My life as an English archivist trainee

Well this blogpost is waaayy overdue. Apologies for the long wait people, I was just struggling a bit to come to terms with working 4,5 weeks, doing school work and having a commute that turned out to be way longer (because you cannot trust English public transport). It’s not been all work and no play though, as I have also met up with some friends here in the UK to visit places like Coventry, Leamington Spa and to explore Oxford together.

In my last blogpost I promised you an update on my new job. I’m afraid, however, that it has to be a rather generic post, as my hands are a bit tied due to the social media policy. That being said, I will try to make this blog as interesting as I can nonetheless.

The first thing I want to say is that I feel really blessed as I really like my colleagues. They are all very sweet and have tried hard to make me feel at home. After leaving WoningNet this was the thing that I was most worried about, as my WoningNet colleagues are all super sweet and awesome. I have kept in touch with some of them and it is great hearing from them once in a while. I still miss them, but I am glad that I have found such wonderful colleagues here in the UK.

Ok, so now you know I like my colleagues. But what about the job? Well that isn’t half bad either (read: I am really enjoying myself). I am currently being trained in one of the reading rooms to help answer questions of readers and give out books and other materials readers wish to look at. As the material belongs to the special collections these books cannot leave the reading room, so we have to keep an close eye on it.

I am also learning how to catalogue a collection comprised of the work of a contemporary poet. The first step in this was taking all the items out of boxes and placing them in special archive boxes, whilst making a list in Excel detailing what I was putting in each box… Now this may sound boring, but it was strangely exciting, because I was never sure what I would find in each box. I definitely did not expect to be cataloguing 5 different coloured corkscrews or temporary tattoos… Yep, bet you didn’t see that one coming either. I am pretty sure I lucked out with this collection though.

The next step is determining how I wish to arrange the catalogue and including this in a cataloguing plan, which I will be working on after my break today.

I have also been taught how to digitize cassette tapes and other media whilst using forensic technology, and will be helping to implementing a new system that will my workplace to catalogue digital media more effectively.

I have also learned how to archive websites so they can be kept for posterity even when their owners take them offline. I think this is a brilliant initiative, as I am pretty sure we all come across one of two websites that we would have looked at a bit more after they went offline.

I’m afraid that is all for now. My break is nearly over. I hope to be able to post a bit more frequently now I have some sort of routine going here. If you have any questions about my life in the UK, feel free to ask :).


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