Huddersfield and District Archaeological Society deposits archive at Heritage Quay

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HDAS members Gerrie Brown (l), David Cockman (r) with Heritage Quay Archivist Lindsay Ince

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The University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tim Thornton (centre) welcomes Society members to Heritage Quay (l-r) Gerrie Brown, David Cockman, Jo Heron and Edward Vickerman.

‌THE archive of an award-winning Society, which for the last 60 years has taken part in hands-on archaeology in the Kirklees area, has been deposited into the University’s official archives at Heritage Quay where it can be enjoyed by many for years to come. The catalogue is available at http://heritagequay.org/archives/HDAS/
The Huddersfield and District Archaeological Society (HDAS) was founded in 1956 and their extensive collection records more than thirty significant investigations of Roman roads and settlements, prehistoric sites and medieval and post-medieval industrial activity.

The items range from field notes to finished publications and there are maps, plans and a large collection of photographs and videos together with details of the Society minutes and the yearly cycle of lectures that are open to the public.

Presenting the archive to the University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor and historian Professor Tim Thornton and Heritage Quay archivist Lindsay Ince were Gerrie Brown, HDAS research archivist, David Cockman image archivist, Jo Heron the current HDAS President and Past President Edward Vickerman.

‌‌Gerrie Brown co-ordinated the collection and says the Society is pleased the items are now in Heritage Quay where they can be seen by other archaeologists, students and members of the public, rather than being stored away in poor conditions where they might be vulnerable to damage.

“Mixed paper documents need to be in a temperature and humidity controlled environment,” said Gerrie, “because of this we are extremely grateful to have a local, state-of-the-art facility such as Heritage Quay to house the collection,” he added.

Some of the most notable pieces in the archive belong to archaeological digs of the vicus – civilian area – of the Slack Roman Fort near Outlane which took place in 2007, 2008 and 2010. Here they uncovered new evidence that showed the Roman presence at Slack continued well into the 3rd and possibly 4th centuries AD even after the Roman army had moved north to Hadrian’s Wall and the military use of the fort had ended around 140AD.

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“Such was the interest in this work that an academic publishing house called Archaeopress in Oxford agreed to publish The Romans in Huddersfield – a New Assessment (BAR620) in their prestigious British Archaeological Report series,” said Gerrie.

It was the gathering of information for this report, published in 2015, which demonstrated the need for a more permanent and singular home for the items. Still in the Society’s possession are numerous items of pottery, tile and glass because they require a different environment to mixed paper documents.

“There is a sadness that we can’t get the pottery in, but I live in hope that someday we will find a home for the pottery somewhere in Huddersfield,” said Gerrie.

Lindsay Ince, Heritage Quay’s Assistant Archivist & Records Manager, says the work of organisations like HDAS is important to the understanding of the past through archaeology. “We are delighted to make the Society’s archive available for use,” said Lindsay. “Voluntary societies like HDAS often have the resources to do fieldwork and research which otherwise wouldn’t happen.”

One such piece of research is the exploratory excavation of a strange D shaped enclosure in Honley Old Woods. If HDAS can find definitive dating evidence to place it in the Bronze or Iron Ages, it will make a case for Historic England to schedule the site and give it protection for the future.

There are also ambitious plans to re-start archaeological investigations of the well-known Almondbury Hill Fort on Castle Hill in Huddersfield and project design and fundraising activities are currently underway.

Story originally published at http://www.hud.ac.uk/news/2016/november/huddersfieldanddistrictarchaeologicalsocietydepositsarchive.php

Expert Researcher Series: Inside Catalogue Structures

I blame google! That one little search box has become so ubiquitous that we expect it everywhere, and to reward us immediately with the right answers. Except… remember all those times – with increasing frustration – you’ve to click on to page 4 of the search results with no success? Well, you might on occasion find yourself in a similar position in an archives catalogue (Tip 1: Try adding info into fewer search fields. Just the keyword field if possible. Despite the number of options, less is often more in search). Although standards exist to try and ensure that archives are described in broadly the same terms everywhere, collections that have been processed by different professionals over potentially different decades may well have slight differences, and that’s before you take into account institutional quirks!

Plus even if you hit gold on your first search, how do you know there isn’t an equally relevant stash of material you might be interested in (yes, I know, the Related Material field, see Part One!) but might not be related to the material you’re looking at (ha, gotcha!)? A basic understanding of how an archivist structures an archive catalogue can help you browse and discover new material. The sector is trying to make this more obvious via linked data, indeed you may have noticed tags starting to appear at the bottom of online catalogues that link to collections with a common subject/person/theme on some of the online portals. There’s an awful lot of work to be done to make all existing catalogues compatible with this, so being able to navigate a catalogue yourself is still a useful skill!

You might find it helpful, as I do, to imagine archive catalogues like family trees, although if they are displayed as a ‘tree’ they more usually look like computer file system trees. The broadest descriptions are at the top and the most specific at the bottom, or in our catalogue the broadest on the left and most specific on the right. The broadest description is the collection level description, in the trade we often call it the fonds record (it’s French but if you ever see it bandied about think: collection, as that’s broadly what it is). This record should be the broadest descriptor and encompass everything underneath it, from subject content to included formats.

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If you have access to an extract of a tree, you can often navigate up to the top and see if the ‘siblings’ of the records you were looking at are helpful, as they will contain similar levels of description. They are known as Series in catalogues, and irrespective of containing multiple records, may well be on a similar or related theme, as we can see by the numerous committees in the example. This is where browsing is most helpful, take this example from West Yorkshire:

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So if your results landed you in KMT18/12/2/13 Huddersfield Council Concerts Committee, you might not realise, until you get to this view of the catalogue that it might be worth looking in KMT18/12/2/3 Huddersfield Arts Committee, or to see if Lindley or Almondbury have an Arts Committee. Browsing has now opened up three other possible research avenues you may have not considered.

If you know a particular form of words is in use this might help you find it in other parts of the catalogue or even other archive catalogues. If you’re researching death rituals and have been searching for cemetery records, then KMT18/12/2/8 Burial Grounds Committee probably wouldn’t have come up, but you can try your search again with burial grounds to see if it brings new results. So jumping into search can be great if you have a specific query in mind. But if you want to widen your research net, or you’re struggling to bring up what you need through search, browsing a catalogue can often be worth a go!

Contemporary Repertoire Project

Heritage Quay looking for singing groups – do you want to learn something new?

Information about the project

Here at Heritage Quay we are always excited when we get the chance to delve into the British Music Collection and the same applies for the researchers who use it too (check out https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/u/0/partner/sound-and-music”>googleculturalinstitute/soundandmusic to see what we mean)

There are around 8,000 choral pieces in the BMC and we decided we wanted to hear some. So we are on the hunt for singing groups from Kirklees and Calderdale (or who are happy to travel) who want to expand their repetoire (with our help)

If you or your singing group is interested email us at hqbookings@hud.ac.uk or call on 01484 473168 by the end of August to find out more

Expert Researcher Series: The ‘Related Material’ field

Welcome to the Expert Researcher series. This is the first in a series of blog posts designed to clue you in on some of the parts of the archive catalogue you may not have paid much attention to before and how they can help you in your research. Whether you’re a budding family historian or a PhD student with a looming deadline, hopefully you’ll get something from this article. Requests are welcome! Whether you’d like to know what a particular catalogue field means, or which bit of the catalogue to look in to find a particular piece of information, just let us know, and we’ll do our best to help.

When I talk about ‘fields’ I’m talking about the fields of a database in our collections management software (we use CALM if you’re interested). There are 26 fields of data in the ISAD (International Standard for Archival Description) standard, although only five of these are ‘mandatory’ for a basic catalogue. Title, Creator, Date, Extent and Description. This is what you’ll find in all basic catalogues or finding aids. We’ll often complete lots of the other fields too, during the course of our cataloguing. This is to prevent all the information remaining in the head of the Archivist and inaccessible to colleagues or other researchers. As I approach the end of cataloguing the University collection, I am now trying to come up with ways to splurge (it’s the right word, trust me) all the information I’ve picked up over two and a half years poking about in the records into print as much as possible. Yet if it’s not in the description field, only a small number of you may ever notice it, and whilst it may or may not show up on an online catalogue or printed list, if you know the information potentially exists, you may end up asking your local, friendly Archivist to check their system for it. This is a good thing.

So… the Related Material field. This is where we can refer to other collections with a link to the one we are cataloguing. Also known as doing some of the legwork of your research so you don’t have to! Archives are collected on the basis of provenance rather than by subject. So we hold the records of the University of Huddersfield that were created and used here. But we may hold records sent from other institutions and vice versa. They will remain with that institution and we’d link to them. Or there may be close subject links with other collections. For example, we hold the records of JH Whitley, local MP and Speaker of the House of Commons, and related material might include links to the collections at the Houses of Parliament, to other local contemporary MPs at other local archives or universities. The link should also mention the level of detail the catalogue goes to, so Collection Name, University of Whatever (fonds) would mean a collection level description exists, whilst Collection Name, Name of Business (item) would mean each item in that collection has been catalogued. See this in action in the Related Material field of the University of Huddersfield collection: http://heritagequay.org/archives/hud*/?view=item Maybe it’s one of those things that you’ve just never noticed before, but here it is again in the Lister collection at our neighbours, West Yorkshire Archives: http://catalogue.wyjs.org.uk/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=CC00001

Knowing if there is any information in the Related Material field can help to kick start your research, by giving you links to other collections meaning you don’t have to start from scratch. Depending on the ways catalogues are displayed, this field might also contain links to articles written on collections or mini bibliographies the Archivist has used in cataloguing the collection. Strictly speaking, this belongs in the Publication Note field, but Related Material sometimes stands in for it when a catalogue is put online. And if the catalogue you’re looking at has no Related Material field, or doesn’t display this in the online catalogue, remember you can always ask your friendly searchroom staff or Archivist to check for you!

Next Time: Catalogue structure – What exactly is a fond anyway?

Celebrating our volunteers

Last week we held a thank you celebration for our team of volunteers. Some of them have finished their time with us and others are continuing. (There will be new opportunities for volunteers in the autumn).

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Tim Thornton presented each volunteer who was able to attend with a certificate of their volunteering so far – between the 9 people who were able to be there they’ve clocked up 1,800 hours in a year – or equivalent to 0.6 of a full-time post! A really amazing contribution for which we’re very grateful, and look forward to continuing to work with these key members of our team.

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Outstanding Library team at the Times Higher Education Leadership & Management Awards 2016

originally published at https://www.hud.ac.uk/news/2016/june/congratulationstoouroutstandinglibraryteam.phpTHE Awards-1147_library

London, 23 June 2016: University of Huddersfield won the Outstanding Library team award last night, at the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards 2016. The awards, now in their eighth year recognise outstanding leadership and management in the UK’s higher education institutions.

Heritage Quay, the University of Huddersfield’s official archive, opened in October 2014. From the start, it was designed to offer “a truly interactive service where collections become a catalyst for creativity and are a living archive, offering a lively interface between our audiences and the academic community”.

The result is unique among archives in any sector in its use of immersive technology, including an IMAX-style 7 metre video wall to allow visitors to animate and interact with the heritage collections. The wide-ranging programme of events and outreach across Yorkshire and beyond are also highly unusual within UK higher education.

These goals were achieved through the identification of thematic communities of interest, and extensive consultation with partners in the public sector and voluntary organisations, as well as the owners of the principal collections, such as the Rugby Football League and Sound and Music (the national charity for new music). As a result of this, the university created a four-year activity plan and an interpretation strategy, which also underpinned the overall development of the building.

The judges praised Huddersfield’s “amazing new knowledge hub” as “a great example of how to transform valuable heritage collections into an interactive and engaging interdisciplinary resource”.

“The project uses state-of-the-art technology with clear purpose, bringing to life previously hidden knowledge and enabling new connections and ideas to be born. The project’s vision and focus on quality will have a positive impact on the university for many years to come.”

Winners attended a black-tie event at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, hosted by actor and comedian Jimmy Carr, where over 1,000 guests gathered to celebrate outstanding performance in the competitive world of UK higher education.

The winners were chosen by a panel of judges including Alison Johns, chief executive of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, David McBeth, director of research and knowledge exchange services at the University of Strathclyde, and Maja Maricevic, head of higher education at the British Library.

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Archives Service Accreditation presented

LEADING figures from the National Archives, based at Kew, came to the University of Huddersfield to bestow one of the most sought-after awards in the sector.

The University is the home of Heritage Quay, a £1.6 million, technologically-advanced archives centre that is highly accessible to the general public and specialist researchers alike. Now, it has officially been declared an Accredited Archive Service.

This is a distinction awarded by a panel including the National Archives and the Archives and Records Association. The certificate states that the aim is to “ensure the long-term collection, preservation and accessibility of our archive heritage”. Accreditation is a UK quality standard “which recognises good performance in all areas of archive service delivery”.

It was announced earlier this year that Heritage Quay – after an exhaustive application and validation process – had been granted Accredited Archive Service status. The award has now formally been made at a ceremony attended by Caroline Ottaway-Searle, who is Director of Public Engagement at the National Archives, and Melinda Haunton, their Programme Manager for Accreditation.

The University's Sarah Wickham (right) receives the certificate of Accreditation from The National Archives' Caroline Ottaway-Searle
The University’s Sarah Wickham (right) receives the certificate of Accreditation from The National Archives’ Caroline Ottaway-Searle

‌Members of the Heritage Quay team was present to receive the award, alongside University of Huddersfield Archivist and Records Manager Sarah Wickham, Director of Computing and Library Services Sue White and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Tim Thornton.

The nine-strong team at Heritage Quay worked on the substantial submission that was required to apply for accreditation. It appraised factors such as repository standards, the range of public services offered, the policies and procedures in place for managing and cataloguing collections, and the outreach activities taking place amongst a wide range of audiences.

After the document was completed, Accreditation Assessors from across the archives sector visited Heritage Quay to validate the submission.

Out of some 2000 archives in the UK, Accredited status has so far been awarded to 45. The University of Huddersfield joins a list that includes the National Archives themselves, plus London Metropolitan Archives, Lancashire Archives, the National Records of Scotland, the Churchill Archives Centre and the National Library of Wales.

Heritage Quay barcode When it announced that Heritage Quay had joined the list, the Accreditation Panel cited “the recent years of hugely impressive development to this archive service, and the overall uplifting and positive impression of the service in this application”.

It added that “outputs of recent years included a very sound policy basis for the service to develop in future, in addition to the significant achievements supported by a major grant award”.

Archivist and Records Manager Sarah Wickham has said that accreditation “has been a considerable achievement by all of the staff working in Heritage Quay”

“It recognises the high-quality work we do,” she added. “We are a relatively new team, so to achieve this endorsement in such a short space of time is absolutely fantastic.”
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•Heritage Quay was opened in 2014 by Gary Verity, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Yorkshire and the Humber, after the University was awarded almost £1.6 million from the HLF to develop a new archives centre. It is now regarded one of the most technologically-advanced archives in the UK, featuring a high-tech Exploration Space that enables visitors to sample archival material via touch screens and gesture technology. It mounts regular exhibitions and special events that have included lectures, concerts and theatrical performances plus public sessions such as a popular course on the history of brass bands in the Pennines. Heritage Quay has won many awards for its work including a Guardian Higher Education “Inspiring Building” award, and a special commendation in the Royal Historical Society’s inaugural Public History Prize

Story originally published at http://www.hud.ac.uk/news/2016/june/heritagequayreceivesaccreditedarchiveservicedistinction.php