Friday, 4 September 2015

Hurrah for ARA!

In this week’s blog we hear from Ruth, who was at the Archives and Records Association (ARA) annual conference in Dublin last week.

I may not have seen much of Dublin, having barely left the conference venue, but the packed programme certainly made up for it! Speakers from all over the world contributed to the overall theme of the conference, that of the moral and legal obligations of the archivist - an area of particular relevance to us at LHSA as custodians of health-related collections that are so often confidential. I was very interested to hear about the research use of mental health records in Ireland and see how the legislation and atmosphere there differs from that here in Scotland. There was also a couple of papers that really opened my eyes to the issues and complexities around large-scale digitisation projects – not just what could or should be put online, but also the extensive work that’s required to prepare the physical collections for the digitisation process itself.
I was also presenting at the conference as I had a paper accepted on our internship programme for newly-qualified archivists and conservators. I described what we offer and why, and discussed some of the pros and cons of the programme. My aim was to focus on practicalities as much as possible so that if anyone attending was thinking about doing something similar they could see exactly how we manage the programme and how it might work in their own organisation.
And I was in good company, Head of Special Collections, Joe, was also at the conference as was Paul, our Skills for the Future trainee (who blogged about his time with LHSA last week). Paul was there with his fellow trainees and promoted both the Centre for Research Collections and LHSA in the information marketplace, in particular highlighting our case note cataloguing projects and discussing our recent cataloguing and conservation work for our HIV/AIDS collections.
Paul in the information marketplace
All in all, a successful conference – well organised, informative and with plenty of opportunities to make useful contacts, as well as offering us the chance to highlight our work to colleagues across our sector. If you’d like more info about the conference, there are abstracts of a number of talks and lots of photos on the ARA website at:

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