Friday, 13 October 2017

Hello to new intern, Claire!

As part of a commitment to offer valuable experience to very recent archive and conservation graduates, LHSA has been offering a number of short-term, paid internships for a while now. We've seen our interns go on to bigger things over the years (often coming back to work for us in professional posts!), so it's great that we've been able to offer two internships again this year, one centred on archive cataloguing and another in conservation. This week, we hear from Claire Boyle, who's joined the team as our 2017 archive intern:

Hello! I’m Claire and I’m the new archive intern working with the Lothian Health Services Archive (LHSA). I’ve volunteered with the Centre for Research Collections before, working on the Towards Dolly project, but this is my first foray into the medical collections that LHSA hold and I’m really excited to get started.

For the past year I’ve been completing an archive traineeship in the Historical Search Room of the National Records of Scotland (NRS), which has given me a great grounding in the customer-facing side of archives; and I am also well-versed in the ways of family history research. I graduated in June from the University of Dundee with a Postgraduate Diploma in Archives and Records Management, and, when I finished my traineeship at NRS in September, I decided that I needed to round off my archival training with some cataloguing experience. The LHSA cataloguing internship came up and I was lucky enough to be selected to work on LHSA’s photographic collection for a period of eight weeks. With my first week drawing to a close, and some initial scoping work done, I thought it would be useful to look ahead at what I’ll be doing while I’m here. LHSA’s photographic collection is made up of around 40,000 images and includes, not just photographs, but films, glass plate negatives, slides and digital photographs. My work on the collection will focus mainly on photographic prints and their associated negatives, and slides. 

An example of the type of photograph I will be working with. This is a double exposed image of a group photo of staff at Pinkieburn House, and a portrait of Aunt Hannah and Uncle Willie, c.1885 to 1910. Pinkieburn House, originally a family home, was gifted as Edenhall Hospital in 1917 and became a hostel for limbless ex-servicemen from 1918. By 1920 it was also a convalescent home and during WWII it then became the main Ministry of Pensions Hospital in Scotland providing general medical and surgical treatment for war pensioners. This image shows the staff and members of family of Pinkieburn House while it was still occupied as a family home. (Staff at Pinkieburn Uncle Willie & Aunt Hannah superimposed, PH36/58) 

It will be my job over the coming weeks to work with a selection of LHSA photographic material, some of which is uncatalogued and some of which is catalogued in a legacy cataloguing system and needs updating (like the photograph above). I’ll hopefully be establishing what is held, cataloguing the material using the current cataloguing system and rehousing the material into archive-friendly sleeves and boxes. I will also be undertaking a myriad of tasks that I’ve yet to find out about, but that I’m sure will be equally fascinating given the rich history that LHSA holds. In completing this work, I will be helping LHSA make its photographic collections more accessible to researchers (students, academics and the public alike) and increasing my skill-set to help me develop my career within the record-keeping sector.

Over the next seven weeks I will be helping to contribute to LHSA’s social media, so no doubt you will hear from me again and I can update you on how I’m getting on, and what interesting things I’ve discovered. Until then, you can find out a little more about the archive and our collections on our website, and if you want to see more of what we get up to in the office, take a look at some of our previous blogs. 
Claire working in the office

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