RLUK and The National Archives (TNA) are pleased to announce the four new fellows for the Professional Fellowship Scheme 2019-20. After a very competitive application round, the four successful candidates will commence the work on their proposed projects in October 2019.
Professional fellowships last for a year and are structured around short-term visits to TNA, for RLUK fellows, and RLUK member institutions, for TNA fellows, underpinned by a longer period of peer-to-peer mentoring and knowledge sharing. Professional fellowships focus on a professional-practice question, contribute to a wider piece of work, and facilitate shared learning between TNA and individual RLUK members with the purpose of overcoming some of the collective challenges facing research and cultural organisations.
Below are the fellows for 2019-20 and details on their projects, which investigate pressing issues around cultural collections and their audiences, including the use and re-use of digital collections to facilitate scholarship, and the role of collections in engaging with minority groups and addressing current societal problems.
Archivist, Special Collections, University of Leeds
Project Title: Archival Catalogues as data: re-imaging archival practice. Host Institution: The National Archives
Synopsis: This project will be investigating the potential benefits and practicalities of publishing catalogues as datasets, enabling academic and other professional researchers to interrogate and draw insights from archival metadata for both digital and non-digital archives.
By publishing in an open format and licensing for re-use, researchers would be able to directly access the dataset with clear terms and exploit the material depending upon their skill, technology and funds. The project aims to provide practical guidance and a scalable and cost-effective model to support archive services in doing this, – so maximising the benefits of past and present investment in cataloguing.
Digital Scholarship Manager, Hartley Library, University of Southampton
Project Title: Connecting researchers and machines: identifying a sustainable and effective way to cite UCDs using metadata. Host Institution: The National Archives
Synopsis: In a world where practitioners are making an increased number of collections digitally accessible, and academics are interested in opening their decision making process through richly annotated online content, so that their interpretations can be reviewed and cited by future users, can we develop a standardised citation methodology that is meaningful for all researchers and consistent for artificial intelligence to handle?
This project builds upon the work started by TNA, RLUK and Jisc in this area, and aims to understand and define what operations researchers are likely to wish to carry out on data and the difference between human and machine requirements during the data search. Understanding how data is likely to be reused and searched is key to creating an effective and sustainable standardised citation methodology.
Assistant Learning Officer, Library and Heritage Collections, University of Durham
Project Title: Examining the best practice of archives and libraries in developing and delivering an online and in house session for secondary school aged students, with an emphasis on widening participation in the University. Host Institution: The National Archives
Synopsis: The project proposed for this Fellowship will look at how to use archival and special collections material innovatively to develop resources for secondary schools, with the purpose of encouraging greater participation in higher education from low participating neighbourhoods. This will focus on the creation of an in-house and digital resource plus the question of how to collect data which would assess its use. The project aligns with Durham University’s aim in the area. This is particularly topical as from February 2019 the Office for Students released new targets and outcomes for higher education providers. Additionally, this will utilise and continue the work undertaken in Rosalind Morris’ (TNA) Professional Fellowship in 2018-2019.
Principal Records Specialist – Diverse Histories, Collections Expertise and Engagement, The National Archives
Project Title: Co-collaboration and challenging histories – exploring the most effective co-collaborative models to enrich heritage practice in research libraries and archives. Host institution: The Wellcome Collection
Synopsis: This professional fellowship seeks to address the challenges and rewards of working collaboratively to inform working practices. This approach presents substantial barriers but also opportunities, particularly given the sensitivity of the material relating to diverse voices in a government archive.
The piece of work will use a sample theme, sex work and the State, as its focus, to show a case study in context. The aim is to explore how current sex workers can be engaged in archival collections to ultimately reflect on topical debates around sex work now. The outcome will be to create a template of various co-collaborative models of engagement that could be used by RLUK and TNA member institutions.
Many congratulations to our new RLUK/TNA professional fellows!