Monday, 14 January 2013

E-ARMMS Newsletter 19

A monthly newsletter from Archive, Records Management and Museum Services (ARMMS) and the Centre for Archive and Information Studies (CAIS) at the University of Dundee.

This is the latest edition of the ARMMS and CAIS newsletter, eARMMS, that we also post here. Let us know if you would like an email copy each month.


In this edition:
  1. Dr John Carvell
  2. Benefiting from the Facts
  3. Digital Art for Light Night
  4. Scottish Art Evening Class
  5. New Volunteers
  6. Talks
  7. Making History
  8. Twitter
  9. New accession
  10. Bumper October for information compliance
  11. Completion of JISC project on the costs of FoI
  12. University Science and Medical Display
  13. Dr John Blair



1. Dr John Carvell

Archive Services has again been visited by John Carvell, who regular readers will recall had previously come to the Archives in August, when he was the subject of an oral history interview. He graduated from the School of Medicine in 1970 and during his time as a student he was the first president of the University of Dundee Sports Union. In 1968 he was part of the University's expedition to Scoresby Land in East Greenland, serving as the medical officer and sending back a number of reports that were published by the Courier and Advertiser. These offer fascinating accounts of the expedition, ranging from the dangers of crumbling snow bridges and charging musk oxen to the beauty and solitude of the land. Dr Carvell has generously deposited copies of the reports and a map of Scoresby Land with us. Before Dr Carvell’s recent visit we had made printouts of various images taken during the expedition that showed the various team members. Dr Carvell kindly took time to identify these individuals thus enabling us to update our records.



2. Benefiting from the Facts

The latest exhibition in the Tower Foyer Gallery has been curated by Claire Wallace, a part-time student on the Museum and Gallery Studies postgraduate course at the University of St Andrews, who is doing her work placement with Museum Services. Claire's exhibition looks at some of the most notable benefactors to the university and its various affiliated institutions, and features paintings, sculpture, photographs and artefacts. Among the benefactors whose generosity is highlighted are Mary Ann Baxter, founder of the university; William Ogilvy Dalgleish, one of the principal funders of the medical school; Margaret Harris, whose bequest endowed the chair of physics; and James Duncan of Jordanstone, after whom the Art College is named. Two of the portraits shown in the exhibition are being displayed for the first time since having conservation treatment funded by a grant from Museums Galleries Scotland. Material from Archive Services is also included in the exhibition.-->



3. Digital Art for Light Night

The D'Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum was open as part of Dundee's Christmas Light Night celebrations, and as part of the event a specially commissioned digital artwork was premiered. Daniel Brown is one of the UK's leading digital artists, and was commissioned by Museum Services as part of the Art Funded RENEW project to build a collection of art inspired by D'Arcy Thompson. Daniel has created a computer program which grows random flower forms whose textures and patterns are drawn from specimens in the Zoology Museum. The work will next be shown in an exhibition in the Gateway Galleries in St Andrews along with other works acquired for the project so far.



4. Scottish Art Evening Class

Curator Matthew Jarron recently organised a successful evening class for Continuing Education on Scottish Art of the 20th Century, arranged in collaboration with the Scottish Society for Art History and co-tutored by Lesley Lindsay. The six-week course, which was fully booked, featured guest talks and visits to local collections, as well as a tour of some of the university's own art collections.



5. New Volunteers

Several new volunteers started working with Archive Services in November joining our long-term volunteers Jaqui and Rosanna. Our volunteers do exceptional work for us on a variety of projects. Currently volunteers are helping catalogue the McLean water records, the records of Dundee Art Society, the papers of Professor Charles McKean and of Dr Mary Young and the Lord Roberts / Royal Dundee Institute for the Blind archives as well as helping us with indexing the University Court Minutes, the admission registers of Dundee Royal Infirmary and Canongate books.



6. Talks

Caroline has given a couple of talks on the archives to local groups recently. Over fifty members of the Perth Probus Club turned out on a cold morning to hear about the archive collections and were particularly interested in the material we hold on the world wars. Caroline also spoke to the Dundee and Rattray Civic Trust focusing on the jute related collections that the archives hold. Several members of the audience had either worked in jute factories or knew people who had been associated with the industry in Dundee or India so there was some lively discussion following the talk.



7. Making History

How can history be 'made'? If history is made then who makes it? In a recent lecture to history students Caroline discussed these questions and the role of archives and archivists in creating history, memories and identities. The students discussed the 'truth' of the historical record and the impact that archivists might have when deciding what to keep and how to catalogue and promote their collections. These issues are also addressed in a module that is currently being developed by CAIS on Public History, and which will be available from May 2013.



8. Twitter

The @UoD_Archives Twitter account now has over 340 followers which represents an increase of more than 125% during 2012. The @CAIS_Archives account continues to prove popular with over 680 users following it, while @UoD_Museums has an incredible 1732 followers. Our Twitter accounts allow our users to obtain instant news, facts and information about our activities and collections.



9. New accession

We recently obtained a copy of the rare 1841 book The State of St David's Parish; with remarks on the Moral and Physical Statistics of Dundee by the Reverend George Lewis. The Reverend Lewis was a leading champion of social reform in Dundee and a prolific writer of pamphlets and tracts. This volume is particularly fascinating in that it provides detailed qualitative and quantitative information on Dundee in the Victorian period, especially the industrial district around the Hawkhill. The book has been added to the Kinnear Local Book Collection (Kloc), which already includes some of Lewis’ other works.



10. Bumper October for information compliance

Alan has started compiling the statistics he needs to produce the annual report on information compliance in the University. October was a bumper month with 32 requests for information received on a variety of subjects. This indicates a remarkable increase in the use of the legislation and individuals' awareness of their rights, especially when we remember that the University received 78 requests in total in 2005 (the first year of FoI).



11. Completion of JISC project on the costs of FoI

The data collection for phase 2 of the JISC project to establish the cost of FoI compliance in UK universities was recently completed. The University of Dundee, along with several other universities, tracked the amount of time spent answering particular requests and provided this data to JISC. The hope is that the project will result in an exchange of good practice and a more representative understanding of the costs of complying with information legislation.



12. University Science and Medical Display

During the Dundee Science Fest, Archive Services had two 'open days' where visitors were given a tour of the archive storage areas and shown a variety of records relating to science and the University. Jennifer and Michael have now used these records to create a small display outside the Searchroom. One of the display boards highlights the work of Johannes Petrus Kuenen, Edward Waymouth Reid, Robert P. Cook and Margaret Fairlie. The second board looks at different Professors and the University buildings associated with them. The items in the display case focus on hospitals and in particular, aspects of 'occupational therapy' at Murray Royal Asylum and Sunnyside Royal Hospital.



13. Dr John Blair

Kenneth recently finished listed and numbering the papers of Dr John Blair (UR-SF 65). Dr Blair studied medicine in Dundee in the 1940s and 1950s and has had a long association with both the University of Dundee and the University of St Andrews in a variety of capacities. As well as serving for many years as a widely respected consultant at Perth Royal Infirmary, Dr Blair is internationally well known as an expert in the history of medicine. He also had a long association with the Royal Army Medical Corps. His fascinating records include material relating to his career, personal life and his many interests, notably golf.


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