Category Archives: Service News and Updates

Special Collections, data protection, and you

The GDPR is coming – to help you!

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GDPR rubik’s cube, CC0 licence, via pixabay

The mis-management and mis-use of individuals’ personal data by companies and other organisations is a massive and growing concern. What do we mean by personal data?  Email addresses and other contact details, bank account and credit card information, details of medical conditions … all at risk of loss or theft if organisations don’t take proper care.  Data breaches can result in serious financial or other consequences for people affected.

On 25 May 2018, the law is changing to give you more control over organisations holding and using your data.  The European GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) will be enshrined in UK legislation via the Data Protection Bill.  Companies will have to obtain your consent to keep and use your data, and take proper care of it – or face huge financial penalties.

Special Collections and your data

We in Special Collections are already managing data as required by the law currently in place, the Data Protection Act of 1998.  So GDPR does not mean a radical change in our working practices or relationships with our users.  Along with all our colleagues at the University, we are however taking the opportunity to review the personal data we hold to make sure we are keeping only what is necessary and legal.

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Letterhead from the JB Priestley Archive showing names, addresses and telephone numbers.  This is no longer personal data as JBP is deceased, so we are able to share the image with you.  (PRI 16/3).

Special Collections manages personal data in two contexts:

  1. Records relating to the services we offer.  Data about collection donors, users, partners, and other people who use our services or work with us: mostly email addresses, occasionally postal addresses and phone numbers.  We are auditing the data we keep to make sure we have a lawful reason to retain it.
  2. Our archives.  Archives are about people!  Thus they contain personal data relating to those people.  As our archives are mostly modern (20th and 21st century) many of those people are probably still alive.  We have all kinds of data in all kinds of formats, though we most commonly see addresses and telephone numbers in correspondence – as in the Priestley example above.  We keep the data in line with the provision for ‘archiving in the public interest’.  We keep only what is archivally appropriate and legal, and access is restricted or closed.

Further help

I’ve written this as a summary to assist our users and to help raise public awareness of this important new legislation.  Please do contact me if you have any queries about our management of personal data (you also have the right to submit a Subject Access Request).

For general GDPR/data protection queries, here are some resources that you may find useful:

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Meet our new Project Conservator

We are delighted to welcome a new colleague to Special Collections.  Vanessa Santos Torres joins us as Project Conservator for the Putting Flesh on the Bones Project.  Here’s her story, in her own words:

“I am delighted to be part of this fascinating project funded by the Wellcome Trust and having the chance to work in a multidisciplinary team between the University of Bradford’s Special Collections and the Department of Archaeological Sciences.

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Vanessa Santos Torres, conservator

I have a degree on Conservation and Restoration and I am specialised in Paper Conservation. Upon conclusion of my degrees, I had the chance to work on a range of different environments and countries which contributed to the consolidation of my knowledge on remedial conservation skills and preventive conservation. Since 2013 I have been the Conservator of the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford. It is with great satisfaction that I am now able to work on these two celebrated Bradford institutions.

With my expertise on paper and photographs conservation I am responsible for ensuring the long-term care of the Calvin Wells Archive is considered at all times – from suitable handling and packing to appropriate storage conditions. I will be performing conservation treatments on the archive to increase their stability and lifespan. I am delighted to being able to contribute towards its preservation to future generations of researchers and enthusiasts.

I am passionate about photography and printing techniques. During my free time I enjoy reading and experimenting with traditional printing.”

Season’s Greetings from Special Collections

Christmas Calvin

Special Collections staff (Alison, Martin and James) would like to wish all our users, colleagues, and other friends a Merry Christmas and all the very best for 2018.  Our seasonal image highlights our Putting Flesh on the Bones project, which will make a wonderful archive available to researchers and the public.  If this intrigues you, check out the project blog.

Please note that we are closed for the Christmas break from 22 December to 2 January.  We look forward to sharing more archive adventures with you in 2018!

Work with us!: Vacancy for a Project Conservator

STOP PRESS – CLOSING DATE NOW 11 NOVEMBER

We’re looking for a Conservator to join the Putting Flesh on the Bones Project Team.

The post of Project Conservator is central to the delivery of the project, which aims to make the hidden and scattered Calvin Wells Archive fully available to the public.  Funded by a Wellcome Trust Research Resources grant, PFOTB is a collaboration between Special Collections and the Biological Anthropology Research Centre (BARC) at the University of Bradford.

Discover more about Dr Wells and his work via the Putting Flesh on the Bones project blog.

The Conservator will take the lead on all aspects of collections care within the project, including repairs, remedial conservation, secondary packaging and digitisation preparation activities.  There will also be the opportunity to help improve collections care throughout the Special Collections service.

We are looking for a qualified conservator with specialist knowledge and work-based experience relevant to the project.  They will also need excellent communication skills and be able to manage their own workload.  More about the role and our requirements on the University’s job website.

Post reference: HR0048513.

The post is part-time for 12 months.

Closing date: 1 November 2017.

Welcome to our new Archivist!

Meet James Neill, who has just joined Special Collections as Project Archivist.

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James will be with us for 18 months, working on the Wellcome-funded ‘Putting Flesh on the Bones Project’, a collaboration between Special Collections and Archaeological Sciences.  Working closely with the rest of the project team, James will be cataloguing, digitising, preserving, and promoting the rich and unique archive of pioneering palaeopathologist Dr Calvin Wells.  He will be based in Richmond Building but will also be seen around Special Collections.

James received his archive qualification from the University of Glasgow in 2013.  Since then he has worked for all kinds of arts, heritage and academic organisations,  including the Mercers’ Company, London Metropolitan Archives and the University of Arts London, and on collections ranging from the Estate Papers of Sir Richard Whittington to the counter-cultural comic books of Robert Crumb.  This wide experience will be very helpful in navigating the complications of the Wells material!  Find out more about him on his staff webpage.

Bye Bye Lift

As in most university libraries, summer is the time for building works and stock moves in the J.B. Priestley Library.  The major project this year is the replacement of our antiquated and unreliable passenger lift with a modern and more robust unit.  Hooray!

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J.B. Priestley Library and ‘Commie’ Building under construction, 1970s (UNI B25)

The works mean taking the lift out of action from 12 June 2017.  We anticipate it being unavailable for much of the summer.   Visitors who have mobility difficulties should let us know so we can make alternative arrangements for them.

Keep up with the lift’s progress and our other building projects via posts on this blog, our Building Works web page, and our Twitter account.

Archivist wanted!

Archivists!  Would you like to join our small and enthusiastic team?  You would be cataloguing the papers of this chap (Dr Calvin Wells), who pioneered palaeopathology (discovering ancient disease and injury from skeletal remains).

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Calvin Wells with skull

We’re recruiting an Archivist to work on the Putting Flesh on the Bones Project, funded by a grant from the Wellcome Trust and involving work with both Special Collections and Archaeological Sciences. The post is available for 18 months from 1 June 2017 and offers a fantastic chance to collaborate with academics and conservation/museum professionals, as well as Special Collections staff and readers.  Find out more on the University’s vacancy webpage.  Do contact me (Alison) if you have any queries.