Friday, 20 November 2015


It's Explore Your Archive week, a national campaign to raise awareness of archives and their collections (for more information please see In today’s blog Ruth talks about what we've been doing to celebrate archives this week and a bit of exploring of her own…

We’ve been taking part in Explore Your Archive week on social media, and today Louise and I have set up camp at the UK Clinical Research Collaboration Conference 2015 (held at the John McIntyre Conference Centre here in Edinburgh) – we’re talking to delegates about our collections and their research potential, and Louise has been tweeting as @lhsaeul. In honour of this year’s campaign theme of ‘democracy’, we’ve also put some relevant collection items on display alongside some fantastic material from the University’s archive. The mini exhibition, on the sixth floor of the Main Library, will continue beyond Explore Your Archive week, so do take a look if you're passing. 

Our display at the conference today, complete with hovering campaign badge!

And talking of taking a look while you're passing, I was in Aberdeen last week to see the Glucksman Conservation Centre at the University’s Library and popped in to see Fiona Musk, the Archivist for NHS Grampian, who is also based there. We meet fairly regularly as fellow custodians of NHS archive material, but I'd not had the chance to see her collections in person before. Fiona gave me a tour of the store and it was great fun to see all the similarities between our collections. Lots of familiar looking book bindings and types of record, just for hospitals that are a bit further north than ours! If you'd like to find out more about NHS Grampian’s collections see or follow Fiona on Facebook at

Visiting the fabulous conservation facilities in the Library mirrored the quality of the stores Fiona showed me. The four conservators there work on Aberdeen University’s collections of rare books and archives within their own particular paper, book and collections care specialisms. I took a few photos to try and capture the scale and high spec of their conservation studio - the first is of the main studio (with their no-adhesive book cradles in foreground), and the second is of the area dedicated to photographic documentation.

I wasn't the only one on the tour – there were about 15 other conservators who were shown around the relatively new Library, which also included the exhibition gallery, the Special Collections reading room and the education spaces, and we had lunch in a room on the seventh floor with great views out over Aberdeen until the clouds and rain came in! With such a concentrated group of conservators in one place, it was also a good opportunity to swap ideas and find out about new treatment options that I can bring back to our collection.

One of the architectural features of the Library
The conservators admiring the view shown in the image above this one
All in all an interesting and useful day spending time with archive collections and learning from those that look after them - exactly what #explorearchives is all about!

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