Great example of archival research in action: the value of a negative finding (students are often deterred by this when new to research, but it’s all part of the process) and the role of serendipity. This finding of linked and useful things is a really important by-product of many visits to Special Collections.
The Archives Hub, gateway to descriptions of 20,000-plus archives at 200 UK universities, is coming up to its tenth anniversary. The Hub began at around the same time as the Special Collections service at Bradford Uni, and has played a key role in what we have achieved.
10 reasons I heart the Hub
- It offered a way forward in dealing with the unmapped, uncatalogued archives at Bradford. The first Hub project funded us to create collection descriptions, getting our massive cataloguing project underway.
- The Hub helps researchers at Bradford and everywhere to find out where archives are, easily.
- It helps me to help staff and students, and to do my job e.g. offering sensible alternatives to donors whose archives aren’t suitable for our collections.
- The Hub offers useful free training to users and contributors.
- The team are friendly and helpful, and genuinely invite suggestions from users and contributors.
- Our use of the Hub for archive descriptions has helped us to impress funders.
- It helps archives market their collections through the monthly features. PaxCat Project featured recently.
- The Hub approach is flexible. You can contribute collection or multi-level descriptions, your data can be hosted centrally or locally as a Spoke, and a range of standards can be used e.g. LCSH or Unesco for subject headings.
- The Hub and COPAC are managed together, which makes sense as both are about bringing historic collections to wider audiences. I am also very appreciative of COPAC in raising awareness of our rare book and pamphlet collections.
- Inter-operability is at the heart of the the Hub, making it flexible and allowing all sorts of exciting future developments. I’m rather excited about the potential of linked data. Watch this space!
(heart pic by lady-bug, from flickr, licence attrib,noncomm,no deriv).