The Assynt Field Club, as reported here, set up a project to begin the process of archiving digitally a huge set of physical collections of sighting records and other information they have accumulated over many years. Key to these collections is the work of two local residents, Pat and Ian Evans. Through the North Highland Initiative, funds were made available to employ an archivist to carry out a pilot project. The pilot seeks to establish whether the Assynt Community Digital Archive is a suitable an practical repository for digitised information of this kind, and whether the collections are amenable to such processing.
Avril Haines was appointed as the Archivist. Her first responsibilities were working with Pat and Ian Evans, as well as the Filed Club chairman, Andy Summers, to work out what part of the collection to use for the pilot. It had to be manageable but also representative section of the whole. The reptile collection was chosen as well as the material and a full copy of Pat and Ian's unique book, Flora of Assynt.
This project is now coming to an end. To date, Avril has added about 400 records to the Assynt Community Digital Archive. The quality of the metadata and the consistency of recording are especially noteworthy regarding this project. Avril has also used the project to demonstrate to other groups in the area the value of the Archive as a ready-made legacy for their work, in the present as well as older material.
On Friday 9th May 2014, the Field Club had an Open Day to demonstrate to members and others in the community the work that this pilot has achieved. Refreshments were provided by the newly re-opened Mission Café.
The funders for this project were represented by Eilidh Todd. Eilidh has been especially helpful in easing the administrative burden of such a project, which relies otherwise on voluntary commitments. While Avril was the Archivist, the project relied on others, including Eilidh, Andy Summers, and, of course, Pat ad Ian Evans.
Avril will now complete the project, including writing a report to examine the project, document any specific learnings and use it to inform the development of future such archival projects. From the point of view of the Assynt Community Digital Archive, this has been a wonderful project, professionally completed, and further demonstrates the way in which community archives can drive direct as well as more oblique value in a community.
Contact Stevan for more information.