In the summer of 2014 I was thrilled to find out I had been accepted onto The National Archives’ Transforming Archives program. It is a yearlong traineeship, with a focus on digitisation and digital and community engagement.
It is now May 2015 – over seven months since I began my life as a Transforming Archives trainee. So far, the traineeship is providing me with a fantastic insight into the day-to-day running of two local archives; Wigan Archives in Leigh and Archives+ in Manchester.
At Manchester I am involved in the maintenance of GM1914, Greater Manchester’s First World War blog. This means I have to interact with different archive services across Greater Manchester and organise and upload blog posts written by their volunteers. I have also organised two celebration events for GM1914 volunteers as a reward for all of their hard work, and have been asked to set up a Volunteer of the Year Award for Greater Manchester volunteers in 2015.
At Wigan Archives my main role has been to digitise items within their collections. For example, I have recently been digitising First World War newspaper articles. I am also in the process of cataloguing and preserving some ‘born-digital’ items from Wigan Council, which is definitely an area which I am interested in exploring further in the remainder of my traineeship.
I have also responded to a range of enquiries during my placement, both from colleagues at Wigan Council and various external users. For example, I am currently helping an external user by digitising archival photographs and documents for a book he is writing. I am managing the layout of the book and proofreading the content, with the aim of getting it published in the next few months.
Another part of my traineeship that I particularly like is managing Wigan Archives’ social media pages, where I regularly upload photographs and documents from our collection. I love seeing how our followers respond to the posts, and I’m constantly trying to think of new ways of increasing awareness of our services online.
I have been able to take advantage of a range of different training opportunities during my traineeship, including digitisation and digital preservation training, equality and diversity training, and how to work with young people and volunteers. In November all of the Transforming Archives trainees attended a week long base camp at The National Archives, where we were able to get a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at the UK government’s official archive, and in February I was given the opportunity to study for a distance learning module in Digitisation and Digital Preservation run by the University of Dundee.
I am thoroughly enjoying my time as a Transforming Archives trainee and I definitely feel the traineeship has put me in a fantastic position for when I start the Masters in Archives and Records Management course at the University of Liverpool in September.