Friday, 29 January 2016

Welcome Back to Aline

In this week's blog, we welcome LHSA's new Project Cataloguing Archivist, Aline Brodin...

My name is Aline Brodin and I am very pleased to be back at LHSA to work on the project “Cataloguing Norman Dott's neurosurgical case notes (1920-1960)” until the end of July 2016. Indeed, I have started working as Project Cataloguing Archivist at LHSA on Monday 25th January, but I am already familiar with both LHSA and the Norman Dott project since I did a 10-week CRC internship from April to June 2015, during which I catalogued the Norman Dott case notes. This very enriching experience enabled me to develop my cataloguing skills and to gain good knowledge of the historical and administrative context of the project.

Aline working on a case note.

I trust that these cataloguing skills will enable me to see my task through to completion, all the more so that thanks to this internship I am already familiar with the content of the case notes themselves, including their specialised medical jargon and very technical documents. However, my objectives as an intern and my objectives as a project cataloguing archivist are somewhat different. Indeed, although my time during the internship was mainly focused on the Norman Dott project, my supervisors Ruth Honeybone and Louise Williams made sure I acquired lots of experience in a wide range of archival activities to help my future career. But this cataloguing post is in a way more challenging and is entirely focused on cataloguing the Norman Dott case notes: indeed, the project is coming to an end and the deadline is rapidly approaching. Thus, I have six months to finish cataloguing between 3267 (low estimate) and 4267 (high estimate) case notes, which represents an average of 35 per day. Case notes can be more or less detailed: some relate to cases spanning on several years and contain all kinds of handwritten notes, reports, charts, letters, photographs etc., while others can consist in a typed case summary of one single page. For each case note, I record carefully selected information that I then enter into the XML editor oXygen to create, eventually, an online catalogue. The recorded information is designed to be useful for future researchers whilst protecting patient confidentiality.

A typical case file from Norman Dott’s collection (our reference LHB40 CC/2/PR3.2121). 
Identifying details have been removed.

During my internship, I was cataloguing the Bangour series, that is to say the case notes from the Brain Injuries Unit in Bangour General Emergency Service Hospital in Broxburn, dating from c. 1939-c. 1945, in the midst of the Second World War. This time, I will be cataloguing the series LHB1 CC/24 and LHB1 CC/22. LHB1 CC/24 covers Dott’s work at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh between c. 1941 and c. 1959, whereas LHB1 CC/22 covers case notes from various stages in Dott’s career that have been filed by the condition of the patient and that date from c. 1925 to c. 1955. The differences between the Bangour series and the ones I am cataloguing now are not very substantial; the most noticeable change would be that in the Bangour series the patients are mostly soldiers or military auxiliaries, whereas in the R.I.E series they are almost exclusively civilians. Therefore, not only are there much more women and children, but there also are more “everyday life” accidents: for example, head injuries tend to be more the results of car accidents and kids bickering rather than gunshots or explosions… But in both cases, the case notes give a very interesting insight into a period and into people’s lives.

The Norman Dott project is a large-scale project that has involved many people over the years and that will greatly help to make LHSA collections visible and accessible; this is why I am very excited to take up the challenge to finish cataloguing this great collection, this time not as intern but as a project cataloguing archivist.

No comments:

Post a Comment