The Hub out and about – presenting, training, and pubbing

The Hub team like to get out and about to present, teach, and chat about archives and information. It can get a bit lonely being a purely online service, with our users and contributors at the other end of an email or phone call, so we try to ensure that we take advantage of chances to meet them face-to-face.

The last week of November was a busy week for this! On the Wednesday Jane and I (Bethan) gave a presentation to the MA Library & Information students at MMU.

We’ve given similar presentations to Archive students and early-career professionals in the past, but this is the first time we’ve given one to Library students. I’m pleased to say it worked  well – the students were engaged and knowledgeable about archives, and how issues in libraries and archives cross-over.

It’s always very encouraging and stimulating to meet an enthusiastic group (I’d also met them the week before to talk about professional organisations), and both Jane and I really enjoyed giving the session. We had some nice feedback from the students, too, with one person saying:

The workshop was informative as well as entertaining. Complex issues were broken down so they were easier to understand. In a short amount of time a lot of areas were covered and due to the lively presentation style we all remained engaged and interested throughout.

And another said that they wished they had more next week!

I think it’s very important for us to be involved in talking to students, trainees, and early-career professionals. It’s good for them to hear from people who are actually working with the data that they’ll be creating. If nothing else, if we educate them about the need for good, interoperable data now, we’ll get better data from them later on! It’s also great to be able to tell them about the different sorts of jobs and opportunities there are for them, and hopefully give them some ideas about ‘alternative’ careers.

The next day saw me, Jane and Lisa heading down to London, for the inaugural ‘Hub in the Pub‘ on the Thursday evening, before a training session on the Friday. We joined forces with a large contingent of museum folk who were ‘Drinking about Museums’, and had a very enjoyable and useful couple of hours chatting about general information, data, and cultural heritage issues. We hope to have more ‘Hub in the Pub’ events in future, so watch our mailing list and twitter feed for details.

We made sure that the evening didn’t get too merry, so we were on top form for our contributors training day the next day. These training days are designed to help current and potential contributors use our EAD Editor, and are also a great chance to get to know our contributors  and chat to them about any issues they might have. We have a few places left on our next training day in Glagsow in January – do sign up if you’d like to come along, or contact us if you’d like to know more.

If you can’t get along to a training session, we have online audio tutorials and a workbook designed to give you a step-by-step guide to using the Editor – and we’re always happy to answer any questions.

Out and about or Hub contributor training

Every year we provide our contributors and potential contributors with free training on how to use our EAD editor software.

The days are great fun and we really enjoy the chance to meet archivists from around the UK and find out what they are working on.

The EAD editor has been developed so that archivists can create online descriptions of their collections without having to know EAD.  It’s intuitive and user friendly and allows contributors to easily add collection level and multi-level descriptions to the Hub.  Users can also enhance their descriptions by adding digital archival objects  – images, documents and sound files.

Contributor training day

Our training days are a mixture of presentation, demonstration and practical hands on. We (The training team consists of Jane, Beth and myself) tend to start by talking a little about Hub news and developments to set the scene for the day and then we move onto why the Hub uses EAD and why using standards is important for interoperability and means that more ‘stuff’ can be done with the data. We go from here on to a hands-on session that demonstrates how to create a basic record. We cover also cover adding lower level components and images and we show contributors how to add index terms to their descriptions. (Something that we heartily endorse! We LOVE standards and indexing!).

We always like to tailor our training to the users, and encourage users to bring along their own descriptions for the hands-on sessions. Some users manage to submit their first descriptions to the Hub by the end of the training session!

This year we have done training in Manchester and London, for the Lifeshare project team in Sheffield and for the Oxford colleges. We are also hoping (if we get enough take up) to run courses in Glasgow and Cardiff this year. (6th Sept at Glasgow Caledonian, Cardiff date TBC. Email to book a place)

So far this year three new contributors have joined the Hub as a result of training:  Middle East Centre Archive, St Antony’s College, Oxford; Salford City Archive and the Taylor Institute, Oxford. We’ve also enabled four of our existing contributors to start updating their collections on the Hub: National Fairground Archive, the Co-operative Archive, St John’s College, Oxford and the V&A.

We have been given some great feedback this year and 100% of our attendees agreed/strongly agreed that they were satisfied with the content and teaching style of the course.

Some our feedback:

A very good introductory session to working with the EAD editor for the Archives Hub. I have not used the Archives Hub for a long time so an excellent refresher course.

This was a fantastic workshop – excellently designed resources, Lisa and Jane were really helpful (and patient!). The hands-on aspect was really useful: I now feel quite confident about creating EAD records for the Hub, and even more confident that the Hub team are on hand with online help

The hands on experience and being able to ask questions of the course leaders as things happened was really useful. Being able to work on something relevant to me was also a bonus.

Excellent presentation and delivery. I came along with a theoretical but not a practical knowledge of the Archives Hub and its workings, and the training session was pitched perfectly and was completely relevant to my job. Many thanks.

The Hub team train archivists how to use the EAD editor, archive students about EAD and Social media and research students in how to use the Hub to search for primary source materials. You can find our list of training that we provide on our training pages: .  We’re always happy to hear from people who are interested in training – do let us know!

Training Day

Early Morning Exercises
The Archives Hub is holding a training day for contributors and potential contributors on Tuesday 25 September here at the University of Manchester.

The day is free and will run from 10.30 to 16.00 with a free lunch provided.

This is a great opportunity for anyone who would like to know more about EAD and about creating descriptions and indexing entries for the Hub. If you would like to attend please email us.

Illustration: Woodcraft Folk photo copyright © National Co-operative Archive.

Contributors’ Training Day

The Archives Hub will be holding a free training/information day in Manchester for archivists and information professionals who would like to contribute information about their archives to the service.

Date: Tuesday 5 December 2006
Location: Kilburn Building, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL. (maps)
Time: 11.00 – 16.30.
Lunch: a free lunch will be provided

The day will include:
A short introduction to the Archives Hub and to latest developments, including the new Spokes software.
A short introduction to the benefits of XML and to using EAD
Using the online template to create descriptions
Indexing for the Archives Hub
Hands on experience of creating records using the template

Please email Jane if you’d like to attend this event.

Training new archivists

View of Aberystwyth from Constitution HillJane and I had a great day yesterday in Aberystwyth, training the proto-archivists there in using XML and EAD. We’ve been given a copy of XMetaL software by Blast Radius for use in these sessions which really helps to give the students a feel for encoding descriptions in EAD.

The trainee archivists were discussing a joke I’d forgotten about:

Where did Noah keep his bees?

In the ark-hives

Archives Hub Contributors’ Training Day

On the 10 April 2006 we’ll be holding a training day for people who would like to contribute information about their archives to the Archives Hub. The Hub’s scope is archives held in UK universities and colleges, so the training is aimed at people working in such institutions. The training day covers the process of creating EAD descriptions of archives using the Hub’s online template. It also includes a very nice free lunch at Manchester Business School.

Opportunity for training in EAD

The Society of Archivists’ EAD/Data Exchange Group will be running an Introduction to EAD training day on 25 April 2006. Both Amanda and Jane are part of the Group Committee, and, together with Bill Stockting from TNA, they will be the tutors for this course.

For those Hub contributors who want to know more about XML in general, and EAD in particular, this course provides a good general introduction. It also gives delegates the chance to create an EAD record from scratch, using XML editing software. This course is not aimed specifically at Hub contributors, so it will not be about the Hub implementation of EAD, but will look at general principles of using EAD.

Whilst many contributors may be happy to use the Hub template to create records, it can be worthwhile to learn more about the prinicples behind EAD, and gain a greater understanding of the syntax and semantics. We are offering this course at a very good price this year (