I recently mentioned The Settle Stories project, which will digitise Bill Mitchell’s oral history interviews with Yorkshire Dalespeople. The project is now calling for volunteers to help with this fascinating work. Roles include admin, outreach, promotion via the web, helping with events, and transcription, background research etc. Note that many activities do not require travel to Settle. To find out more, see the documents attached below.
Information about Settle Stories project to digitise WR Mitchell audiocassettes
Readers who love the rich history and beauty of the Yorkshire Dales may be interested in a new project which has recently received Heritage Lottery Funding. Settle Stories will digitise a large collection of audiocassettes documenting Dales writer and journalist Bill Mitchell’s interviews with Dales people, made during the 1980s and 90s. Bill’s expertise and knowledge enabled him to get the most from his varied and fascinating speakers. The project incorporates story-telling and work with schools. There are many opportunities for volunteers to take part. As home to the W.R. Mitchell Archive, which includes correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks, ephemera and more cassettes, Special Collections will work closely with this very welcome project.
Back in June, I mentioned that we were part of a giant group of libraries bidding for funds to digitise industrial archives, including the Holden Papers. Such archives are often particularly difficult for users to access and comprehend, with information locked away in tricky and fragile formats. Unfortunately, I heard this week that our bid was unsuccessful. There was huge competition for the funding: I gather that there were 67 other bids! Which just goes to show how much wonderful material is hidden from public view for lack of funding.
Anyway, it’s disappointing, but the process of applying did bring us lots of new contacts: we hope to continue to work together. Meanwhile I’m reflecting on how to continue the inhouse phase of the Untangling project. While not on the scale of the work for which we applied, this super new list will really help us to help readers understand this major archive.
A very happy postscript to my post about Untangling the Holdens, our new mini-project to share the rich content of the Holden Papers. I’ve been invited to include the Papers in a joint funding bid for digitisation with some other universities. Really exciting prospect! More details will follow if we are successful. If not, we will still have more information about the Holden Papers which will help with other bids in future.
Special Collections staff welcome a recent JISC report on orphan works. These are resources which are still in copyright but the holder of the rights is unknown or cannot be traced. There are over 50 million photographs, documents, recordings etc in this situation in the UK. Special Collections at Bradford alone must have thousands.
The report calls for action to unlock materials which have low commercial value but high educational or cultural value. As holders of many such collections, particularly the Commonweal Archives, we would welcome anything that made it easier to make them available to those who would benefit!
Some very exciting news for the City of Bradford and, of course, for the University: Bradford has been announced as UNESCO’s first city of film. The University’s staff and students played an important role in bringing this honour to the city.
Our press release about the University’s involvement
The Bradford City of Film website
The Special Collections do include some historic films, but our particular interest in this news will be in working with University and other film-makers to make creative use of all kinds of collections, both digital and analogue.