I am the UK Archives Manager at HSBC. Qualifying as an archivist in 2009, I subsequently worked for The Clothworkers’ Company, The Mercers’ Company and the British Red Cross before joining HSBC in 2016. I am responsible for the management of the UK collection and work jointly with my global colleagues to capture, preserve and promote HSBC’s corporate memory. Outside of my role, I am a member of the Archive Service Accreditation peer reviewer team.
The role of archivists in an international organization: Dialogue across continents at HSBC Archives (Presenting with Jenny Yu)
I have a background in shipbuilding, spending 18 years carrying out both technical and project management work in the design of quiet ships, before making a career change into archiving.
I undertook a Skills for the Future Archives traineeship in 2016-17, spending six months at each of Glasgow City Archives and The Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections (GSA A&C), focussing on outreach and engagement. I then returned to study for an MSc in Information Management and Preservation at University of Glasgow, where my dissertation addressed the promotion of shipbuilding collections in Scotland.
I currently work as an Archives and Collections Assistant at GSA A&C, hosting visitors and groups in the reading room, processing image requests and promoting the collections via social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and blogs). I have also been involved in textile repackaging as part of a large textile digitisation project.
Panel: Back to the Skills for Future – Where are the trainees now?
(Presenting with Audrey Wilson and Catriona Doyle)
I joined the Internet Archive as a Web Archivist in 2016, having previously worked in the Archives and Special Collections at DePaul University and Rotary International, and as Web Services Librarian for The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. I hold a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Panel: Web archiving: an essential tool for the Recordkeeper 3.0
(Presenting with Garth Stewart and Maria Ryan)
In the current era, many parts of the archival ‘record’ may exist only on the Web – such as special project/campaign websites, social media threads, and online-only publications and news stories. Web archiving therefore plays an increasingly important role in archiving and digital preservation. In this panel discussion, practitioners will describe their journey to web archiving, including training, experience, challenges, and what was expected/unexpected. These case studies will include how web archiving is being integrated into their institutions’ collecting practice, providing an overview of web archiving, and its context in the current records and archives landscape. Panelists will share their thoughts on where web archiving is going in the future, and how to be involved. This discussion will conclude with a focus on current resources, training, and relevant organizations/networks, with an open invitation for participants to join in.
I am an Associate Professor in Information Governance at UCL Department of Information Studies, where I teach across programmes including the Archives and Records Management MA. My research interests are information governance, information rights law, security, risk management, records and information management, archives and heritage management, and research methods in information science. I sit on the ARA Legislation and Standards Working Group and have been chairing work on GDPR relating to archival derogations. I am currently part of the UCL led MIRRA (Memory, Identity, Rights in Records and Access) research project which is a participatory project exploring information rights and recordkeeping needs in child social care contexts in England. I am also a qualified archivist, curator, and records and information manager with over 20 years' experience working in both the public and private sectors across a diverse range of organisations.
Abstract - Designing recordkeeping education@ what’s in and what’s not?
(Presenting with Jenny Bunn and Sarah Higgins)
The call for papers for this conference lists a number of new (mostly technological) skills that Recordkeeper 3.0 might need, but if a recordkeeping education is to include these new skills, what is it to leave out? Those involved in designing recordkeeping education (members of FARMER – the Forum for Archives and Records Management Education and Research) are faced with answering this question on a constant basis, and they must do so against a context of both stringent internal and external quality assurance (e.g. ARA accreditation, compliance with the QAA Subject Benchmark Standard, etc), and increasing concerns about student wellbeing (and the concomitant concern about overloading the curriculum and those undertaking it). This practical workshop will involve a card sorting exercise to allow those attending to think about some of these issues. Sets of cards will be produced detailing all the various skills and knowledge that could potentially be covered within a recordkeeping education. Those at the workshop will be asked to rank and prioritise these, and to face the hard choices that have to be made when trying to fit more and more into a course of a fixed length. What’s in and what’s not? You decide.
I am co-director of the Liverpool University Centre of Archive Studies, where I teach record-keeping theory and practice, digital curation and information governance. Before joining the University of Liverpool, I was Deputy Director of the International Records Management Trust, leading projects across Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. My current projects include Displacements and Diasporas, exploring the technical and theoretical problems connected with disputes and claims over displaced records. I am also collaborating with colleagues at Kings College London on the Sudan Memory project, to safeguard the documentary heritage of Sudan and the Sudanese diaspora, and the Refugee Rights in Records project based at the University of California, Los Angeles; that project seeks solutions to the informational problems experienced by displaced people. My recent publications include an edited volume called Displaced Archives, and I am series editor the Routledge Studies in Archives book series.
Panel: Shaping digital recordkeeping and competence
(Presenting with Jenny Bunn, Mark Hedges, Sarah Aitchison and Isabelle Reynolds)
I have over 6 years professional experience and have worked across both Archives and Records Management.
After completing my PgDip in Archives and Records Management at the University of Liverpool, I then worked in Archives and Records Management roles in the higher education sector. My previous role was as a Corporate Records Manager for the Information and Records Management Service at the House of Lords. Currently I work in a Records Management role for the Department for Transport.
I am a former Chair of the Section for New Professionals and can highly recommend getting involved in the ARA!
Panel: How we work as records managers (Presenting with Edward Ratcliffe, Jason King and Vanessa Platt)
I am Digital Preservation Officer at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick where I am responsible for leading on our digital preservation strategy and developing workflows for our born digital collections and deposits. I have worked in the archives profession for over twenty years, the majority of my career spent working with physical archive collections in a large local authority service and then more recently focussing on digital preservation in the Higher Education sector. I have a strong background in outreach and engagement and I now see this as translating to advocating for digital preservation best practice and the development of archive skills in this area. I am also very interested in cataloguing and discovery of born digital archives and how we navigate the management and representation of hybrid collections.
Good enough: mapping essential skills for the twenty first century archivist
Born digital should be business as usual and whilst there is excellent work being done on many fronts it seems as if as a profession we are still reacting too slowly to the pace of change. The sheer of volume of data and the uncertainties of how the future might look lead to fears that we may lose our history before we have caught up with how to manage it. The real or perceived skills gap is a barrier for many archivists to tackling the not insignificant challenges that digital preservation poses. How do we engage and enthuse the workforce to embrace the digital rather than leaving it for someone else to deal with? Where is the capacity for overstretched professionals to take on yet more responsibility? And are we in danger of putting unrealistic expectations on newly qualified archivists wanting them to be experts in a whole new field? This paper will seek to examine which are the skills that the archivist needs and at what level so that they can procure preservation systems, recruit a specialist or as a lone arranger capture and safeguard institutional records. The current available models such as Digcurv point the way but ultimately do not address the fundamental needs of the practitioner on the ground. This exploration takes the perspective of moving between Local Authority and Higher Education archives, from physical collections to digital. In mapping the needs common to all can we see what good enough looks like?
I’m currently the Data Curator & Archivist for London South Bank University, looking after both archives and research data management. My current job includes all aspects of archival work, from talking to students about archives to ensuring that the university’s research data is discoverable and working with digital preservation. Previously I have been the archivist at Wandsworth Heritage Service and assistant archivist at Senate House Library. I am a member of the Archive Service Accreditation Committee, Vice Chair of Archives for London and a former Chair of the London region of ARA. Despite the London-centric nature of my recent work history, I am actually from the north of Scotland and occasionally pine for soft water and being able to see mountains in the distance. I tweet using the slightly unimaginative handle of @scottishruth
It aren’t dead: bringing an archive back to life
There are so many different skills needed for an archives career, depending on which path you want to take. But what skills do you need when the archives service you’ve just been employed by hasn’t had a professional archivist for several years? How do you bring it back to life – was it even dead to begin with? Where do you start? Who will help? How do you keep people interested in a service they’ve forgotten about once already? Are the skills you need most the traditional archival ones, or soft skills and advocacy? And why did that long ago member of staff do that?
Based on experience of working with not one, but two virtually dead services in two very different contexts, Ruth will talk about the skills needed to revive an archive. Practical examples of success and struggle will be included, with reflections on what tools are available to help archivists in this scenario and where to get started.
As the Sound Archivist at the Essex Record Office, I have responsibility for looking after our amazing collection of sound and video recordings, a challenging but rewarding position. I am attending the Conference in my position as one of the editors of the Archives and Records Journal - another position that brings with it great responsibility, to uphold the high standards of this professional publication. I am particularly interested in encouraging ARA members to really make it their Journal through submitting articles and providing feedback as we publish each issue.
Practice into theory: academic writing for professional development
(Presenting with Sarah Higgins)
Emma Markiewicz is the Head of Archives Sector Development. She has worked at The National Archives in a variety of public, government and archives sector roles since 2006; prior to this she was a field archaeologist, working on research and commercial projects in the UK and abroad. Her research interests have since led her to working with varied archival collections at institutions up and down the country.
Panel: Taking on an apprentice (Presenting with Sara Whybrew)
Are you interested in finding out more about apprenticeships and how they can benefit your organisation? Or how you can use apprenticeships to attract a more diverse range of talent into the sector?
If so, then this session led by Sara Whybrew from Creative & Cultural Skills and Emma Markiewicz from The National Archives, will take you through how apprenticeships could work for you, provide examples of success stories and share news on the development of the new Apprenticeship training route being created to support the next generation of Archivists.
Stephanie Markins has been a Conservation Technician at The National Archives for over twenty years and in the last 2 years has become an Associate Conservator. In this time alongside my day-to-day work I have worked on many volunteer projects including those that have required retagging files, rehousing documents, cleaning documents, collating documents into the correct order before further work and research can be carried out and, working alongside Dr Helen Wilson, assessing the condition of photographs, plastic records, and transparent paper.
Abstract - The role of the volunteer at The National Archives, UK – A collection care-based case study
(Dr Helen Wilson ACR (presenter) and Stephanie Markins)
Jenny Marsden is the Project Coordinator and Digital Archivist for the Manchester Together Archive, based at Manchester Art Gallery. Before starting work on the Manchester Together Archive she was the project coordinator and co-curator of the photographic exhibition Kewpie: Daughter of District Six, a partnership project between Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (Johannesburg) and the District Six Museum (Cape Town). She also co-curated the exhibition Behind the Warp: Women and Weaving at Rorke’s Drift, based on her work as project archivist on the Power, Gender and Community Art Archive held at the University of Johannesburg. Her previous experience includes work at the British Library and Queen Mary University of London Archives. Jenny has a Masters in Archives and Records Management from University College London.
Panel: Archiving spontaneous memorials: approaches to rapid response collecting
(Presenting with Larysa Bolton, Wendy Walker, Marie van Eeckenrode)
Simon McKeon joined The National Archives in 2018 and is the interim Head of Collections, Audience and Insight Team in the Archives Sector Development Department. Prior to this Simon worked in a number of different records management and archive roles in the public sector, including managing local authority archive and museum services in south east London. Throughout his 20 year career, Simon has employed digital solutions to both manage and engage audiences with archives. He has also contributed to several local history books, TV programmes and exhibitions on different aspects of London’s history.
Abstract – Panel: Who Do We Think They Are? Archivists and archival audiences of the future
(Presenting with Lizzy Baker, Gary Brannan and Carolyn Ball)
I began my working life as a field archaeologist but soon got tired of getting muddy and wet, so studied for an MSc in computing for archaeologists. This led me to office jobs involving computer applications with archaeological data, and eventually 9 years working for the Archaeology Data Service (ADS), a digital archive which looks after digital data produced by archaeologists. I learned about digital archiving at the ADS ‘on the job’ as the discipline itself evolved. From here I became the first Digital Archivist at the Borthwick Institute for Archives – my first experience of a more traditional archival setting. More recently I have taken on the new role of Head of Good Practice and Standards at the Digital Preservation Coalition and am currently working on a digital preservation project with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
Panel: Use it or lose it – the value of archival literacy and traditional skills in a digital age (Presenting with Charlotte Berry, Michael Riordan, Philippa Hoskin, Caroline Brown and Annaliese Griffiss)
Graduating from the Liverpool University MARM programme, I qualified as an archivist and records manager in 2016. Straight from university I got a job with the Royal Institute of British Architects as an Information Specialist. The role was a fixed term maternity cover contract working with a small team of 5 library professionals to maintain a document library for the construction industry. After this role I found my current job at Latimer Hinks Solicitors in Darlington where I am responsible for the firm’s information architecture including records management, archives, information security and data protection. In my 2 years at the firm I have radically updated and improved the firm’s recordkeeping processes and policies as well as implement GDPR.
On my own: How to cope as a lone professional
In the current climate, professionals in our industry are having to become more and more adaptable. Our job titles may state one thing when in fact we do something completely different. With the drain on funding and limited resources we are finding ourselves having to take on roles that would otherwise be done by others. In reality we’re a jack of all trades – turning our hands to whatever needs doing. This is especially true for those professionals that work alone.
This talk shares some anecdotes and coping techniques based on the speaker’s personal experiences as a lone professional. It is aimed at those archivists and records managers working single-handedly for small to medium organisations, especially new professionals.
I began working in records management full time in 2012 and since then my role has changed dramatically. Since the beginning of my career I have recognised the growing dependence on electronic communication and documentation in everyday life and business. As such I had always taken a keen interest in how the traditional records management role would adapt to the changing environment. My current role sees me advising on and facilitating Information Governance projects within my organisation with a primary focus on Europe and the Middle East. Due to the cross-over of information governance and data privacy I also serve as project manager for global data privacy compliance initiatives within my organisation.
Professional progress in the modern world of records management
(Presenting with Tony Allen, Tim Callister Nick Cooper and Vanessa Hodge)
My name is Emily but I’m also known as RMGirl. I am filled with enthusiasm for what at times can be considered a dull subject(!) – I’ve been doing it for over 12 years but now I’m full time self employed under Records Management Girl Consulting. I have volunteered for the IRMS, where I have served on the Executive for eight years having stepped down in May 2019. I've previously held positions including Vice Chair, Director and Officer roles surrounding Training, Representation and Groups. As a Records Management Consultant, my specialities include Information Asset Registers, Offsite Storage Contracts & Contents, BS10008:2014 & Scanning, Retention Schedules & Policies, GDPR, EDRMS, Systems Implementation, Contract Management, Information Risk and Data Audits. You can find me on twitter as @RMGirlUK or my website blog: www.rmgirl.co.uk/blog
Records Manager: the role you never knew you wanted or thought it would become in 2079
After 13 years as a Records Manager - it never fails to surprise how much the role can change in what you've been required to do.
I've been in board rooms talking about strategy and also in the flooded basement dressed in overalls and p3 masks. I've also become a legislation geek and a health and safety advisor and a HR intermediate - when all I wanted to be as a little girl was a police woman on horseback. I didn't wake up one day and decide I wanted to be a records manager but now I can't imagine my life without it.
This paper looks to explore the career, how it turned out, whether things would have been done differently, where the career is going and what I'm preparing for. I will explore questions such as Will AI and Robots change the way that I do things? Will everything be
I am Archivist (Collections Management) at the University of Surrey and am part of Archives & Special Collections which was formed in 2016 to manage the University’s institutional, dance and EH Shepard archives, as well as the special collections. My current focus is developing the documentation and procedural framework for the collections and ensuring consistent professional practice across the collecting areas. Over the course of the last two decades I have worked in corporate, charity and higher education archives, as well as a stint providing software training to archivists.
Collection, protection & collaboration: Articulating archival purpose in the age of GDPR
(Presenting with Vanessa Platt)
I am a Registered Member of the Archives and Records Association and I began my career in archives as an Archives Assistant at Lambeth Palace Library, before completing the MA in Archives and Records Management at UCL. Since qualifying, I have been the Assistant Archivist at the Museum of Freemasonry in central London, a tri-domain environment encompassing archive, library and museum collections relating to Freemasonry and other fraternal orders. Whilst at the Museum, I have developed an interest in both archive collections in museums and archives generated by them. My role covers all aspects of archival and records management work and I am currently working on a project to establish an institutional archive for the museum itself.
Panel: Archives in Museums, Museums in Archives: the challenges and opportunities
(Presenting with Helen Dafter and Dorothy Kidd)
I am an Information Compliance Officer at the University of Surrey with professional training and background in archives and records management. I qualified from the UCL A&RM MA in 2016 and received the ARA/FARMER Prize for my thesis research into the Ken Saro-Wiwa Digital Archive project, paper published in the Archives and Records Journal. My current professional focus is on helping the University (plus anyone else who will listen!) to comply with GDPR and DPA 2018, and in updating our information management strategy and practices to help us meet this challenge, and I am loving applying and expanding my professional skills and experience in the topical area of data protection. I am also working on an Office 365 rollout and in developing towards professional Registration with the ARA. I have previously worked and volunteered in various archives and records management roles in the public and charities sector.
Collection, protection & collaboration: Articulating archival purpose in the age of GDPR
(Presenting with Melanie Peart)
This paper presents a collaboration success story – a data protection expert trained in archives and records management, and an institutional archivist and collections expert trained in data protection working closely together to address the requirements of GDPR in an institutional archive collection. In this talk, both professionals will present on the work completed, explaining the approach, the benefits gained, and including a practical breakdown of the contents of a GDPR-compliant privacy notice for an archive collection. Data about people is the backbone of our shared collective and personal collections heritage, and this session will build on existing guidance from TNA and deliver practical tips and a workable approach for how organizations with collections which contain information about living people of any size can meet the challenge of GDPR.
Panel: How we work as records managers (Presenting with Edward Ratcliffe, Jason King and Frances Lund)
I am the Collections & Engagement Manager with responsibility for archives and manuscripts in Special Collections at Leeds University Library. My remit includes engagement with the collections at all levels, including online, and as part of this I oversaw a pilot project to test the Transkribus platform. I joined Leeds University Library Special Collections in June 2016. Prior to that, I worked at the National Railway Museum for 12 years, and my final role there was as Curator of Archive and Library Collections. I have previously held roles at Birmingham City Archives and the Institution of Electrical Engineers’ archives.
Putting Transkribus through its paces – Tim Procter, Special Collections, Leeds University Library
This paper is intended to give a view of Transkribus from a typical front line user's point of view, but it is being presented with the support of the READ Project. The presentation is co-authored by Louise Piffero, the Project Archivist who worked on the Transkribus platform in 2018.
From May to November 2018, Leeds University Library Special Collections trialled the use of the Transkribus platform for transcribing manuscript documents. Transkribus' Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) can produce automated transcriptions of documents. A memorandum of understanding was signed with the platform developers, the Recognition & Enrichment of Archival Documents (READ) Project, to access the full functionality of the platform and contribute to the development. This paper will consider the ease of using Transkribus, the time and resource required against the value of the outputs, the types of document Transkribus is best suited for, and whether Transkribus is something that belongs in the Recordkeeper 3.0's toolkit.
The paper will present data from three trials - a series of 18th century surgeon's casebooks, a late 19th century forensic casebook, and a WW1 ANZAC soldier's diary. The paper will look at the different HTR models developed from each trial, and also the effects of applying the English Writing M1 model developed from the Transcribe Bentham project at University College London. The Transkribus workflow will also be considered, as well as factors to be considered by anyone thinking of embarking on a Transkribus project. Data will also be presented to show how much time we estimate Transkribus has saved over completely manual transcription processes, to give delegates information to assess Transkribus' suitability for their organisations.
Katie qualified as an archive conservator in 2011 via the Archives and Records Association’s Archive Conservation Training Scheme. She has been employed as an Archive Conservator at West Yorkshire Archive Service since 2007 providing conservation to all 5 district authorities of West Yorkshire.
Katie is now the acting Registrar of the ARA’s Archive Conservation Training Scheme working towards updating the scheme and continuing to offer a well-respected and much valued route into archive conservation for many.
Conservation of the Anne Lister Diaries (Presenting with Tracy Wilcockson)
Anne Lister of Shibden Hall (1791-1840) was a remarkable woman who has left an even more remarkable written legacy which intrigues and inspires people all over the world.
Anne was a landowner, business woman, traveller and is considered by many as ‘Britain’s First Modern Lesbian’.
Her diaries and letters are held in the Calderdale Office of the West Yorkshire Archive Service and are a wealth of information about politics, business, religion, education, science, travel, local and national events, medicine and health. They are also an important resource in the field of United Kingdom Gender Studies and Women’s History.
In 2011, the diaries received a prestigious award from UNESCO when they were added to the UK Memory of the World Register.
Anne’s diaries comprise some 7,720 pages or around 5 million words.
Anne used a cipher of her own devising – a combination of Greek and algebraic terms, without wordbreaks or punctuation – to record her deepest and most private feelings, and accounts of the relationships with the women in her life. She was careful as to who knew about the diaries but believed, quite wrongly as it turned out, that these passages would be almost impossible to decipher!
Sally Wainwright (Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax) will be releasing her up and coming drama based on Anne’s life, Gentleman Jack, which will be aired 22nd April 2019 on BBC 1. Sally along with the Welcome Institute have provided money to allow the conservation work to be carried out on the volumes following their digitisation.
24 diaries and 14 travel diaries in varying conditions have all required some conservation work. In this talk we will discuss the decisions made as to the treatments carried out on the volumes and how this was carried out.
Like all of us, I’m keenly interested in the role of information governance and advocating this in the organisation that I work. I’ve worked across a range of organisations in Charity, Higher Education and Public sectors and have found there has always been an audience (willing
Panel: How we work as records managers (Presenting with Jason King, Frances Lund and Vanessa Platt)
The work of the records manager is unknown. Several people working at an organisation may know the records managers, some may even have an idea of what they do, but by and large many organisations have a workforce that do not know or understand our work, our achievements, our aims.
This is understandable. Records Management professionals work in the background to make sure the organisation is compliant, proactively ensuring that information is managed appropriately throughout the lifecycle. But this means the benefits of having a records manager is hidden.
This panel session will discuss the role of records managers in various workplaces, with records managers from a range of backgrounds offering an insight into the challenges they have faced in their careers in getting people to know and love records management.
As conservator in the National Archives of Ireland for the past 17 years my work can range from assessing the needs and treating an individual document to developing a treatment options and workflow programmes for large collections. Safeguarding the long term preservation of the collection and balancing that with ensuring access are principal goals.
I am accredited conservator through the Institute of Conservators-Restorers in Ireland (ICRI).
Over the past 25 years, I have edited newsletters, journals, organised training events and conferences in Ireland. I have published and presented on my work in Ireland, the UK, Europe and the United States.
Currently I am teaching Preservation and Disaster Management through the University of Dundee, the distance learning Archives and Records Management post graduate program. I am a member of council for The International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM). I joined the Irish National Committee for Blue Shield (INCBS) in 2018.
From medieval historians to hi-tech virtual reality, unwrapping the past- Conservation of archives saved after the 1922 fire in the Public Record Office of Ireland
The Public Record Office of Ireland was destroyed on 30 June 1922. In the following weeks, 232 parcels of documents were wrapped and labelled. For 95 years those parcels have remained unopened.
In 2017 a survey was carried out and 378 items were found inside the brown paper parcels. As to be expected the documents inside the parcels were covered in large amounts of soot and dirt. Parchment documents were distorted and fused due to the heat of the fire, while paper documents were found to be charred and scorched. The material was assessed in terms of stability and access.
Deciding where to conservation should start was a challenge. Along with the condition survey, working with external experts gave another essential perspective. The board members of the Irish Manuscripts Commission provided guidance for the prioritisation on the conservation of the surviving material based on historical relevance.
This presentation will describe the conservation of some of the manuscripts, the treatment options, materials and techniques used including ultra-sonic humidification and neodymium magnets to reshape distorted parchment.
Providing access to this material is a key objective to the carrying out this work. The National Archives is one of the partners with Beyond 2022, a Trinity College Dublin project which aims to create a 3-D virtual reality reconstruction of the destroyed Record Treasury building and its contents. Conserved material will be digitised and available for access through this project.
The paper will also the explore how looking beyond the conservation studio and working with external partners has been vital in terms of engagement and research and working with new technologies and their role for providing worldwide access to the material.
I earned a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences at University College London (UCL) in 2017, where I first encountered digital preservation as part of a digital humanities course. Having left university, I began working at a museum. During my spare time at the museum I was working on digitisation projects, developing my interest in digital preservation. It was this interest that led me to apply for the Bridging the Digital Gap traineeship run by the National Archives. I am currently training at the Institute of Education (IOE), working with the IOE archive and UCL Special Collections.
Panel: Shaping digital recordkeeping and competence
(Presenting with Jenny Bunn, James Lowry, Mark Hedges and Sarah Aitchison)
Since 2002 I have been Archivist at both St. John’s College and The Queen’s College, two colleges in the University of Oxford. The archives mostly constitute the colleges’ institutional records and range from twelfth century deeds to emails, including estate records, registers, account books, maps, minute books, personal papers and files along the way. Moreover, I’m the sole member of the department, so I deal with all aspects of Archives and Records Management, including cataloguing, preservation and answering all historical enquiries.
I’m also interested in the history of archives in the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries and their use by historians and others. I’ve published half a dozen articles on this subject, often on the State Paper Office.
Panel: Use it or lose it – the value of archival literacy and traditional skills in a digital age (Presenting with Charlotte Berry, Philippa Hoskin, Jenny Mitcham, Caroline Brown and Annaliese Griffiss)
As HerArchivist, I work with businesses, social movements, political organisations, charities, arts organisations and community groups. My speciality is building archive collections and services from scratch to suit the needs and resources of my clients. This means I have to find a way to communicate the value of archives and the processes through which they can be maintained, that is understandable to the widest range of people. It started out as a bit of a challenge but is now one of my most popular contracts. I was commissioned to create a “Creating Archives for Beginners” toolkit by Manchester Histories in order to share my skills, experience and tips with the people designing archiving projects in the community and voluntary sectors. I also enjoy the role of College Archivist at the Royal Northern College of Music which is going swimmingly.
Working with record keepers outside the profession can present tricky issues. Some of those issues can be ones the profession takes for granted, such as how to make simple collections management decisions. Through working with a multitude of record keeping groups outside of the profession, HerArchivist has developed a couple of simple games which demystify these problems and kick-start active decision making. These games include "Kiss, Marry, Kill: Appraisal" and "Dungeons & Dragons: Preservation", and have become increasingly popular over the past couple of years with community archive workshops. In this session, participants will have some fun playing these games and getting to know some simple problem solving approaches to archiving outside of the profession. The aim is to explore ways that we can communicate our roles, processes and purpose to others in a fun, light-hearted, jargon-free way which leads to better capacity for decision-making in other groups.
Yuki Russell studied for a MA in Conservation for Cultural Property specialising in Painting Conservation at Tokyo University of the Arts. During and after the initial training, she worked in a private conservation workshop for Japanese scroll paintings and the National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo. In 2008 she finished a second MA in Conservation of Fine Art specialising in Works of Art on Paper at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle.
Since 2008, she has been working within the Norfolk Record Office at the Archive Centre. In 2010, she completed the parchment conservation training under the Society of Archivists’ Conservation Training Scheme. She is currently undertaking the Wellcome Trust funded project; Conservation of Dr Richard Bright Papers as a project manager.
She is a member of International Association of Book and Paper Conservators (IADA) and The Japan Society of the Conservation for Cultural Property (JSCC).
Considering the ethics of reconstruction when working with archival items
Aesthetic reconstruction in conservation of archival items is generally deemed unethical and/or unnecessary often due to the principal function of such items as documentary and legal reference. However, owing to the diversity of ‘archival’ material, many complex issues can be encountered in dealing with the appearance of items and there is no blanket approach to the task. Particularly for archival collections which have an aesthetic, design element, treatment approach cannot be easily solved by the simple non-interventive approach to aesthetic improvement when it comes to reconstruction of missing parts.
Working with such aesthetic or design elements in archival items, other factors introduce challenges to the treatment approach. The issues to consider in justifying image reconstruction/enhancement can be multiple: the location and conspicuousness of a loss to the design, the balance between the original intention of the item and the present interpretation or whether the object exists in the museum, library/archive or private collection all add further complexity to decision making in conservation treatment.
Taking all of these things into consideration, the conservation approach can be extremely varied. This presentation will describe those complexities in the context of aesthetic enhancement in archival items. The author will discuss the conservation treatment of a life-size pastel plan design of a Victorian menagerie carousel animal as an example.
I am a web archivist and assistant keeper in the Digital Collections department at the National Library of Ireland. Prior to working in the NLI, I was digital archivist on the Abbey Digitisation Project at the James Hardiman Library, National University of Ireland, Galway.
Panel: Web archiving: an essential tool for the Recordkeeper 3.0
(Presenting with Jillian Lohndorf and Garth Stewart)
David is the Public Engagement Officer for Heritage Quay, the home of the University of Huddersfield archives service. His background is in museums and galleries working on community engagement projects and engaging the public with historical collections.
Engagement 3.0 (Presenting with Zoe Kennington)
Join Zoe Kennington and Dave Smith to explore new perspectives on engagement and what it means for Recordkeeping 3.0. Archives have a responsibility to engage people: we keep records for others. This means activities for people to bring them into our spaces, it means developing collections with them, it means reinterpretation of collections and catalogues. It’s time to re-define what we mean by engagement. Drawing on their roles in organisations from across the cultural sector, they will use their experiences to present a series of provocations, principles and practical strategies. These will be the starting point for discussion: how do we make engagement at the heart of what we do?
I am a library and archive conservator and am accredited by the Institute of Conservation (Icon). I have worked in written heritage conservation for over 20 years, mainly in the central library and college collections of the University of Oxford but also in museum, educational and religious libraries and archives. I now manage my own UK-wide conservation practice and preservation consultancy from my studio in Reading. I am an assessor for The National Archives Archives Revealed scheme and am also a Collections Audit assessor for the Association of Independent Museums. I am proud to be a strong advocate for my profession, currently serving both as a committee member on Icon’s Care of Collections Group as well as on the 2019 Icon Triennial Conference committee.
Recreate and repair: iron gall ink refresher workshop
As the most ubiquitous manuscript ink media in western archives from the middle ages through to the invention of synthetic inks in the nineteenth century, most mixed archive collections are based on iron gall ink and examples can be found in every manuscript record and storage box. Its composition
is highly variable as it was domestically produced writing medium in the pre-industrial period, with a wide range of recipes, ingredient choices and formulations. Whilst it is permanent it is also problematic, as it degrades the paper substrate in certain environmental conditions, making iron gall ink corrosion and repair one of the main challenges of modern conservation practice. Treatment of objects with iron gall ink differs from usual conservation repair methods and incorrect treatment decisions can have a significant impact on the future stability of the media and therefore the substrate.
This refresher workshop covers three aspects of iron gall ink: its composition, its degradative capacity and the preservation and repair methods available to conservators. It will demonstrate the composition and method of manufacture for one iron gall ink recipe, providing a clear visual
illustration of the oxidation reactions involved in the ink’s production. By making the ink, participants will have a greater appreciation of its chemical composition as well as its degradation potential based on the variability of its core ingredients.
The workshop will then outline the conservation response and the options open to conservators to treat iron gall ink objects. This section will first cover risk factors, assessment and categorisation of iron gall ink corrosion before moving on to a demonstration of a practical conservation treatment method, repair material choice and preparation. It will include the use of testing papers and the preparation of gelatine coated repair tissues.
Key learning goals are:
All participants will also need to bring basic hand tools, including tweezers, a cutting scalpel and bone folder. Basic PPE and all other materials will be provided.
The key(s) to the case: the conservation of the material evidence of an eighteenth-century book theft (Victoria Stevens ACR, Alexandra McGuire)
The 1731 criminal case of Philip Nichols, a clerical Fellow at Trinity Hall Cambridge, is one that still has resonance for the book trade over 250 years later. Convicted of carrying out a series of book thefts from several Cambridge college libraries, Nichols evaded punishment by becoming an international fugitive. What he left behind is a collection of fascinating documents relating to the case, now part of the archive holdings at Trinity Hall. In a time before photography, physical evidence connected to the case had to be stored with the case notes. In the Trinity Hall material relating to the Nichols' thefts, this includes two multi-bifolia documents with three large pendant iron keys attached, duplicates commissioned by Nichols from a local blacksmith to enable him to carry out his acts of larceny.
The storage of the iron keys in close proximity to the paper documents and in less than ideal historical storage environments had created a significant level of damage to the collection, both physical and chemical. This poster aims to assess and quantify the incompatibility of these composite objects and show how collaborations in both conservation and housing design provided a positive outcome for their future storage, handling and use. It will show how treatment has ensured these highly original and evocative items can continue to be used to tell a key story in the social history of Trinity Hall and Cambridge college libraries.
I am very fortunate to have had a rich career working in a number of different archives including University of Glasgow, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Glasgow Women’s Library and my current role as Heritage Archives and Exhibitions Officer at the Citizen’s Theatre Company in Glasgow. From 2014-2017 I was a Project Officer (University of Glasgow) on the Wellcome Trust project, Digitisation of Mental Health Records, that generated over 370, 000 images from the collections of Gartnavel Royal Hospital, Glasgow, and Crichton Royal Infirmary, Dumfries. I am also a member of the Archives and Records Association Pay Review Group, partly engineered by my research into my conference presentation.
When I’m not rummaging around in archives, I enjoy walks with my rescue Yorkie who thinks she’s a greyhound, along with my toddler who insists on calling everything, including me, cat.
Please say hello in person at conference or via Twitter @archiveslas.
The rise of the project officer; the decline of the archivist?
There has been a notable development within the heritage profession that reflects a move towards the growing gig style economy. Jobs are frequently advertised as part time, fixed and short-term contracts dropping the word ‘archivist’ completely from their advertisements. These roles have also seen a drive away from solely concentrating on traditional archival tasks of cataloguing, sorting, arranging and labelling. Now it’s more of an advantage for job seekers to have in depth knowledge of PRINCE2, sprints and SMART objectives than ISAD(G) for some roles. But is this just drawing out the skills and expertise that archivists have always had? In this presentation I aim to examine the growth of roles that call for archivists in all but name. Are they an attempt to attract professionals with varied backgrounds into the heritage profession? Or a step towards the de-professionalisation of the archivist as the information economy grows?
I am Head of the Digital Records Unit at National Records of Scotland (NRS). NRS has a statutory duty to select, preserve, and make available, in the long term, records in all media types (e.g. parchment, papern, digital) created by our stakeholder bodies (including Scottish Courts, Scottish Government and Parliament, public authorities, and a selection of private organisations). The Digital Records Unit supports the digital element of this function, and I lead a team who are responsible for two core digital archiving services: digital records transfer, and web archiving. I took up this post in January 2019, having been Web Archivist at NRS for a number of years. A qualified archivist, I have held previous archives/records management posts in cultural and government organisations across the UK, Ireland and Greece.
Panel: Web archiving: an essential tool for the Recordkeeper 3.0
(Presenting with Gillian Lohndorf and Maria Ryan)
I am a Library and Museum professional currently working at the John Rylands Library, Special Collections. I am passionate about fair representation and diversity arts and heritage. I created the concept of Empowered Collaboration, which describes how to increase diversity by respectful co production with under-served groups. I discuss real life experiences of being a minority in arts and heritage and potential ways to diversify collections through my blog and twitter account. https://onlybrowninthebuilding.home.blog/ and @jasskthethi.
Empowered Collaboration – Practical Steps to Inclusion
To dismantle barriers to under-represented groups engagement with heritage and fully embrace diversity in the heritage sector we must be sensitive to discrimination: accepting our ignorance and discomfort and turning this into understanding and acceptance. Once we achieve this we can then work towards empowering heritage professionals and under-served community groups to work together to create outputs representative of demographics.
This is a complex and sensitive topic which I call Empowered Collaboration. It is broken down into two phases. Phase one is Sensitivity training which covers areas such as: understanding your own privilege, emotional labour, implicit bias and the importance of using life experience in a professional setting. Phase two is concerned with co-production, by outlining how to advertise for collaborators -in the form of an inter-sectional volunteer group from underserved communities, and set up regular meetings. Discussions in phase two include combating inequality by reimagining labelling, collection narrative, interpretation, exhibitions and public programmes.
By doing this we can begin to make a truly safe space for those under-represented groups. Growing pains are necessary to change the status quo but this is an exciting and important part of creating a fully diverse and integrated profession.
I currently work as a Records Officer at Historic Royal Palaces, the organisation responsible looking after the Tower of London and other heritage sites. I have been working for 2 years in the recordkeeping profession and have just completed a postgraduate diploma in Records Management and Digital Preservation at the University of Dundee. Before this, I worked in operations and as part of HRP’s digital transformation programme. I have an MA in Philosophy and Literature from the University of Sussex.
Where the past meets the future: holistic Information Management at Historic Royal Palaces (Presenting with Jo Wilson and Vanessa Hodge)
Historic Royal Palaces is a former public body, which became an independent charity in 1998. We operate across six heritage sites, including the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace. We have one small team responsible for Information Management in all its forms, from legacy paper records to our increasingly nebulous born-digital content.
As record-keepers, we have a duty to look both forwards and backwards. This means giving the information we hold about our palaces a future as valuable as their past. Dissociation and custodial neglect is now recognised as an ‘agent of deterioration’ for heritage assets.
Yet, like many in the sector, we have limited resources, in-house expertise and infrastructure to manage the volume and complexity of information in the short-term, let alone preserve records for future visitors, researchers and staff.
This presentation will look at how, with the backing of the Conservation Department and the Digital Transformation programme, alongside recent drivers for data privacy, Historic Royal Palaces has begun to implement an all-embracing Information Management programme. It will look at the hurdles we face in selling and embedding Information Management in a historic site, with ageing information technology and devolved responsibility for recordkeeping.
We will focus initially on past achievements, such as deploying a Digital Asset Management System and delivering an organisation-wide Information Management training programme. We will then look forward to new horizons, including proposed solutions for governance of electronic records and ways to preserve information of enduring value.
Overall, the presentation will demonstrate that records managers and archivists must become workplace diplomats in an age where everyone is expected to be their own records manager but lacks time, appreciation or understanding. We will show that, whether advising on active records or archival deposits, we need to make friends and influence everyone to fight for a seat at many tables, including the IT team, curators, conservators and policy makers.
I have worked at The National Archives since 2005 and am now a Senior Digital Archivist. I initially joined as a database administrator, responsible for the administration of systems such PRONOM. From there I moved across into operational digital preservation work, and have worked on major digitisation projects such as the 1921 Census, 1939 Register and First World War unit diaries, defining imaging and metadata specifications, and working on verifying compliance with these standards when partners deliver digital outputs to The National Archives. I have also worked on born digital record transfers from UK government departments (particularly those where my database experience and technical background is helpful). I hold a BSc (Hons) in Mathematics from Imperial College London which has proven useful in beginning work on the Bayesian risk model.
My colleagues Dr Sonia Ranade (Head of Digital Archiving), Dr Alec Mulinder (Head of Digital Risk, Standards, and Engagement), and Alex Green (Digital Preservation Services Manager) have also contributed to this presentation.
Safeguarding the nation’s digital memory: towards a Bayesian model of digital preservation risk
The National Archives’ digital strategy commits us to “becom[ing] a digital archive by instinct and design” and to “measur[ing] preservation risks and publish[ing] the results”. Along with being “transparent about our practice as the basis for trust in the digital archive”.
Current models for managing digital preservation are top-down, defining functions that a system requires for long-term preservation of digital objects. As early as 2005, Rosenthal et al suggested that additionally we should develop risk models and describe how a system is designed to mitigate and protect against those risks. We now have models such as the SPOT (Simple Property-Oriented Threat) model and DRAMBORA (Digital Repository Audit Method Based on Risk Assessment), but these are essentially qualitative models and do not lend themselves to comparing very different types of risk, nor to examining the relationships and interplay between risks.
This presentation outlines our initial experimentation and prototyping through to the co-development and design of a framework fit for managing digital preservation risk in the age of the next generation disruptive digital archive. Using a Dynamic Bayesian Network, already employed in a wide variety of fields with comparable complexity (from banking capital adequacy assessment to improving pollinator abundance for food security), we can:
To gain as broad a view of the risks as possible we are engaging with a group of archives of a range of types and sizes, including county records offices, university archives and corporate archives, as well as contributing our own experience, in order to co-create the risk model.
As well as improving recordkeepers' own understanding and decision-making, the framework aims to allow us to influence stakeholders and budget allocators by demonstrating how different preservation approaches affect risk and how resource constraints affect our ability to deliver the best possible preservation outcomes. This will also bring new skills into the archives sector, with archivists being equipped to carry out techniques for eliciting expert judgement, and statistical skills, so we can continue to develop the model to reflect changes in the risk landscape.
Marie van Eeckenrode (Biography coming soon)
Panel: Archiving spontaneous memorials: approaches to rapid response collecting
(Presenting with Jenny Marsden, Wendy Walker, Marie van Eeckenrode)
I am the Collections Care Conservator at Gloucestershire Archives, where I have worked since 2004. I aim to look after the physical wellbeing of the documents stored in the Archives by combatting the Agents of Deterioration. Highlights of this challenge include coming up with schemes to provide good protective enclosures, monitoring environmental conditions in the old and newly-built strongrooms, and of course keeping track of pest activity. Gloucestershire Archives has also begun to provide training events to various heritage groups in Gloucestershire so, with my colleagues, I have been involved in creating and delivering training in various aspects of collections care, based on the Ten Agents and the Benchmarks in Collections Care.
Gloucester’s Royal Charters; Preservation in the past, the present and the future
The Royal Charters belonging to the City of Gloucester are documents of great importance in understanding the history and development of the city. The oldest of the Charters dates from 1155, making it the oldest document held at Gloucestershire Archives, while the most modern Charters bear the signature of our current Queen. We are fortunate that in years past, the people to whom these documents were entrusted took steps to ensure their preservation. In the present, what are we doing to continue this legacy of care? The Collections Care Conservator at Gloucestershire Archives describes how the City Charters came to the Archives, what has been learned about their history, and why the Archives decided to embark on a programme to improve the conditions under which the Charters are stored. With funding from the National Manuscripts Conservation Trust, the Corporation of the City of Gloucester, the Friends of Gloucestershire Archives and in-kind contributions from Gloucestershire Archives, 23 documents are having custom-made boxes and mounts made by the Packaging and Delivery Service at the Bodleian Library, with the largest Charters being stored in a new plan chest.
I am the County Archivist of West Sussex and have worked at West Sussex Record Office since 2013. I graduated from the University of Southampton with a BA in Archaeology and History in 1976, gained my postgraduate diploma from University College London and began my career as an archivist at the Essex Record Office in 1978. I moved to the East Sussex Record Office in 1993 where I worked as an archivist, records manager and latterly as the Programme Manager for The Keep from 2006-2013. I am chair of the Sussex Record Society and on the Board of the West Sussex Civilian Military Partnership. During my time in the profession the archive sector has seen many changes and challenges but the power of archives and the ways in which they can be used never fails to deliver surprises, inspiration and pleasure to practitioners and users alike.
Panel: Archiving spontaneous memorials: approaches to rapid response collecting
(Presenting with Larysa Bolton, Jenny Marsden and Marie van Eeckenrode)
Andrea took a non-traditional route into the Heritage Sector. Leaving school at 16 she worked as a GPO telephonist before marrying in her early twenties and taking time out of paid employment to care full time for her two sons. She later qualified and worked as a teacher in the Further Education sector, specialising in IT and Basic Skills literacy and numeracy. In 2001 Andrea returned to education again, studying full time at the University of Huddersfield for a degree in history before securing a place at the University of Liverpool to study Archives and Records Management (her interest in archives was cemented after managing an intergenerational oral history project). Andrea’s first post-course appointment was in Local Government where she drew on her diverse work experience to establish an Educational Development Programme for KS2 and KS3 students. Later she moved to the business sector where she steered the development of a variety of successful and sustainable heritage projects and campaigns. Her diverse work experience coupled with a natural drive and determination to enact change led to her presenting on the subject of pay in the sector at the ARA Officers Day in 2016. Andrea went on to become the founding member of the ARA Pay Review Group and current group Chair leading the review of ARA’s Salary Recommendations in 2018. She is also the Treasurer for the ARA North West and an active member in the region.
Working for Fair Pay – the ARA’s Pay Review Group (Presenting with Nicky Hilton)
The reaction of the recordkeeping community to the publication of ARA’s revised Salary Recommendations in August 2018 were at once encouraging and sobering – whilst so much has been achieved in many organisations across all sectors, there is still much to be done to raise the profile and recognition of recordkeepers and archive conservators in the UK.
This paper explores the process of compiling the new Salary Recommendations and the research undertaken. It puts forward the case for change and discusses how the recordkeeping profession is shifting and adapting to the realities of the 21st century job market. The presenters will also discuss the Group’s future ambitions for promoting fairer pay across the profession.
I am the Collection Care North Manager, for the British Library at its Boston Spa site in West Yorkshire. I manage and develop a collection care programme, preventive and treatment conservation, to ensure the preservation of the collections in storage, transit and use on the Boston Spa site, totalling 70% of the British Library collection.
My preventive conservation career began working for the National Trust at Shaw’s Corner, then Wimpole and latterly Knole. I then moved on to the British Museum, working on the World Conservation and Exhibition Centre Storage Move Project, and then to the Royal Air Force Museum on their Centenary Project.
I undertook an MA in Preventive Conservation with Northumbria University, graduating in 2012. In 2016 I was awarded an ICON Tru Vue CPD grant to complete the Chemistry for Conservators course. I served on the of the ICON Care of Collections Group Committee from 2015 -2018.
Developing and applying contemporary conservation practice to British Library on Demand
British Library on Demand is the document supply service from The British Library. Items are purchased specifically for the purpose, in addition to the legal deposit collection, to provide remote access to over 42 million items. Users include libraries, higher education institutions, private and commercial customers across the UK and internationally. Launched in 1962 as the National Lending Library, with a focus on science. Technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), at its peak in the mid - late 1990s, four million requests were received a year.
Items are supplied as scanned digital copies, which are e-mailed or physical copies are sent by post. This type of use results in the collection undergoing significant physical forces. Its use, combined with the age of some items, in some cases the poor quality materials they are produced from, means parts of this collection are in poor condition. Modern mass produced items are also easily damaged. Past treatments have been designed to anticipate and support heavy, continued use of these items and have consisted of binding parts together in to volumes and reinforcing slimmer items.
Potentially some items in this collection are unique, and the library may hold the only copies. Combined with decreasing acquisitions budgets, the possibility that copies for some items are no longer available, requires a review and change in approach to conserving this element of the collection. This paper will discuss how the challenge is being tackled, and the attributes required of conservators working with this material in order to preserve and continue enabling access to the document supply collection.
Sara Whybrew is the Programme Director (England) at Creative & Cultural Skills. She works with employers across the creative industries to diversify entry routes into the workforce via apprenticeships, paid internships and alternative work focused training opportunities.
Before joining Creative & Cultural Skills, Sara was the East of England Learning and Skills lead for Arts Council England. During her time at the Arts Council Sara oversaw a number of pilot programmes designed to improve working relationships between arts organisations and education providers, managed financial stabilisation programmes, led place-based arts development opportunities and co-wrote the £15 million Creative Employment Programme: an England-wide programme designed to support thousands of young unemployed people into entry level jobs across the arts and cultural workforce. Sara went on to oversee the successful delivery of this programme at Creative & Cultural Skills prior to supporting the development of their England-wide apprenticeship service.
Up to 2008, Sara worked in Lifelong Learning developing new creative and cultural industry-led Foundation Degrees and spent 5 years lecturing in a Further Education art school.
Sara is an avid supporter of the arts and is on the Board of the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds. She trained at the Cambridge School of Art and is a qualified teacher.
Panel: Taking on an apprentice (Presenting with Emma Markiewicz)
Tracy started her conservation career as a stained glass conservator working for a number of clients including English Heritage, New College Oxford, and York Minster. After a decade in stained glass, she moved into preventive conservation and then into the remedial conservation of archives. From 2013 - 2018 Tracy has worked for the Borthwick Institute for Archives where she coordinated the conservation of the Retreat Archive digitisation project, and the Conservation Volunteering program for the care of the Atkinson Brierley Architectural. In 2018 Tracy took up a position at the West Yorkshire Archive Service where she worked for both internal and external clients including work on the conservation of the Anne Lister Diaries. Today she works for the British Library’s new Conservation team at Boston Spa, lectures for the University of York, and sits on the York Consortium for Conservation and Craftsmanship committee.
Conservation of the Anne Lister Diaries (Presenting with Katie Proctor)
Held at West Yorkshire Archive Service and ascribed on the UK Memory of the World Register (UNESCO: 2011) the diaries of Anne Lister of Shibden Hall (1816-1840) document the rare experiences of a 19th-century woman as landowner, businesswoman, traveler, mountaineer, and lesbian. Penned in her own hand across 6600 pages (almost 4 million words) the diaries are written in a myriad of languages. Most notably, up to a sixth are written in code devised by Anne, from Algebra and Ancient Greek, these coded passages document Anne’s most intimate and private memories regarding her relationships with women on which she wrote most candidly.
In 2019 the diaries received national attention from the new BBC drama ‘Gentleman Jack’ which explored Anne’s life and relationships at Shibden Hall estate in Halifax. Ahead of such publicity and in preparation for such high-level exposure, in early 2018 funding was secured from the Wellcome Trust to conserve and digitise the 26 stationary bindings and 14 travel journals. This paper will track the development of the project through its conservation methodology, ethical deliberations and access considerations for the BBC staff and future research.
Most of my professional life has been spent as a practitioner and educator in archives and records management. I have been an independent archival consultant since 2010: with clients derived from the H.E. sector (e.g. JISC, Research Libraries UK), public/private organisations (e.g. TNA, Duke of Westminster’s estate) and professional associations (e.g. ARA, Scottish Council on Archives). I am Visiting Professor at Liverpool John Moores University and past President of ARA. I was TNA’s Head of Research and Collections Development (2007-9) and Director of Liverpool University Centre for Archive Studies (1996-2007). Research interests include the history and analysis of the record and the interface between theory and practice. Recent publications include ‘Fuzzy or fixed? Pushing boundaries and developing services’ Archives and Records (2014) 35:1; ‘Records and archives: concepts, roles and definitions’ in Archives and Recordkeeping: Theory into Practice (2014); and ‘Understanding Collections at Risk’ Archives 53:136 (2018).
Abstract - What do I need to learn? Identifying regional training needs: the value of a Skills Audit
Understanding training requirements is a priority in any workforce development strategy, and a key prerequisite is the existence of robust data on the people working and their skills and needs. Collecting such data at a regional level allows detailed insight into local needs and allows prioritization of training within existing budgets.
In 2018 ARA North West Region commissioned an audit of the skills of those working in archives, records and information management, and conservation in order to assist the strategic and focussed planning of future training. It encompassed ARA members and non-members, and both paid and volunteer workers and community archives for a fully rounded picture. The survey aligned with the ARA Competency Framework, so supporting individual personal development and demonstrating the value of joining ARA.
5 recordkeeping functional areas (e.g. archives and records; digital and technical) broken down into 35 skills needs (e.g. assessing preservation needs) were investigated. People were asked to rate their ability and confidence in each, identifying what they needed for their current role and/or in order to progress their career. Fascinating findings came from 180 responses, many from those who were not ARA members.
In the ARA North West Region, we learned that from the 35 skills identified, need or want was expressed for 27 of them. The greatest training need for current roles included regulatory compliance and born digital recordkeeping while the most wanted for career development included managing information risk and creating web pages.
The skills audit has proved to be a great practical tool whose methodology could be applied in other regions too. As a result, ARA North West’s latest training days have included digital preservation; GDPR and regulatory compliance; and community engagement and outreach. Future ones will include copyright and use of collections on social media; conservation methods; and managing volunteers and difficult situations.
Do you know what the training needs are of those working in your region? Don’t you think it is worth trying to find out?
As a trained conservator, Audrey has worked for organisations ranging from the Royal Opera House, London, to the State Library of New South Wales. She was the Senior Conservator at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and went on to establish her own business, Conservation Consortium Scotland in Edinburgh.
Following the successful delivery of the HLF funded Skills for the Future project, Opening Up Scotland’s Archive, Audrey is now working to build on the project's legacy, widening participation and engagement with archives. Audrey is also working closely with community archives and local history groups, to encourage their sustainability and development.
Panel: Back to the Skills for the Future – Where Are the Trainees Now?
(Presenting with Catriona Doyle and Jennifer Lightbody)
Dr Helen Wilson
Dr Helen Wilson ACR is an Icon Accredited heritage scientist in the Collection Care Department of The National Archives, UK. I provide scientific evidence and advice to support the preservation of the collection. Projects have included developing a framework and tools for the preservation of transparent paper, X-ray Fluorescence analysis of historic wallpaper samples, and the development of new approaches to the management of dust levels in The National Archives' repositories. In 2017 I led my first volunteer project, gathering evidence regarding the condition and location of transparent paper collection material. The dataset from this survey is providing a valuable source of information for conservation and research purpose.
Abstract - The role of the volunteer at The National Archives, UK - A collection care-based case study.
(Dr Helen Wilson ACR (presenter) and Stephanie Markins)
Over the last 30 years volunteers have been invaluable to The National Archives, UK (TNA), enabling us to do work that would not otherwise be possible, due to challenges to resource. TNA’s volunteering projects are led by archivists, conservators, and heritage scientists. They involve tasks such as cataloguing, document rehousing, condition surveying, digitisation, public engagement, and document transcription.
There is considerable debate within the conservation community regarding the ethical use of volunteers, the key concern being that volunteer projects should not take away paid work. As no sector-wide consensus currently exists as to what work volunteers can and should be allowed to do, institutions must decide for themselves where they will draw this line. As resources tighten, these decisions are likely to need revisiting.
At TNA, the User Participation Group decides whether a volunteering project can go ahead or not. The group includes TNA’s volunteer management staff; staff from stakeholder departments; a volunteer; and a volunteer supervisors’ representative. Project leaders submit proposals to the group for approval, then provide regular updates to the group if the project is accepted.
This presentation focuses on a series of high-level volunteering projects led by TNA’s Collection Care department, which were aimed at locating and assessing the condition of chemically unstable modern collection materials. The scale of the projects prevented their completion in-house. However, following training volunteers surveyed the collection and contributed significantly to the development of the survey tools [https://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/blog/surveying-our-transparent-papers-volunteers-collection-care/]. The results – and their work - impact our understanding and preservation of the collection.
I am the Business Supervisor in the Conservation, Collections and Information Management department at Historic Royal Palaces. I have worked for the organisation for eighteen years; prior to that I worked as an interior designer and ran a print and design business in Surrey. At HRP I was responsible for managing the records created through the work of the collections care teams and, more recently, was part of the digital transformation programme. I now support the development and implementation of Information Management across the organisation, specifically with the development of a permanent archive. My skills include project management and working with other departments to manage the cultural changes necessary to embed this as business as usual.
I have gained a diploma in Information Management from the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen through part-time distance learning.
Where the past meets the future: holistic Information Management at Historic Royal Palaces (Presenting with Elissa Truby and Vanessa Hodge)
Helen Wilson (Biography coming soon)
The role of the Volunteer at The National Archives, UK – A collection care based case study
Noor Fadilah Yusof
Noor Fadilah Yusof (or short for Fadilah) is the assistant director of the Records Management Department in the National Archives of Singapore (NAS). She graduated with a MA in Archives and Records Management from the University College London in 2016. Having started her career in the NAS managing its photographic archives, she now embraces the challenge of raising awareness on the importance of records management within the Singapore government sector – an uphill yet meaningful task! She oversees the Department in working with the government agencies in Singapore to ensure that records of national or historical significance are transferred to the NAS for long-term preservation.
Strengthening Governance on Records Management in Singapore: Now and the Future
The National Archives of Singapore (NAS), an institution of the National Library Board (NLB), is legally mandated under the NLB Act to administer a records management programme for all government agencies in Singapore and advise agencies concerning standards and procedures pertaining to the management of public records. To date, the NAS has ramped up our efforts to strengthen governance on records management within agencies by establishing policies and guidelines as well as providing support and training to agencies via our business partner model, online learning module and regular engagement sessions. In 2018, the NAS has also introduced a self-assessment exercise for all agencies to gauge the maturity level of the whole-of-government on records management. I will be sharing on the NAS’s journey in implementing these efforts as well as our upcoming plans to strengthen our governance via (a) a regulatory approach through administering an audit of agencies (b) cultivating records management practitioners with community of practice sessions and (c) establishing appropriate pathways for registry to become records managers in the future.