Over the last year the other Opening Up Archives trainees and I have blogged on everything from Richard III and ice cream to medieval archives and LGBT history month. We’ve created a Polish Community Project, apps, trained archivists on the digital preservation process, and one of us even ventured outside to an archaeology dig. As our traineeships are coming to an end we’ve picked some highlights and interesting archives for one last blog post.
Julie Thomson – Leicester and Rutland Archives
Women’s Legion, Land Army, and factory and munitions workers
It’s been a busy, slightly wacky, but overall rewarding year of digital preservation training! The best part is that I was able to throw myself into the day-to-day functioning of my host Record Office in a really hands-on way, and at the end of it all feel like I’d made a significant contribution to preserving its holdings. I also hope my work (both digitising large numbers of items and helping to create an accessible, commercially viable online image library) will ultimately generate some real revenue for the Record Office, as well as promoting local heritage to a global audience. I’ve genuinely enjoyed learning about my colleague Kasia McCabe’s Polish Community Project too. Archives are definitely looking like a viable career path, especially with regard to digital technology.
Personal favourite archive item? That is a tough one. We’ve had Richard III material, Isaac Newton’s property rolls, and a lot of interesting medieval documents. But the photography collections are especially rich, and dealt with exciting material from throughout the 20th century. One of my most abiding interests is the role of women on the home front during the First and Second World Wars. I’ve cheated and made a collage because there are too many good ones!
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When thinking of war posters, the slogans ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ or ‘Make-do and Mend‘ might spring to mind, or perhaps the darker ‘Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?’ During the First and Second World Wars, posters were a vital method of communication; the government used them to increase morale, reduce panic and boost both agricultural and industrial output.
You could argue that they’re now embedded in the culture of the country. It’s highly likely every one of us will recognise Lord Kitchener’s ‘I Want You’ designed by Alfred Leete, in 1914. We have a collection of over 150 posters at Manchester Archives.
'Which is it be, Bonds or Bondage?' poster
Take this poster from the collection ‘Which is it to be; Bonds or Bondage?’ issued by the War Savings Office in Salford (date not known), which is unique to the area. Continue reading »
‘Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom, and with all thy getting get understanding’
This inscription from the Book of Proverbs can be found in the Great Hall of Manchester Central Library. I’m an Opening up Archives trainee, based in Manchester Archives, which is a part of Manchester Libraries. Today, many archival institutions have a social media presence; they tweet, blog, have a Facebook page and a Flickr Photostream, but to what extent do they help us get wisdom? I’d like to concentrate on three different, emerging, and perhaps misunderstood, online-based channels which offer the potential to produce an engaging, interesting and accessible online narrative.
Augmented Reality (AR), as I understand it, involves the combination of a real world view with a virtual scene generated by a computer, augmented with additional information which is viewed through a smart phone or tablet. I’ve written about AR previously on the Manchester Archives blog, in which I discussed what AR could add to this pictorial poster (below) produced for the Manchester Corporation Transport Department by E. Wigglesworth in the early 1930s. The potential and possibilities for contextualising an item or collection appears endless.
Manchester Corporation Transport Department poster by E. Wigglesworth (GB127 M29 File 71J)
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