So we know how to record Oral Histories, now we need to know where to put them! The following week we made a visit to the Bradford Local Studies Library which houses the West Yorkshire Archive Service to learn more about how a City Archive works and about archiving heritage material in general.
For our introduction to Archives and archiving, we were split into 2 groups and given two very different tasks. One group was taught to use microfiche equipment, where old newpapers had been scanned and printed very small onto a plastic reel. This reel can then be put under a scanner that has a microscope and the images appear on a screen. This can be read by computer and/or just printed. We also learnt that digital archives had specific criteria for the photos and documents because it was all necessary to ensure the media could be stored for hundreds of years, if not more!
While one group was learning and practising their digital archiving skills, the other group was given a chance to handle more traditional sources of information; real documents that had been donated to the archive for save keeping. We were shown one of the storage rooms for archived books, papers and documents. We were given the names of certain cricketers and other famous people and then we had the task of using these resources to find out as much information as we could about them. There was no Google or Wikipedia to help us out, we got our hands dirty and rummaged through the archive materials to find the information we needed. It wasn’t nearly as difficult as we first thought it would be as everything was organised very neatly and stored in labelled boxes.