We often use our blog to explain more about what we do behind the scenes of the Archives Centre. Sarah Lewery, our conservator, and I have been giving some thought recently to providing more information for our users about how we package our collections to explain how different the material used in our reading room looks in comparison to the state in which it was kept by its creator or custodian. Using archives is about getting your hands on history but when collections arrive here they are often in a state that makes them hard to use and also very vulnerable to damage by handling. So we carry out a number of processes to transform boxes of material into a catalogued collection so that researchers can easily find what they are interested in (see our Collections page) and can handle the papers or request copies. Sarah has written a page for our website explaining how material is physically transformed and we’d love to know what you think. If you’d like to find out more about everything involved in the cataloguing process please have a look at Katharine’s article from June 2011 “How to scare an archivist” about the papers of Lord Kinnock.
Papers before treatment.