AAMH Project Logo

Accessing our archival and manuscript heritage

News

10th April 2006: Helpers seminars

Seminars intended to help archive and library professionals and family and local historians make best use of the Helpers web interface have been held at Senate House Library in December 2005 and February and March 2006. Another has been arranged for the afternoon of Friday 23rd June.

Please contact , Project Assistant, for further information.

1st March 2006: Helpers leaflets

Two Helpers leaflets have now been printed. One introduces the project and website and the other is a more detailed guide to making best use of Helpers.

Please contact , Project Assistant, if you would like copies of either of these leaflets.

5th October 2005: The Helpers web interface, part of the Accessing our Archival and Manuscript Heritage project, has now been launched.

Please go straight to http://helpers.shl.lon.ac.uk/ to view the specially-created collection descriptions and tutorials for users of public libraries, family and local historians who wish to know more about relevant resources located in libraries in the University of London. This growing resource will develop in coming months.

Please contact , Project Assistant, for further information.

23rd May 2005: The May steering group meeting has taken place

The May steering group meeting has taken place. The minutes will be distributed when they are completed. The formal launch of the Helpers web interface has been fixed for the evening of 5th October 2005.

18th March 2005: Focus group meetings are organised

Two focus group meetings have been organised for Saturday 16th and 30th April at Senate House Library. Please contact if you are interested in participating.

16th February 2005: The February steering group meeting has taken place.

The February steering group meeting has taken place. The minutes will be distributed when they are completed. The next meeting is scheduled for 25th May 2005.

16th November 2004: A call for contributors is put out to form a focus group for the project

Senate House Library, University of London is currently undertaking a project to broaden access to its holdings. As such we investigating which materials that we hold would be of interest to family and local historians in London and the South East, and how we can publicise and promote their use. One of the main outcomes of the project will be a web interface to a variety of family and local history research guides, resources and tools.

We need your help in designing this web interface: to discover what resources local and family historians would really benefit from, we would like to talk to you about how you conduct your research. Your level of experience in researching local and family history is not important: we are looking to talk to both experienced and novice researchers.

You can contribute in two ways:

Please contact .

20th October 2004: The October meeting of the steering group has taken place

The October steering group meeting took place at Senate House Library on 18th October. The minutes will be distributed to the group and made available on this website on their completion. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday 14th February 2005.

9th August 2004: Appointment of Richard Butterworth as Project Technical and Liaison Officer

Senate House Library, University of London, is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Richard Butterworth as Project Technical and Liaison Officer, Accessing our Archival and Manuscript Heritage. The appointment is for a fixed term period of 14 months, and a secondment from the post of Senior Lecturer in the School of Computing Science, Middlesex University.

Accessing our Archival and Manuscript Heritage is funded by an award of £75,000, comprising funds of £67,000 from the former Electronic Access to Resources in Libraries (EARL) Consortium for Public Library Networking plus a grant of £8,000 from the LASER Foundation. Its purpose is to fund the creation and development of a specially-dedicated web interface for lifelong learners interested in archives, manuscripts and manuscript studies. It is seen as an important demonstrator project, showing how a major academic library can develop facilities which respond to the needs not just of the academic community but also of those in the wider world who have a serious interest in original source materials for this kind of study. The content to be developed will form part of the Manuscript Studies Portal under development at Senate House Library, University of London. Representatives from the former EARL board and the Laser Foundation are advising during the development work.

Richard Butterworth is a computer scientist with a particular interest in the usability and organisational impact of digital library systems. His PhD and post-doctoral work studied theoretical models of cognition and how they could be expressed mathematically to analyse the usability of computer systems. He has been instrumental in developing a digital library system for The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, and has also studied the way that small, specialist libraries in London have developed online resources; as well as conducting usability studies of the digital library system developed by BT at Adastral Park. His experience in bringing specialist resources to the notice of wider communities and creating a user friendly environment for their use particularly commended him for appointment to this project.

Richard will be working on the web interface for lifelong learners. Underpinned by leading edge portal technology, meeting national and international portal standards, the web interface, a prototype of which is already under development, will provide access to key digital content. Through the interface, lifelong and independent learners will be able to uncover many relevant resources in research libraries, which may previously have been unfamiliar to them. Working closely in co-operation with public library networks and consortia, the project will address directly the information and research needs of family and local historians and genealogists, and other key lifelong learning communities. The outcomes and lessons of working closely with these groups will inform further development projects, for example, with local schools and further education institutions.

To help steer the development and content of the web interface, there will be complementary focus groups, seminars and visits to Senate House Library, University of London, for family and local historians and genealogists, using the facilities of the Dr Seng Tee Lee Centre for Manuscript and Book Studies. The final project report will include a detailed evaluation of the technical, management and user issues relating to the creation of this dedicated interface, with recommendations as to future strategy, and will be disseminated widely.