The Assynt Field Club, a local society for those interested in natural history and ecology, has a collection of material gathered over many years, in the form of physical records, slides, maps, diary entries, logs and many other information records. Many of these records are the work of Pat and Ian Evans, who also received sighting records, photographs and other information from field club members, Assynt residents, visitors and field specialists. Much of information pre-dates the common availability of digital formats. The Field Club is aware of the archival value of all this information, but the task of digitising it all and making it accessible is a huge one, almost certainly beyond the scope of voluntary work to get it all done. The Field Club has long been aware of the possibilities the Assynt Community Digital Archive represents to their archival requirements.
The suggestion was made to seek funding for a pilot exercise, and the North Highland Initiative was approached to see how such an exercise would fit with their priorities. The intent was that the Field Club would run the project, using the facilities of the Assyt Community Digital Archive. NHI was enthusiastic about the proposal, and it was agreed to fund a short project of 22 days as a pilot to determine the value, scope and achievability of such an archiving project. A local resident, Avril Haines, was selected as the archivist, from a very capable and satisfyingly large list of applicants. Avril's training in digital techniques and archiving principles started in January 2014. The project is run under the auspices of NHI, with local oversight by the Field Club representatives, mainly Ian Evans and Andy Summers. Eilidh Todd of NHI has been wonderful regarding the administration and facilitation of the post, and Ian Mitchell very helpful with candidate selection.
At the end of the pilot, a report will be drawn up to lay out the learnings of the project and to determine criteria for future such work, if applicable.
This is a great example a local social group making use and "owning" a section of the Assynt Community Digital Archive, achieving their own ends, but also contributing towards a greater whole. For further information, email Stevan- ku.oc.evalsnitnull@evalsnit