Monday, 18 November 2013

A Student's View

From the 4 - 15 November we had the pleasure of hosting a placement student, Clair Millar, from the University of Glasgow's Information Management and Preservation Masters course. Here she tells us about her time at LHSA.

After I had such a inspiring time at the ‘Archives Taster Day’ with LHSA I couldn’t wait to come back for my two week cataloguing placement after starting the Information Management and Preservation course at Glasgow University.  This part of my course enabled me to finally put some theory into practice in a real archive environment!  As well my own task, Archivist Laura has provided me with an insight to different aspects of the job, including helping with a student seminar about the LHSA collections.  
For my placement, I was continuing where last year’s student Sharon had left off, working on cataloguing the papers of Dr Anne McLeod Shepherd.  Luckily for me Sharon is back with LHSA as the Archive Intern and has therefore provided me with some great guidance when working with the collection.  Sharon had already box listed the majority of the collection, so after a couple of days of familiarising myself with the material I was able to get down to work and catalogued two series: ‘The recognition of the ‘Elsie Inglis Memorial Maternity Hospital as a Historic Building’ and ‘The Elsie Inglis Award 2000’.  It has been so helpful for me go through the different processes of cataloguing; from box listing, to organising the materials, listing, numbering and describing, following international archive standards and LHSA guidelines, as well as labelling and re-housing the materials. 
Dr Shepherd Papers before cataloguing

The papers of Dr Anne McLeod Shepherd (1922 - 2004) have been really fascinating to delve into.  She herself had a very interesting life beginning her career during the Second World War, working for the Building Research division of Government, testing the effects of bombs.  After the War she completed her degree in Medicine, qualifying as a Doctor in 1950.  Dr Shepherd was actively interested in the female medical profession.  As well as being a serving member of the Medical Women’s Federation, she had a passionate interest in the involvement of medical women during the First World War, particularly in the work of Dr Elsie Maud Inglis (1864 - 1917) whom her papers mainly relate to.
After cataloguing and re-housing

r Shepherd’s collection is an excellent record of the projects she was involved in to memorialise and recognise the outstanding contribution that Dr Inglis made to women’s health in Edinburgh and also through her work in Serbia, establishing field hospitals during the First World War.  Dr Shepherd campaigned for many years to get the Elsie Inglis Memorial Maternity Hospital recognised as a historic building; she established the Elsie Inglis Heritage Trail, and was instrumental in the creation of a plaque in her memory, erected on the Royal Mile.  This collection has really highlighted for me how important Dr Shepherd’s work was, in helping to play a part in representing historical female heroines across Edinburgh’s landscape that are often overshadowed.    

Clair adding the final touches to her work

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