“Stock taking” is the name of our game for a 2 week period, usually in the summer months when reader numbers are very low. At this time, Special Collections closes and gets on with large-scale tasks: all hands on deck!!
Stock taking is always a lot of fun and we look forward to the annual event. And, while we had our set of stock taking objectives to achieve there are definitely some recurring themes:
- One task always takes longer than you think it will
- We always discover a preservation nightmare
- We always get dirty
- We always find new treasures
Interestingly, this year all of the above related to one collection: the National Art Slide Library donated by the Victoria & Albert Museum in the 1990s. Since its arrival, before the establishment of Special Collections, the collection was moved around a lot and its original arrangement lost. So this year we were determined to get to grips with it.
The archivists and volunteers get their hands dirty:
Re-discovered treasures in the slide collection
As well as “taking stock” one of our main tasks this year was to make our rare books and journals more accessible – overall we moved a staggering 500 linear metres (mostly David)…
as well as organised and listed 700 boxes of slides!! No wonder one of us was dreaming about them:
We now have an amazing box list of the whole collection which has increased our understanding of the content enormously, allowing us to develop cataloguing methodologies, not to mention highlighting some of the more urgent re-packaging needs.
A job well done (still doing, ahem)!!