Volunteering at the University of Northampton Part 3: the Avenue Ducts Collection

In Parts 1 and 2, I blogged about my experiences working with the College of Education and the Northamptonshire Grammar School collections. The project that I am currently working on is the Avenue Ducts collection.

The Avenue Ducts collection is a recent accession of material relating to the University of Northampton and it’s previous iterations, Nene College of Higher Education (1975-1999) and University College Northampton (1999-2005). I was involved right from the start, in the appraisal of the material, where we determined what to keep and what not to keep. Once this was completed, the ‘to keep’ material was delivered to the archive.

The first task was to add the information to the accessions register and then compile box lists. The accessions register does what it says on the tin and registers the accessions that come into the archive, so the information detailed here provides the dates and a brief outline of the content in the accession. The box lists provide further basic information on the content in each of the boxes in the collection.

Once the box lists were completed, the collection was divided into three series, representing the three iterations of of the University of Northampton. I am currently working on the earliest material, Nene College, as starting with the earliest material in the collection made the most organisational sense. So far, the process has involved rehousing the material into archival standard boxes, and organising the material into sub-series. I have recently started to catalogue and conserve the series, removing any metal or plastic content, and replacing them with Melinex pockets where necessary.

My volunteering experience at the UON Archive so far has given me an insight into many different aspects of the processes and responsibilities of an archive, all of which have been really valuable. My postgraduate degree in Archives & Records Management really compliments my volunteering role at the UON Archive, and as I’m learning more about the theories and principles underpinning archival practice I find myself thinking more about what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. Archives play a key role in preserving information and making it accessible. After twenty-something years of education and a range of jobs I’m finally where I want to be, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store.


Many thanks to the Records Manager for allowing me to write some blog posts about my experience.

If you would like to know more about the Avenue Ducts collection, or any of the other diverse collections held by the University of Northampton’s Archive, then please visit the archive website.

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