Some big changes are on the way for Special Collections.
I (Alison) will be leaving the University at Christmas to take on the role of Head of Collections at Durham Cathedral. I am sad to leave Bradford and grateful for the many opportunities I have had there. However the new role is too wonderful to pass up and I am thrilled to work with manuscripts, early printed books and objects in their historic, distinctive setting. Martin is also moving on, taking up a subject librarian role in the J.B. Library: he has been a huge asset to the team and will be much missed.
We are hoping to minimise disruption to the service during these changes. We are already recruiting a new archivist and are hoping to have someone in post as soon as possible. If you’re planning to visit us in 2019, please contact us on email@example.com so we can keep in touch with you about the prospects for your visit.
Our Project Archivist has discovered some fascinating and sometimes gruesome stories in the archives … find out more in this article from the fantastic Folklore Thursday website:
Source: Magic, Myth & Medicine in the Calvin Wells Archive
The GDPR is coming – to help you!
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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:
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.
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.”
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!
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.
We’ve been asked this question several times over the last week or so. Why? The University of Bradford has been in the news with an archives project that is fascinating journalists, academics, and members of the public. The project, ‘Putting Flesh on the Bones‘, is a Wellcome-funded joint endeavour between Special Collections the School of Archaeological and Forensic Sciences at the University of Bradford.
We are investigating the life and work of, yes, a palaeopathologist, Dr Calvin Wells. A palaeopathologist is a scientist who studies ancient pathologies (injuries, disease). Dr Wells was a pioneer in this discipline, reporting on skeletal finds from many archaeological sites. The people whose remains he studied led often difficult, violent and painful lives – all shown in the growth of and damage to the bones.
Coverage so far includes:
There will be much more to discover as we delve deeper into this rich archive. Keep in touch with project developments via the project blog.
Our Archaeological Sciences colleagues are expert palaeopathologists, using old and new techniques to unlock the secrets of the bones. Which brings me to the pleasant task of welcoming a new colleague, our Project Osteologist, Michelle Williams-Ward. Michelle is working on burials in medieval Norfolk for her PhD student at the University. Her project role involves making sense of the many images of bones in the archive. This requires considerable expertise. Michelle’s insights have already proved most helpful!