Gloucestershire Gets Going! Mapping collections onto Know Your Place
Our series of Workshops to help you map your collections with confidence are now in full swing.
At our first workshop, at The Museum in the Park in Stroud, Julie Courtenay shared the experience of mapping at Gloucestershire Archives.
Here, she tells us more….
The workshop in Stroud was a great opportunity to share what we’re doing at Gloucestershire Archives to add content to KYP’s ‘community layer’. As ever, the Archives is relying on volunteer help – especially as right now we’re tied up with our own major project ‘For the Record’ (building new strongrooms and creating an onsite and online Heritage Hub at the Archives).
Where to begin?
First of all we had to decide what content to focus on. We wanted to include images from around the whole historic county (as we provide an archive service for both Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire). But the project needed to be small and manageable as there’s less space at the moment in the Archives for volunteer groups to use. It was also important that the volunteers would feel confident that they could get on with minimal staff support – and we wanted it to be enjoyable for them.
So we brainstormed for likely collections. The Archives holds a huge array of images relating to the historic county but some would present problems for inclusion in KYP – either because they are still in copyright or are too fragile to handle. We decided that our collection of 18th and 19th century prints illustrating churches and country houses would be ideal: they’re already catalogued so each one can be located easily on KYP, even if a volunteer is not familiar with the place; they’ve been packaged by an earlier project so can be handled safely; and they’re out of copyright. The only downside was that we don’t have any digital copies already prepared so this has to be done by the volunteers too.
Our two volunteer recruits had a half day training session at the Archives followed by a couple of supported hands-on sessions with staff. They use our desk top scanner to prepare a digital copy of each image and then fill in the KYP submission template with our catalogue description; and finally they attach the image. Easy? Yes – but if you’re only doing this once a week or less, a clear step-by-step guide is essential! We also use an excel spreadsheet to track which images have been completed and this also helps prompt our volunteers to fill in the required fields in the KYP template.
Since we started another volunteer has joined in. He prepares the scans at the Archives but completes the uploading at home as this suits his other commitments. To date we’ve added about 50 images for South Gloucestershire places and well over 100 for Gloucestershire itself.
It’s great that our volunteers are enjoying exploring KYP and learning more about the county (see ‘Unexpected Adventure in the Archives‘). As for Gloucestershire Archives, KYP is a wonderful way for us to share some of our early images online for the first time. It will be even better when our tithe and enclosure maps are added to KYP as these are often the closest in date to the prints.
Now that we’ve seen what our handful of volunteers have achieved, we’re really looking forward to being able to welcome more KYP volunteers and project groups into our new Heritage Hub facilities later this year. In the meantime, we’re spreading the word to encourage other groups to upload their own content and stories to the community layer.
For the Record
Work is underway to transform Gloucestershire Archives’ main searchroom, as part of the new Heritage Hub! A smaller temporary searchroom is available throughout the building works. You can follow the latest news at http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/archives/for-the-record/