Over Summer 2022, WCIA were fortunate to receive financial support from the Davies Family Trust – with contributions from Academi Heddwch Cymru and Santander Foundation – towards a series of volunteering Archiveathons, cataloguing and safeguarding the library archives and artefacts that collectively make up the Temple Collections under care of WCIA (the Welsh Centre for Inernational Affairs).
Previous work had been undertaken in 2019 on ‘mapping’ the Temple’s Archives, mostly held in the Attic away from public access. Over Summer 2022, Georgia and volunteers have been undertaking appraisal & selection of these materials, and formatting the listings in accordance with ISAD accreditation standards for upload to the National Archives ‘Discovery’ portal, using their ‘Manage your Collections’ (MYC) platform.
- Temple of Peace Archives organisational homepage and Temple Collections inventory
- WLNU League of Nations Union (8 boxes, including WEAC Welsh Education Advisory Committee; and WAC Women’s Advisory Committee).
- CEWC Council for Education in World Citizenship (31 boxes)
- FFHC Freedom from Hunger Campaign (6 boxes)
- WCIA Welsh Centre for International Affairs (41 boxes; includes Cynefin y Werin)
- For ongoing work: UNA United Nations Association and UNICEF; UNA Exchange / IYS International Youth Service; WISEN, Cynefin y Werin, MDGs Task Force & Wales International Development Hub.
- The Archives ‘Master’ inventory is an Excel spreadsheet held on WCIA’s Sharepoint (cloud) storage, with multiple tabs for each organisational collection. To avoid ‘version control’ conflicts, there are 2 options:
- a) bulk updates should be input to the ‘Master’ sheet; and then each updated tab exported as a standalone sheet for upload via the Manage Your Collections dashboard. New uploads overwrite all previous data. OR
- b) individual updates can be input directly via the MYC dashboard. Those updates should then be exported (as a downloadable Excel file), and pasted into WCIA’s Archives Master doc.
Accessions & Disposals – Alongside the appraisal process, items have been identified for prospective disposal (low value records such as financial accounts, subject to data protection etc). Some Archives may be more appropriate for WCIA’s trustees to donate (accession) to other archives where they may be more accessible to audiences who may wish to access them:
- WNMA Wales National Memorial Association, 350 ledgers – list here. These may be more useful for research access, if they were relocated to an archive who already hold wider health records relating to Glamorgan or national bodies.
- Powys UNA – to be listed, Insight placement over Autumn. These may be more appropriate for accession to Powys Archives.
- Financial docs and Publications – list here, Insight placement over Autumn.
- Next steps – organise disposals, and liaise with Glamorgan and Powys Archives.
Work in the Library has encompassed a) cataloguing the contents; b) reorganising materials to optimise use of storage space / public access and c) Updating public Information.
Cataloguing the Library
With over 100m of shelving, the cataloguing of the Temple’s Library was no small task. WCIA took an innovative approach through ‘crowdsourcing’ volunteers to contribute to an ‘Archiveathon Challenge‘. The output of this work was to create:
- Library Catalogue – to be publicly available, currently in format of an Excel spreadsheet with Tabs for each cabinet can be searched using ‘Find and Select’ function.
- The Excel spreadsheet headings are formatted to meet ISAD Guidelines
- Total number of books catalogued: 8657 (some shelves remaining for completion – expected final total circa 10,000)
WCIA’s hope was to identify a suitable network or software platform on which to share the Temple’s Library data so that it was globally accessible through other libraries and archive searches. As yet, we have not found a solution that is within the budgets and capacity constraints of WCIA as a small charity with limited budget (such systems mostly seem designed for purpose built lending institutions). If any readers or supporters know of a suitable platform, we would be grateful for suggestions! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reorganising and Indexing Library materials
The opportunity was taken to develop a more coherent organisation for visitors and users of the Library. Material is organised into 3 ‘zones’:
- Cabinets 1-12, pre-WW2 books and periodicals (David Davies, Gareth Jones and WLNU collections)
- Cabinets 13-22, behind linen hangings, archives boxes organised into chronological ‘blocks’ of archives from each era of the Temple’s History.
- Cabinets 23-31, post-WW2 books and periodicals
A number of shelving spaces have been set aside for interpretation, spotlighting the key collections that are held within the Temple Library. Montages of material are displayed with coloured acrylic backdrops, drawn from the colours of the 1960s ‘rainbow’ peace flag.
Testing the Catalogue in Practice: Filming Engagement
With its unique art deco setting, the Library is often requested as film set, for which crews often require the room to be ‘dressed’ differently to normal. In late September WCIA managed a booking by a production company (filming the period drama ‘Cake’), who required the existing contents to be completely emptied. This presented an opportunity to ‘test drive’ using the catalogue to ensure materials were boxed and indexed appropriately, and returned to the correct shelf locations – developing guidance for managing similar events requests for future.
- Identify a suitable online platform for enabling the Temple’s Library collections to be searched / found from other libraries
- Explore scope for collaborating with Cardiff University to include Temple books on their internal systems?
Objects and Artefacts
WCIA sought to create an inventory of other collections items falling beyond the scope of library books and archival materials, and so developed an Artefacts spreadsheet.
- PCW Bulk Uploader template
- Temple Collections, PCW bulk upload format.
- People’s Collection Wales, Temple of Peace artefacts collection
WCIA have been pro-active in encouraging volunteers to digitise materials relating to Wales’ Peace Heritage, however these have usually been uploaded and curated on a ‘case by case’ with limited capacity to date for overarching strategic organisation. Alongside several thousand items on People’s Collection Wales Over 8,000 items
- Prioritisation of albums currnetly held on Flickr.
- Training with PCW team in Aberystwyth, later over Autumn 2022
Work Experience Placements
- 2 Paid Internships: Georgia Wood and Georgia Osborne, undertook 175 hours (23 days) work each, plus Georgia Wood contributed an additional 50 hours on a voluntary basis.
- Georgia Wood Blog post and a Placement Review with the WCIA team
- Georgia Osborne Blog Post and a Placement Review with the WCIA team
- 2 Insights Placements undertook 35 hours (5 days) work each:
- Georgia Ash Blog Post and a Placement Review with the WCIA team
- Morgan McCarthy Blog Post and a Placement Review with the WCIA team
- 1 Academic Module Placement: Hannah Spruce from University of Winchester, and a Placement Review with the WCIA team.
- 4 ESC International Volunteer Placements: Arina Yakupova, Ludovica Cina and Aleksandra Trynova and Gunel Mamedova (arrived a few weeks into project)
- 15 Archiveathon Volunteers
- Archiveathons Promotion article
Policy & Process
Kevin Bolton, Archives Libraries and Heritage Consultant advised WCIA throughout the course of the project, offering a total of 3 days expert consultancy to guide the activities programme
Craig Owen, WCIA’s Heritage Advisor (part time and usually based in Hereford / Aberyswtyth) was resourced for an extra day a week in Cardiff over 12 weeks to manage the placements / volunteers and oversee the ‘on the ground’ activities.
Monitoring equipment was acquired through Preservation Equipment in Diss, based on Kevin Bolton’s recommendations / prioritisation, for installation in the Council Chamber and Attic. This will enable WCIA to build up a bank of data monotoring exposure of heritage materials to temperature, light, humidity, pests and other risks, that can inform future management of collections.
A Disaster Response ‘quick sheet’ was developed for reference by non-heritage staff or building users in event of . Full policy to be developed.
Collections policy to be developed.
- £10,000 from the Davies Family Trust towards overall project costs
- £1,500 from Academi Heddwch Cymru towards 2 student placements cataloguing materials of value to future academic researchers
- £1,000 from Santander Foundation (via Cardiff University) towards 2 student placements gaining work experience
- £6156.58 Student Placements and Staff Support. 175 hours each
- £1200 Kevin Bolton
- £ WeDig Media website programming
- £901 Preservation Equipment – Monitoring
- 954.77 Travel
- £1301 WCIA Overheads
- CCTV Camera installation in Attic £325