Virtual Volunteering at Denbighshire Archives

March 27, 2015

Do you want to support Denbighshire Archives by volunteering from home?

Volunteers have helped us complete a number of fantastic projects recently and we appreciate the time they devote to help improve our service. Traditionally volunteers have worked on site, but we know a number of people would like to volunteer with us but are unable to reach the office due to travel time or costs or the hours we can offer do not suit their schedule or lifestyle. Like many other archive services across the country we have decided to start offering virtual volunteering which means you can support our service from home.

We are looking for volunteers from a diverse range of backgrounds, and with a variety of needs and motivations: young and old, people looking for a new skill or looking to expand their CV, gain work experience or to acquire local knowledge.

Why volunteer?

Volunteering can benefit you by:

  • improving your IT and other work-related skills
  • providing a better sense of being part of a community
  • improving confidence when job hunting

Volunteering also supports individuals returning to work after periods of unemployment by providing training in new skills and exposure to new sectors. You can read more about volunteering in the archive sector in this report.

How volunteering helps us?

In volunteering at Denbighshire Archives, you will be contributing to the future of historical research in the county. Volunteers add value to our work and help support our aims and objectives. So far, volunteers have helped us to;

  • preserve and clean the records in our care
  • add information and improve our archives catalogue
  • create databases to increase access to some of the records we hold including the North Wales Hospital Index
Llanelian School c. 1900

Denbighshire Archives holds over 140 school collections relating to areas in Denbighshire, Conwy and Wrexham. School records include log books, admission registers and photographs which give a fascinating insight into the social history of the time.

What you need to be able to volunteer from home?

We are looking to recruit new volunteers to help us improve our online catalogue which means converting paper catalogues into a searchable database. At the moment our priority is school collections relating to areas in Denbighshire, Conwy and Wrexham. All you will need is an email address and access to a PC with Microsoft Word or similar. You will be invited to an optional face to face training session and provided with written instructions and examples.

The skills we are looking for include basic computer and typing skills and an eye for detail.

If you would like to support our service and volunteer with us please fill in our Form and return to searchroom@denbighshire.gov.uk. We have limited availability for on-site volunteer placements, please contact us if you are interested in volunteering at the office in Ruthin.

Online Services at Denbighshire Archives

March 24, 2015

As you are aware, it was recently decided to reduce the archive service’s opening hours in 2015 so that we can commit more time to developing and improving our online presence. We feel that this is vital for the service to remain sustainable and relevant in today’s world. It will enable Denbighshire Archives Service to widen its customer base beyond those that visit the searchroom in Ruthin.

Since this new direction was outlined, members of our team have been working to develop a plan for achieving our new goals, with support and guidance from CyMAL (policy division of the Welsh Government responsible for developing policy for local museums, archives and libraries in Wales) and The National Archives.

The following vision statement has been established:

Denbighshire Archives Service will provide the widest possible access to the collections in its care through opportunities presented by utilising digital technologies. An innovative and comprehensive online resource providing modern and efficient access to the service will complement and enhance those provided onsite.

A forward work-plan has been developed to help achieve this vision. Some of our main priorities over the next five years include:

• To launch a new Denbighshire Archives website by the end of 2015
• To have our catalogue of collections published and made available on the new website
• To work on the transfer of paper catalogues into CALM (our cataloguing database)
• To make better use of existing digitised material on the new website
• To seek external funding to catalogue and digitise key material from larger collections, notably the North Wales Mental Health Hospital collection.

This work does not distract us from the service provided to our searchroom visitors. This is still and will always remain an important aspect of the service to us but we now aim to complement this with an online service that reaches different and new audiences.

We hope you have found the update summary useful. We will aim to keep you regularly updated on this and other activities at Denbighshire Archives via our Blog and Facebook pages.

 


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