Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Cataloguing archives

There has not been a post on cataloguing yet. This is very remiss as it is one of our main (and favourite) duties in the archive.

There are a computer database and paper catalogues in the searchroom which enable customers to identify how many documents that we hold mentioning say, people called Sinclair (603), or tea (19) or cake (sadly, only 1.)

When new deposits arrive, we have to read through them, list them and then number them appropriately so that they can be added to the searchable catalogues.

On a Tuesday morning and all day Wednesday, one (and only one) of the desk staff get to sneak through to the back strongroom with a 2B pencil (the ONLY pencil for archivers), a sheaf of archives and their jacket (it is freezing in there.) There, they read letters, peruse leaflets and decipher 17th century legal documents.

A personal favourite is reading the letters and diaries. I tried to tell a friend that this is due to a fascination with social history throughout the years but was informed that it actually was for the same reason that I enjoy the work of Heat Magazine, God bless their evil souls.

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