of trauma from ‘Displaced Persons’ before most people had begun to deal with their experiences.
…Boder’s recordings, conducted so soon after the war, remain unique and utterly absorbing. to hear them is to once again enter a room somewhere in Europe as a young man or woman leans forward and, for the first time, shares a life that for five years has been shattered, and for this wise and gentle interviewer to accumulate another fragment in his terrible mosaic. (Mark Burman)
Boder himself had been a refugee, fleeing the Russian civil war in 1919 via Japan and Mexico and losing his second wife in the Mexican flu epidemic. He spoke nine languages. His training in clinical interviewing and “his multilingual, nuanced understanding of east Europe’s fault lines” made him perhaps uniquely qualified for the task. The website, from the Galvin Library Illinois Institute of Technology, is a model of archival presentation and deserves your attention, as does Boder and his work.
Some of the most important books in the history of research remain unloved and un-taken off the shelves for decades or centuries. Dont throw them away; please. They will eventually come into their own and be what research is all about, or some of them will (and wevdont [sic] yet know which). Or to put it more positively: the University Library is my equivalent of the Hadron Collider (part white elephant, part cutting edge techonology)..and, oh, it needs money to keep it up to atomic speed.
From Mary Beard’s blog on the TLS.
As a classicist you rely to a large extent on published editions of records and other original materials, often themselves transcribed and copied, often many times over the centuries. There’s a small (!) amount of material – ok generalising wildly – compared to the wealth of records from the 19th century onwards available to the historian. And yet I think Beard’s words resonate for records too, and contribute to the difficult and often unexplored issues around appraisal.