The Language of Catalogue Descriptions

This week I (Hannah) met with Jessica Smith, Archivist for the Christian Brethren Archive held at the University of Manchester Library. This collection contains, amongst other things, a large number of lantern slides of the Brethren’s missionary work in India, China and Africa during the early 20th Century. All of which are now digitised and available via the University’s open access image database.

Our conversation quickly got onto the challenges of archiving material from colonial times; how to do it in a way that is accurate, useful for research purposes, but also culturally sensitive.

Here is Jessica’s recent blog post about this topic – very interesting food for thought.

John Rylands Library Special Collections Blog

The Heritage Imaging Team has recently completed a project to digitise 901 lantern slides held in the Christian Brethren Archive. As mentioned in a previous blog post, in the case of many of these slides, we had very little contextual information, or information relating to their provenance.

The creation of a catalogue for visual material without much knowledge of origin or content presents certain challenges and concerns.

If you are unable to identify the origin of the image, and the scene it depicts, the cataloguer may be reduced to simply describing what they can see, and thus descriptions like ‘Man under tree holding stick’ are born. As there were several cataloguers involved with this project, there are further concerns in terms of the standardisation of language, as one person may decide to to describe the same moving body of water as a river, and another as a stream.

There…

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Narrowing the gap between community engagement & collection development

What happens to the outputs of community-led heritage projects? Why are they so rarely accessioned into registered collections? Can we create a model for projects that benefits both communities and collecting institutions?

These are the questions that Jennie and myself (Hannah) explored back in November at the National Archives’ annual  ‘Discovering Collections, Discovering Communities’ conference (DCDC).  We shared the findings of the first phase of our HLF-supported project Coming in from the Cold, and also our experience as a heritage organisation with a more holistic approach to community engagement and collection development.

Watch the conference video below, and you can download the Coming in from the Cold audit report from the project blog.

Sister Rosetta at Chorltonville

Did you know Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the ‘godmother of rock’n’roll’ performed at Chorlton railway station in 1964? She was one of a number of legendary blues musicians who played as part of the ‘Gospel and Blues Train’ – a one-off performance contrived by Granada Television, which included turning the station (which was roughly on the site of what is now Chorlton Metrolink stop) into a scene from the wild west, with crates, chickens, wanted posters, and a large sign temporarily renaming the station ‘Chorltonville’.

It’s a piece of history that was at risk of being forgotten, until the footage recently appeared on YouTube, including this film of Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s performance (in the rain, just in case she was in doubt she was in the North of England…).

You can now read about this story in a beautiful new book we have produced and published in partnership with Chorlton High School.

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Join us!

Fancy working with us??

Coming in from the Cold

We recently received confirmation of a £357,000 grant from the HLF to deliver phase two of our ‘Coming In From the Cold’ project. Everyone at the Trust is delighted!cheering-297419_960_720As a result we are now recruiting for the three following posts:

1. Archivist (0.8) Grade 5
2. Digital Officer (0.6) Grade 4
3. Trainee Archivist (0.6) Grade 2

Job descriptions and application forms are available to download from http://www.racearchive.org.uk/work-with-us/

The deadline for applications is 05/02/2018. We expect interviews to take place during the week beginning 26th February 2018. For further information please telephone Jennifer Vickers or Jacqueline Ould on 0161 275 2920

Applications are particularly welcome from black and ethnic minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in work in this sector.

 

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Ways into the Collection: Serendipity

cartoon books and globe on shelvesResearch Skills Series

By Alison Newby

In previous posts, we’ve discussed the importance of the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre (AIU Centre) and its collections, touched on some of the realities of archives and archival research, and looked at the kinds of questions we need to ask ourselves before engaging with an archive collection. We’ve also delved into the two main ways into the collection:

We might be forgiven for thinking that’s about it. However, we’ve briefly mentioned a third way into the collection, which we’re going to take a look at here:

  • Serendipity (just going in and browsing)

So you’ll be able to dip into this post to find information that’s particularly interesting to you, I’ll be looking at serendipity under the following headings:

  1. What is Serendipity?
  2. Serendipity in action

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Ways into the Collection: The ‘Human Interface’

cartoon books and globe on shelvesResearch Skills Series

By Alison Newby

In a previous post we looked at the kinds of questions we need to ask ourselves before engaging with a resource such as the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre (AIU Centre), and we learnt that there are three ways into the collection:

  • Databases (including subject area resource lists)
  • ‘Human Interface’ (speaking to the librarian and/or Collections Access Officer)
  • Serendipity (just going in and browsing)

This time I’ll be looking at the ‘Human Interface’.

The ‘Human Interface’ with any library or archive comprises those individuals whose role is to take care of the collection, answer questions from users, find information, or give advice regarding the materials the library or archive contains. In relation to the Centre, subject area resource lists and databases can produce raw data about materials which might be relevant to a topic, but interacting with a knowledgeable human being (in writing or face-to-face) opens up a whole new level of insight. Such an individual can give guidance tailored to what you in particular want to know.

In this post, I’ll be giving insight into who the Centre’s human interfaces are and how they can smooth our way into the Centre’s resources. So you’ll be able to dip in to find what’s particularly interesting to you, I’ll be covering the subject in the following sections:

  1. Introducing the Centre’s ‘Human Interfaces’ – Hannah Niblett & Ruth Tait
  2. Ruth Tait’s insights into the strengths of the Centre and its collections
  3. Ruth Tait’s advice on how to prepare for consulting the ‘Human Interfaces’

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Sketching for Black History Month

Gallery

This gallery contains 25 photos.

This post is a bit overdue, but back in October we teamed up with the BAME Staff Network at the University of Manchester to run a speaker and discussion event titled ’30 Years of Black History Month: Where are we … Continue reading

Thinking digitally: Commission for Racial Equality publications collection

This month marks a new departure for us at the Resource Centre, as we spread the word about our first open-access digital collection: A (very nearly) full set of the Commission for Racial Equality‘s (CRE) publications.

541 pamphlets, reports, guides, etc etc, covering all aspects of race relations policy, practice and debate in the UK, from 1976 to 2007. These publications can be accessed free, by anyone, through the University of Manchester Library’s digital collections database. We invite you all to browse the collection and spread the word!

Click here to browse the collection!

the image shows the front cover of pamphlet entitled five view of multiracial britain. The cover has a black and white photo of a group of children from different ethnic backgrounds

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Reflecting on a busy year

As we wind up for our Christmas break (until Wednesday 3rd January) we’re reflecting on what an action-packed year 2017 has been for us. We’re not very good at shouting about our successes, but our colleagues and stakeholders at the University, in the city council and in the community often comment on how much we achieve for such a small team.

So, in the spirit of giving ourselves a well-deserved pat on the back, here are our 2017 highlights:

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Hip Hop in the Library

Hattie Charnley-Shaw has been working with us on the Hip Hop Collection project. Here she explains a bit about the project, about Hip Hop Studies and Hip Hop Education, and reflects on her work to date.

There’s no denying that Hip Hop is one of the most popular music genres in the world. Nor is there any denying that it has become a worldwide phenomenon in the realms of culture, fashion, and the visual arts too. Its existence in the world of education however, is far less widespread or acknowledged.

image shows a 7 books about hip hop in a pile. the books have library labels on their spines

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