Since starting the blog last Sunday, it has been a fairly busy week: university, volunteering, working, and some fun! Monday is a uni day, and I attended a lecture and seminar for the Concepts & Contexts module. In the lecture we looked at critical thinking and reflective practice, and how the two are useful tools for archivists and records managers. In the seminar we discussed what we thought does and does not constitute a record, and we were all asked to bring an example for each side of the argument. Items that the group presented as records included a letter of student statement, a printed and bound undergraduate dissertation, and various formal forms of identification. For the non-records, our examples included a CD album with an enclosed letter, a post-it note, and an informal e-mail to a colleague in invitation to a party. The reading that we had done in preparation for the seminar gave a variety of singular and more abstract viewpoints, and our personal determinations of what did and did not constitute a record were built from the week’s reading. Our lecturer was able to make the point that the items that we had thought not to constitute a record could in fact be seen as records. The context of the items, the status of the person to whom the items belonged, and the potential for additional information, background and context could all contribute to the recordness of the item.
I volunteer in the archives at the University of Northampton on a Tuesday, and so I spent this Tuesday morning continuing to work on a recent accession. The University of Northampton’s archive is where I started out volunteering in 2012, and I’ve been fortunate to be a long-term volunteer. There are two full-time staff who also have records management responsibilities, a part-time member of staff who looks after a particular archive, and two volunteers, including myself. The archive has a wide range of collections, and I’m currently working on my third project since starting at the archive, each one of which has been different. Working on different types of projects and archive materials has been a really useful contribution to my archival education. (I’m planning a blog post about the project that I am currently working on soon, so I won’t say too much about it for now).
On Wednesday I had a university lecture for the record-keeping module, The Record-Keeping Professional. This week’s topic was Project Management. All of my experience so far has been in archives rather than records management, and I have never been involved in a project management capacity before. Looking at project management case studies within the archives sector, discussing jargon, and thinking about different frameworks for project delivery was therefore a really useful exercise (and good preparation for our impending coursework!). We spent quite a bit of time discussing the elements that lead to success and to failure, drawing on the group’s personal experiences and the case studies that we had looked at in preparation for the lecture. Planning, planning, and more planning seems to be the key theme in successful project management, amongst other things.
This Tuesday, in general, was a very good day. My new MacBook Air was delivered in the afternoon, and I feel so much more professional now that I have a shiny new laptop to work on. (Disclaimer: I know that having a MacBook has absolutely no bearing on my professionalism, but it’s so new and so shiny!). It’s been years since I last used a Mac, so getting used to how everything works again has been an interesting process. But perhaps my favourite bit of the day came in my trampoline training session in the evening. I’ve been trampolining at Northampton Trampoline Gymnastics Academy for over two years now, and I absolutely love it! (So much so that I’ve even invested in getting myself a coaching qualification)! The big event on Tuesday was that I performed unassisted straight-backs! (For those who don’t know what they are, I can recommend watching this video on YouTube – it’s not me performing the move, but it’s an example of what the move is). I’m really pleased because it’s quite a hard move, and what’s more, it’s a move that Olympic trampolinists performed in this year’s Rio Olympics, and I can do it! (It doesn’t look anywhere near as perfected as Bryony Page would do it, but I can do it!). I started learning how to perform the move a week ago, and luckily I’ve not found it too hard, unlike some moves I’ve been struggling with over the past year!
During the rest of the week I’ve been working on my ‘homework’, the reading and preparation for next week’s lectures, and over the weekend, I continued with the cataloguing and digitisation of newsletters for the Teams of Our lady Transatlantic Super-Regional collection. I’m in the middle of my second autumnal cold so it’s been a fairly quiet weekend. Lots of hot drinks, woolly jumpers, homemade flapjack, and a cheeky night of Bingo with some lovely friends.
Have you done anything exciting this week?