My “Transforming Archives” Traineeship- Introduction

Last week I was told the fantastic news that I will be the new trainee in digitisation, outreach and community engagement at the Hull History Centre for 2014-2015. I will be part of a group of 12, each of us working at an archives institution across the UK, on a scheme led by The National Archives called “Transforming Archives”.

I am very excited to be given this role as I am local to Hull and eager to contribute to heritage work in the run up to Hull’s 2017 City of Culture year and the University of Hull’s 90th anniversary (also in 2017).

The role of Hull History Centre, as quoted from their website:

“The Hull History Centre (HHC) brings together the material held by the City Archives and Local Studies Library with those held by the University of Hull. These include the City’s borough archives, dating back to 1299 and amongst the best in the country; records relating to the port and docks of Hull; papers of companies and organisations reflecting Hull’s maritime history; papers of notable individuals including Andrew Marvell, Philip Larkin, Amy Johnson and William Wilberforce; records relating to local and national politics and pressure groups; and over 100,000 photographs, illustrations; maps and plans, newspapers, special collections and reference sources relating to Hull and the East Riding.”

I have a passion for this region’s architectural and cultural heritage, having studied the area during my five years of university, and feel it is important to communicate Hull’s history to the community, in particular by using digital technologies.

I will be working with the digitisation of Philip Larkin’s photographs and letters to his parents (spanning 1942 – 1973), and images from the University of Hull’s photographic archives. I will also be working with online technologies such as social media to communicate and collaborate with online users that could possibly suggest improvements to the Hull History Centre’s services.

I am looking forward to doing the following:

* Understand how an archive service works including records held and our main user communities and collections development with particular reference to institutional collecting policy

* Analysing existing archive collections and drawing out their potential for online audiences

* Understanding of cross-sectoral work and relationship with other heritage services in Hull and across Yorkshire

* Understanding of the preservation issues around digitisation including handling of original material and curation of digital surrogates

* Technical and practical digitisation skills including scanner/camera settings, metadata elements, file formats and storage requirements

* Awareness of the regulatory background to digitisation including copyright, licensing and data protection and how to assess risks and develop strategy

* Identifying and preparing material for exhibition including writing captions

* Skills in communicating information about archives and the stories behind them to different audiences

* Web design skills and working with content management systems

* Writing for the web, communicating via Facebook and Twitter

* Developing and interpreting archive collections by, for example, making digital stories and creating online learning resources

* Evaluating the success and impact of web resources.

 I have spent over five years studying heritage, a BA in History of Art and Architecture and an MSc in Digital Heritage, and feel that the real-life projects in this traineeship will be most beneficial to my practical skills in digitisation (something that was missing from my degrees). I will be able to build a portfolio of achievement, learn new skills and undertake a vocational qualification in Information and Archives Services.

I am really looking forward to getting started in October!

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