archives 101

Last week AIUET archivist, Jo Robson, together with freelance archivist Jane Speller (who has been helping us to catalogue the Anwar Ditta collection) ran an archiving workshop for all AIUET/ RRRC staff.

It may seem odd that we all work with archives on a daily basis, and still need training.  However, the majority of us have qualifications in other areas (History, Museum Studies, American Studies, Biomedical Science even!) and are particularly ignorant of recent changes in copyright and data protection law that effect the records we collect and the data they contain. So a crash course proved extremely useful all round.

As well explaining more about the formal steps involved in accepting and processing an archive donation, Jo and Jane also invited colleagues from the University of Manchester Library to share their knowledge of the law, and the structures required to uphold it. During a jam-packed afternoon we discussed a wide range of issues, many of which raised questions about the ethics and legalities of storing and sharing archive material without the relevant documentation or consent. Who knew that managing archives was such a risky business?!

Please help us going forward by talking to the team about your project or collection well in advance of making an archive donation to the Centre. (By giving us time to put the necessary procedures in place, it will save more time and effort in the long run. It will also ensure your material is stored and shared with the widest possible audience, and in accordance with your wishes.)

Thanks to Jo and Jane for an informative and enjoyable afternoon – and for our very official looking certificates!

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