We collect Special Collections for people to use, whether in our Reading Room or online wherever they may be in the world.
Image of the world, from a telegram in the Ludwig Baruch Internment Archive, one of the collections covered by the Programme. This series of letters between a Second World War internee and his fiancee offers fascinating first-hand accounts of internee life on the Isle of Man, the Arandora Star disaster and the Home Front in Liverpool.
The key to getting more people using our archives is a) cataloguing those archives and b) getting the catalogues online. This means anyone anywhere can find these archives just by searching for keywords (names, places, subjects!). They don’t necessarily have to know that we exist or that an archive is what they need.
Like many other archives services, Special Collections has inherited archive catalogues which exist only on paper or which use old guidelines. In 2013, the Quick Wins Programme will quickly digitise and otherwise update these useful documents in order to make more information about important archives available online. In particular those all important keywords!
Keep up with the progress of the Programme on its website.
Some of our hidden gems are having their chance to shine! Special Collections includes many rare books, journals, and maps e.g. a huge collection of J.B. Priestley’s works, thousands of rare volumes on radical politics, philosophy and esoterica collected by Dimitrije Mitrinovic, maps and rare books concerning Yorkshire, mining and Quakers gathered by Arthur Raistrick.
From “The cabinet of gems” / S. Batchelor. Knaresborough, 1840.
Now, thousands of our catalogue records have been added to COPAC, where they join 32 million other records from UK national, university and special libraries. COPAC, which is free to users, will raise awareness of our printed and map collections among academics, students, librarians and other interested people (it records over 500,000 search sessions per month).
Thanks to the Challenge Fund which enabled us to join COPAC, and to Bethan Ruddock at COPAC and Polly Dawes in the J.B. Priestley Library who have made it happen!
COPAC’s blog entry for this news.
Hubert the Hub elephant
A recent training day, attended by Alison, highlighted some welcome new developments for the Archives Hub. The Hub, represented here by Hubert the Hub elephant, is a gateway for archives in or for UK universities. Special Collections at Bradford have been adding descriptions of our archives to the Hub since its earliest days, which has brought plenty of new readers to us. Our Hub descriptions. The PaxCat Project will be adding many more.
So I was very pleased to learn that:
- It will soon be possible to add images to our Hub entries, making them more appealing to our users and giving them a better idea of the contents of the collection.
- It will be much easier to add multiple levels of archive description, so that users will be able to see not only that we have a particular archive, but exactly what that archive contains.
The Archives Hub has its own blog, with particularly interesting entries about archives in the digital environment.
A new colleague will soon be joining the Special Collections team. We are delighted to have appointed Helen Roberts as PaxCat Project Archivist, to start on 11 May 2009. More about Helen and PaxCat on the PaxCat Blog.
Some great news! The PaxCat Project to catalogue the Commonweal peace archives is to receive funding from the National Cataloguing Grants Scheme. Find out more on the PaxCat Blog.