In collections development, preparations for the move to LoB have been gathering pace. Work to ensure that our collections are documented on the department’s database has been going on for the last 3 years. A team of 2 archivists and 2 archive assistants have been measuring the size of each archive collection, counting the numerous different box types we use to store different sized items in each collection, double checking collection reference numbers and shelf locations, and, where possible, adding as many of our paper catalogues as possible to our catalogue database. This is to ensure that all the information about a collection is in one place for our staff to search easily and so that the collections can be securely moved to the new archive stores in LoB.
Much of this work is very time-consuming and labour-intensive as we hold over 6000 archive collections. Now, as we draw closer to the move date, we are boxing up any loose material and ensuring that reference numbers are clearly visible on the outside of volumes or boxes so that the collections can be easily found by the removal company, safely and securely transported, and easily relocated in their new home. Sometimes this work can be physically difficult as some of the volumes are extremely big and heavy (see above photo!), requiring several people to move them, and sometimes they can be very dusty due to the conditions in which they were kept before they came to the archive. This work is going on at the same time as more specialised packaging work which the Conservation team is doing for collections containing items such as glass negatives and rolled maps and plans. We expect all of this work to take up the remaining time before the move to our new home next year.
Eleanor, Archives Assistant