A palimpsest of procedures

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

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2 thoughts on “A palimpsest of procedures

  1. Initially I worked on book cataloguing, which was fairly familiar. Soon I was working on archives, and wondering what ISAD(G)2 stood for. I began to discover the enchantment of archives while working on the J.B. Priestley Archive. Then it was back to cataloguing Arthur Raistrick’s maps , which meant finding the number of inches in a chain. Meanwhile I was also working on preservation of collections: making phase boxes for books, monitoring the temperature and humidity in our stores, and finding out how to avoid conditions that favour pests and mould. As a member of the library’s disaster team I learned how to salvage water-damaged books, then trained my colleagues. One of my odder tasks has been to carefully half-submerge books for use in salvage practice.

  2. Pingback: Collections Information Policy – in draft | M Sarah Wickham

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