Friday, 26 May 2017

Introducing our new intern...Emily!

My name is Emily and I am the current cataloguing intern with LHSA, welcome to my first blog post. I thought I would take this opportunity to tell you a little about myself and the collection I have been working on.
I am nearing the end of my MSc in Information Management at the University of Glasgow. Alongside the internship I am also working on my dissertation, which is due at the end of August. I will be studying the implications of digitizing psychiatric hospital records, specifically those of the former Hartwood Hospital. The records for this institution have recently been acquired by the North Lanarkshire Archives, where I volunteer. Very handy indeed!

Before entering the working world as a new professional I felt it was important to obtain as much work experience as possible. The LHSA internship was a perfect opportunity for me to expand my skill set, and to work with an archive service I had long been curious about.

One of the most exciting things about archives is the vast variety of collections there are to discover. I have never encountered a collection I did not enjoy working on. I do however, have rather a spot for healthcare records, presumably because that is where my love of archives stems from. For my undergraduate dissertation, I studied the use of moral therapy at the Crichton Royal Hospital. The Dumfries and Galloway Archives was the first repository I ever set foot in, and I was astounded by everything I was shown. I loved perusing through the registers, copies of the New Moon (newspapers produced by the patients) and the beautiful scrapbook produced by Physician Superintendent W.A.F Browne. From this point onwards, I knew I wanted to work in archives, so back to school I went.
Dr Andrew Logan (c.1965) P/PLI/D/068
For the past four weeks I have been cataloguing and conserving cardiac thoracic case notes of patients treated by surgeon, Andrew Logan (1906-2005). The collection consist of roughly 470 case notes, dating from 1951-1958. Dr Logan (smiling beautifully in his portrait) was a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon in Edinburgh. It seems he was based at the Eastern General Hospital Thoracic Unit, while also heading surgical wards 7 (male) and 8 (female) at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. Patients were referred by Dr Rae Gilchrist of the RIE Cardiology Department (wards 22 and 23) to wards 7 and 8 for thoracic-cardiac surgery. Over the remaining few weeks of my internship I shall research Dr Logan further and see what I can dig up.
Example of original patient case file.
While cataloguing this collection I have really enjoyed familiarising myself with some rather tongue-twisting terminology. I think my favourites have to be ‘patent ductus arteriosus’, ‘polycythaemia’ and ‘dyspnoea’. Thank goodness the case notes are all typed!

Removed rusty paperclips
Unlike other past interns, I have been given the task of conserving and rehousing, as well as cataloguing this collection. This has involved the removal of great many rusty paperclips and straightening the edges of some very flimsy paper (all good fun). The aim of this is to try and establish an efficient method to catalogue and conserve in tandem to be used in future work at LHSA. So far so good, but I will share my conclusions on my next blog post.

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