Here’s another view of the excellent visit to HES last week (I am increasingly sorry I missed it!). Words by Morag Ferguson of the Advocates Library, pictures by Lesa Ng of Heriot-Watt University.
On 8 October 2018 I visited John Sinclair House, at 16 Bernard Terrace Edinburgh for a tour of the Search Rooms and Library at Historic Environment Scotland (HES) organised by ELISA. Neil Fraser, the Public Services Manager kindly hosted our visit and welcomed us with tea, coffee and biscuits which is always a good start.
HES came into being in October 2015 following the amalgamation of Historic Scotland and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments. As well as caring for historical buildings such as Edinburgh and Stirling Castle, HES also has responsibility for digital archives such as SCRAN, CANMORE and NCAP (National Collection of Aerial Photography). I found this particularly interesting as BBC Scotland is currently showing ‘Scotland from the Sky’ which was produced and presented by one of the HES staff, James Crawford.
In its conservation role HES has responsibility for the Engine Shed in Stirling which is a central hub for building and conservation professionals with a visitor centre. I’m originally from Stirling so now plan to visit the Engine Shed on my next trip home. Neil took us on a tour of the Search Rooms and Library where Joe McAllister, the Access Officer had laid out some interesting drawings of Craigend house in Renfrewshire. The Search Rooms and Library are open to the Public Tuesday to Friday 9.30-4.30 where you can browse open access items such as books and photographs but it is best to give advance notice of your visit. They provide a range of copying facilities and permit self-copying (cameras or phones) of certain material. If you need to see original historic drawings and manuscripts, these can be ordered in advance.
Thereafter we were taken to the archives to view the collections stored where Architects firms can choose to deposit their drawings and materials. We also visited their conservation workshop where the archivist explained the delicate work required to repair older materials. Apparently there has been a shift back to using ancient Japanese techniques for conservation repairs as these have proved to be more durable and less harmful than some of the more modern methods.
Finally in the foyer we had a chance to view some of the newer publications produced by HES. I spotted a copy of “Bloody Scotland” a compilation of short stories by Crime writers at the Bloody Scotland Festival in Stirling. I thought it surprising that HES should be involved in the publication of this book but Neil explained that all the murders took place in Scottish built heritage, which explained the connection. I thoroughly enjoyed this ELISA visit which enabled me to learn a great deal more about the work and responsibilities of Historic Environment Scotland so special thanks to Neil Fraser of HES and Jennifer Higgins from the National Library of Scotland for organising this.
In the 19th-century, Edinburgh was a city of freedom for Black social justice campaigners born into slavery in the USA. Frederick Douglass and other Black abolitionists came to the city to collaborate, speak publicly and to inspire thousands to join the anti-slavery campaign.
You can explore maps pinpointing Frederick Douglass and other Black abolitionists in Edinburgh and Scotland using this interactive map resource. You can also view a ‘Strike for Freedom’ display guide and a ‘Black Freedom Trail Map’ of Edinburgh at Edinburgh University’s ‘Our Bondage & Our Freedom’ website.
Visit the National Library of Scotland’s ‘Strike for Freedom’ Treasurer’s display from the 4th Oct 2018-16 Feb 2019 and view manuscripts and photographs that chart the campaign against slavery in the midst of the American Civil War.
On a blustery, October Monday I had the opportunity to attend another ELISA-organised event, this time situated in the building of Historic Environment Scotland, discreetly tucked away in the middle of Bernard Terrace. I had first been introduced to HES at the LocScot event in March this year, which took place at the National Library of Scotland. We saw different representatives of historical information services hoping to create a search-friendly resource after pooling together their data so it would conveniently reach out to (all types of) end users. It was then that HES had piqued my interest so I was excited to know more about their historical archive holdings.
ELISA have two exciting visits coming up soon and tickets are available now.
On October 8th at 2:00pm there is a visit to Historic Environment Scotland.
This will include an introduction to HES’ work and its Archive and collections with the opportunity to ask questions about the Canmore database, Scran, PastMap and ScotlandsPlaces.
There will also be a tour of the Search Room at HES’ Archives and other points of interest in the building.
Tickets are available via Eventbrite
On November 8th there is a visit to Lloyds Bank’s archives at Sighthill in Edinburgh.
The Archivist at Lloyds’ will conduct a tour of the Bank’s archive stores.
The visit offers an opportunity to learn more about records management and enquiry handling within a private-sector organisation and compare this with the practice of, say, the National Records of Scotland, recently visited by ELISA.
This visit is open to all and will have a broad appeal to colleagues working in conservation and with local and family history records.
Tickets are available via Eventbrite
CILIPS East & Central Branch are holding a Meet the President Event.
A wonderful networking opportunity to meet Margaret in our time-honoured tradition: with friends old and new and some tasty treats!
Margaret has worked in Dunfermline, West Lothian and the Scottish Borders and had been an East Branch committee member for about 20 years. We are really looking forward to seeing what she has been up to so far in her role as President this year.
Please join us!
Date: 19th September 2018
Venue: The Boardroom, Central Library, 7-9 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EG
Register: by emailing Julie Sutherland email@example.com
Join us for the second #LibrariansUncorked reading group taking place this week on Tuesday 11th September at The Wash Bar.
The group will discuss ‘Vocational awe and librarianship: the lies we tell ourselves’ written by Fobazi Ettarh for the online journal In the Library with the Leadpipe.
By considering the historical connection between religion and libraries, the article analyses the problem of characterising librarianship as a ‘calling’; rhetoric that glorifies librarians as intrinsically moral and ethical individuals rather than a valued professional group. Supposed MLIS ‘martyrdom’ is arguably creating a pattern of workplace stress, low salary expectations and expanding job roles; even leading to a lack of diversity within the profession. Yet strong professional ethics are how librarians are entrusted to make decisions on behalf of communities.
Over-awed? Then make an after-work pilgrimage to the pub for praise to freedom of speech and intellectual freedom with fellow saintly colleagues. We’ll debate the article and consider its relevance and impact to our working experiences. If the second meeting is anything like the first, then expect a broad church of opinions, passions (and possible confessions) to be represented and celebrated in a friendly, social space.
It’s free. For faithful and lapsed CPD devotees alike!
One of the things that I enjoy most about being part of ELISA is meeting and speaking to colleagues who come along to our events. At our AGM we were joined by Krisztina Rabai who turned out to be an intern at the National Library of Scotland, which is where I work however we hadn’t previously met. I asked Kristzina if she would be willing to write a post for us before she left the Library, and the country, and here it is.