University of Dundee Archives

University of Dundee Archive Services is based in heart of the city campus. The collections include University records which reflect the learning and teaching across the University from 1883, when teaching began, to the present day. As the nominated repository for NHS Tayside, the Archive manage and provide access to hospital and asylum records from across the region. The Archive also boasts a large number of collections relating to businesses, people and places of local and international significance. All our collections are in various formats and media dating from 99AD to the present day.


DJCAD Illustration students opening their boxes, January 2019

Working in the University archive brings with it many opportunities. We use the collections to teach students and staff about archives and demonstrate how they can be used effectively. Subject specific archival sources are built into the coursework for some humanities classes. For example Atlantic Empires draws on our rare book collections, Reading 17th Century Scotland looks at legal documents from a number of solicitor’s collections and The Great War module requests students read a number of letters written by a young soldier who is killed on the first day of the Battle of Loos. Archives are also at the heart of a module designed in collaboration with staff at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design. Illustration students are each given an archive box to research and create a new work of art inspired by the contents of their box. The artworks are exhibited alongside the archival material which inspired the pieces, all in the space of five weeks! These examples are a glimpse into how we use archives to support a number of classes across a variety of subjects within the University.


DJCAD illustration student opening her archive box which included river flow records, Jan. 2019

Archive Services, while campus based, welcomes all kinds of users. As such, community engagement features prominently in our work to help raise awareness of the University collections, debunk perceptions around archives, promote their use and connect the public with records that are relevant to their cultural heritage, past and present. Working with local primary schools has provided Archive Services an opportunity to get creative; devising age appropriate activities based on archives to afford local children a new and exciting form of active learning.

Feedback from teachers has proven that engaging children with archives has enhanced their understanding of a topic on a deeper level; physically connecting to the past by handling original items that are not at the teachers’ disposal. The activities we devise always contain a self-reflective element which helps their understanding of the world they live in. As the children have moved on to new topics, they have suggested to their teachers that Archive Services might be able to support their learning, evidence of the positive impact using archives has had on their learning at a young age which will hopefully continue into adulthood.


Self-reflective activity by a school pupil based on a letter written in 1945.

We regularly give community talks, attend local events and take advantage of opportunities to connect the collections to the community. A project which aims to bring these things together is planned for January 2020. It will include an intergenerational element with secondary school pupils interviewing and recording reminiscences of a local community group. The project will also make connections with other local repositories by borrowing some of their resources. We have recently completed a reminiscence project with a local community centre. Archives were used to help prompt personal memories which were recorded and will form part of the University’s oral history collection and they were encouraged to bring along items from their own collections.  The project was initiated by public engagement staff across the University; Archive Services was the conduit to connecting the University with the city.


Boomerang Reminiscence Project, May 2019

Other partnership projects include Strathmartine Hospital Histories in collaboration with the Thera Trust. People with learning disabilities who had lived at Strathmartine visited the archives and were invited to record their own personal memories, giving voice to their experiences not captured in the official hospital records. Archive staff also worked with the School of Nursing to welcome a group of mental health services users to explore the collections. The aim was to help them understand their present situation, consider how mental health conditions were dealt with in the past to encourage discussion and promote wellbeing.

As a small team in a large institution there are limitations to what can be delivered. Financial resources and a lack of a dedicated educational space combined with a staff of three limits what can we do in the searchroom, as educators and within the community. However, these limitations do encourage us to think creatively and find solutions, providing a high quality service to a range of users with diverse interests and needs.

Working in such a vibrant service with a wide variety of collections and users is a real perk of the job. A flexible approach is required, as staff react to what is required of any given day in addition to planned activities and not forgetting the bread and butter core archival tasks. Every day is different and this creates an energy and enthusiasm for our daily work which we hope is shared with our users.

Sharon Kelly, University of Dundee Archives

Archival internship opportunity in Heidelberg

emblWe would like to share an internship opportunity that might be of ineterest to our subscribers. EMBL Archive (Heidelberg, Germany) is looking for an Assistant Archivist to process an oral history project.

The Assistant Archivist will be working with the audio files and transcripts of the 30+ oral history interviews held by the EMBL Archive. The audio files will need to be checked for quality. The transcripts will need to be checked for accuracy. This will involve proofreading, fact checking and research. A short summary of each interview needs to be prepared. The audio files and transcripts will need to be catalogued and made accessible as appropriate. This will include working with some confidential files.

This is a training position intended to provide the experience needed to find a job in archives or to gain a place on a post-graduate course in archives.

More information about the organization and the position can be found here:

Feel free to share with your students or anyone who might be interested.


Cherri-Ann Beckles


Cherri-Ann Beckles. Photo credit: Sharon Alexander-Gooding

Dear Colleagues:

By now you have all heard the news of the passing of Dr. Cherri-Ann Beckles.

As the past chair of the ICA/SUV, I would like to add my voice to those remembering the energy, dedication, and vision that Cherri-Ann brought to all of our work.  I began working with her after her 2014 election to the SUV Section Bureau.  She immediately brought new ideas and energy to our work.  She was particularly engaged with assessing and then advancing the communications strategy of the Section.  Her approach was systematic and thoughtful.  What’s more, for every idea she put forward, she stood ready to take on the work herself.

She made a point of booking travel early so she could be a part of a key Section Bureau meeting in February 2015 when we were to discuss what and what kind of a future there was for the SUV.  However, the January 2015 terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo raised saftey concerns for all of us. When Cherri-Ann asked for assistance in navigating the city, I gladly volunteered.  My wife and I met her at the train station and introduced her to Aux Pipalottes Gourmandes for afternoon tea. I then came by her hotel each day to navigate her way to the ICA Secretariat where the Bureau meeting was being held. What could have seemed to be an extra burden quickly dissolved on seeing Cherri-Ann’s electric smile. Paris is a place that leaves one with many memories, but those treks through the city with Cherri-Ann will remain very high on my list.

Through her illness, Cherri-Ann continued to stay engaged with the SUV, monitoring Section Business and helping us update our web presence and integrate it with the ICA’s work.  Throughout it all, her positive attitude toward ICA and her health, and above all her concern for her family are inspirational.

ICA, SUV, and the global archival community have suffered a great loss, but Cherri-Ann provides the model for how to proceed.

William J. Maher

Communication survey

The International Council on Archives Section on University and Research Institution Archives wants to make sure that it communicates with you effectively. We would be very grateful if you could complete this very short survey which will ensure that we send news and information to you in the most appropriate way. Please respond by 31 January.

La Section des Archives des universités et des institutions de recherche (SUV) du Conseil International des Archives souhaite communiquer avec vous de manière pertinente et efficace. Nous vous serions donc reconnaissants si vous répondiez à cette courte enquête [en anglais] pour que nous puissions developer nos outils de communication pour partager avec vous les nouvelles et informations tels que vous souhaitez les recevoir. Merci d’avance. Veuillez répondre avant le 31 Janvier.

APPEL A COMMUNICATIONS: conférence, Dundee, Ecosse


Photo by Lucas Peng on Unsplash


La conférence annuelle de la Section des Archives des universités et des institutions de recherche du Conseil International des Archives se déroulera à Dundee en Ecosse du 1er au 3 juillet 2019.

Le thème de la conférence sera :


Les interventions peuvent aborder n’importe quel aspect de la sélection archivistique, mais le comité d’organisation propose les pistes de réflexion suivantes :

  • le but de la sélection
  • les méthodes de sélection
  • la collecte et le traitement des archives numériques : est-elle différente de celle des archives papier ?
  • l’inclusion et la diversité dans la sélection des archives définitives
  • l’évaluation, la révision, la restitution et l’élimination

Il est prévu que les interventions durent 20 minutes et souhaité qu’elles soient analytiques, plutôt que purement descriptives.

Veuillez noter que la langue de la conférence est l’anglais et que les propositions en d’autres langues ne pourront être acceptées. Il n’y aura pas d’interprétation simultanée ou de traduction disponible.

Envoyez votre proposition (250-300 mots) à Caroline Brown ( avant le 25 janvier 2019. Merci d’inclure :

  • le titre de votre intervention
  • le(s) nom(s) et prénom(s) du/des intervenant(s)
  • l’intitulé de poste et institution de rattachement
  • la proposition de 250-300 mots avec une bibliographie d’au moins 2 titres
  • une courte biographie du/des intervenant(s)

Veuillez noter que les frais d’inscription et de voyage des intervenants ou participants ne seront pas pris en charge par le comité d’organisation, qui fait son possible pour minimiser les frais d’inscription.

La ville de Dundee est située à 1 heure 20 minutes d’Edimbourg en train.

Dundee figure sur la liste des 10 meilleures destinations Européennes de 2018 selon le guide Lonely Planet et a été nommée la ville la plus sympathique d’Ecosse par le Wall Street Journal.


Call for Papers: Conference 2019, Dundee, Scotland


Photo by Lucas Peng on Unsplash

The International Council on Archives Section on University and Research Institution Archives (ICA/SUV) is pleased to announce its annual conference in Dundee, Scotland from 1st to 3rd July 2019.

We welcome proposals on the following theme:


Papers can relate to any aspect of appraisal but we particularly encourage proposals which address:

  • The purpose of appraisal
  • Appraisal methodologies
  • Appraisal of digital records and whether this differs from analogue appraisal
  • Inclusiveness and diversity in appraisal
  • Re-appraisal and de-accessioning

Papers are likely to be 20 minutes long and should be analytical rather than purely descriptive. Please note that unfortunately there will be no translation facilities at the conference so only English papers will be accepted.

If you would like to submit a proposal please include the following:

  • Paper title
  • Name of speaker(s)
  • Job title and institution
  • 250-300 word abstract with bibliography of at least two items
  • Short biography of speaker(s)

Click here to read the Proposal Submission Guidelines.

Proposals should be submitted to Caroline Brown, by 25th January, 2019.

Please note that registration, travel and accommodation costs of speakers will not be covered, although registration costs are kept as low as possible.

Dundee is 1 hour 20 minutes from Edinburgh by train and is the only UK destination to be included in the Lonely Planet’s list of top 10 destinations for 2018. It was also listed in the Wall Street Journal as Scotland’s coolest city and one of the top 10 places to visit.


“Where has the Time Gone?!” The 30th Anniversary Since the Early Beginnings of the ICA-SUV

A special blog post by Shelley Sweeney, University Archivist and Head of the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections, and one of the founders of the ICA-SUV

Shelley SweeneyI remember when I was in Paris for the ICA Congress in 1988 that Alan Ives from Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia, approached me about forming a section on University and College Archives. He was very enthusiastic about it and I was immediately swept up into his vision of a section of the ICA that would be dedicated to those whose archives were based in academic institutions. In those days we were not communicating through lengthy emails, and though I might be misremembering, I believe I spoke to Alan a number of times over the phone.

In the end, 41 Archivists from 13 countries attended the founding meeting during the 12th Congress in Montreal in September of 1992. The group elected a nine member provisional steering committee of which I was one member. Marjorie Barrett of the USA was the chair and various members from Belgium, Niger, the UK, and Sweden among others helped to direct the section’s activities. Over time, Marjorie became a major force, and led the first projects of the section: a compilation of a directory of university and college archives in all the member countries of the ICA, and an inaugural seminar that was held September 20, 1994 in the UK.

You may wonder, since the International Council on Archives was formed in 1948, why it took so long for a section to have been created that would cater to the needs and interests of academic archives? Especially since two sections, one for professional archivists associations (now SPA, the Section of Professional Associations) and the second for international organizations, were established in 1976. I can only speculate, but I think it might reflect the fact that the original membership of the ICA was made up primarily of national archivists or their representatives, and that individual members did not grow in sizeable numbers until much later. You have to think that it would have cost a great deal of money in the early days for individual archivists to travel to international destinations. The costs associated with travel and the time it takes to get to international destinations and back continue to be barriers for many individuals to participate.

I would like to say that I was heavily involved in the advancement of the section from that point on after I was elected on to the steering committee, but that sadly was not the case. There was no financial support and active resistance from my institution for me to take the time to attend SUV meetings in other countries. However under Marjorie’s capable leadership, and with the contributions from a number of members, the section was able to thrive and by 1994 the official membership had risen to 66 members. Given that only a few archivists have the opportunity to attend successive annual meetings, the section has been very lively. It is really a small number of dedicated individuals who have been able to coordinate the intermittent participation of other archivists to complete a variety of activities. Many of the annual conferences in particular have been outstanding, and I can honestly say that a few have been among the best that I have ever attended. Although I still do not have the amount of time I would like to devote to the ICA-SUV, I believe it is a valuable organization and in these days of rapid professional changes, more necessary than ever.

While in Salamanca for the ICA-SUV October 2018 Conference, Shelley Sweeney was interviewed for the podcast, The Archivist’s Tale. Click here to listen to Episode 36: Yearning to Understand (shared with permission, further sharing is encouraged).

Los documentos históricos en los archivos universitarios, un valor añadido

Os presentamos la foto de familia de la Conferencia realizada entre la CAU/CRUE e ICA/SUV, que se celebró en la Universidad de Salamanca durante los días 3, 4 y 5 de octubre de 2018, bajo el lema “Los documentos históricos en los archivos universitarios, un valor añadido”.

La Conferencia, que incluía la celebración del XXIV Jornadas de la CAU y la Conferencia Anual del ICA/SUV, empezó con la lección inaugural “Los archivos en la universidad: Reflexiones en torno al archivo de la Universidad de Salamanca” pronunciada por nuestro colega Miguel Ángel Jaramillo Guerreia, director del Archivo de la Universidad de Salamanca. Este encuentro en la Universidad de Salamanca que se celebró, al mismo tiempo que cumple los 800 años de su creación, en dos sedes, la Facultad de Traducción y Documentación y la Facultad de Geografía e Historia en el centro histórico de Salamanca.

Los contenidos que se trataron en la Conferencia fueron “La identidad delos documentos históricos universitarios”, “Los archivos en la comunidad universitaria”, “La gestión de los documentos históricos universitarios” y “La difusión del patrimonio archivístico universitario”. En total se presentaron 51 comunicaciones y 15 paneles, donde participaron archiveros y gestores de documentos de universidades españolas y extranjeras de diferentes países como Dubái, Colombia, Hong-Kong, Australia y Estados Unidos, así como se contó con la presencia de diferentes empresas que presentaron y debatieron sobre los asuntos archivísticos relacionados con nuestro trabajo, cuyo resultado fue la inclusión de las diferentes tradiciones, y como estos documentos históricos son una parte esencial del patrimonio y memoria institucional de la universidad.

Además en el transcurso de la Conferencia, se celebraron tanto la Asamblea anual de la Conferencia de Archiveros de las Universidades Españolas (CAU/CRUE), así como la Asamblea Anual General del ICA/SUV.


What Value Do Historical Records in University Archives Add to Universities?

The image shows participants at the combined conference of CAU and ICA-SUV 2018, held at the University of Salamanca from October 3-5, 2018. The conference theme was: “What Value Do Historical Records in University Archives Add to Universities?”

The conference began with the inaugural lecture “The Archives in the University: Reflections on the Archive of the University of Salamanca” by Miguel Ángel Jaramillo Guerreira, Director of the University Archives of Salamanca.  Meeting at the University of Salamanca at the time of its 800th anniversary, the conference was held at the University of Salamanca (the Faculty of Translation and Documentation and the Faculty of Geography and History) in the historical center of Salamanca.

The conference topics included: the identity of the university archives, the archives in the university community, management of university historical records, and the dissemination of university archival heritage. In 51 presentations and 15 panels, participating archivists and records managers from Spanish and international universities (ranging from Dubai, Colombia, Hong Kong, to Australia and the US) as well as companies presented and discussed archival issues related to our work, including different national and cultural traditions, and how these historical records are an essential part of the heritage and institutional memory of the university itself.

Both the Annual Assembly of the Conference of Archivists of the Spanish Universities (CAU/CRUE) and the ICA/SUV Annual General Business Meeting were held during the conference.

For more information, please visit:

Attendees at ICA-SUV & CAU 2018 Conference

ICA/SUV 2018 Annual International Conference in conjunction with XXIV Jornadas de la Conferencia de Archiveros de las Universidades Españolas


“What Value do Historical Records in University Archives Add to Universities?” Salamanca (Spain), 3rd to 5th October 2018

It is with great pleasure that the Section for Research and University Archives (SUV) of the International Council on Archives (ICA) in conjunction with the Conferencia de las Archiveros Universitarios Españoles (CAU) invite you to attend their 2018 Annual International Conference.  This Conference caters to archivists and records practitioners working in academic institutions around the world. It focuses particularly on the use of historical documentation that academic institutions retain as an important part of the heritage and institutional memory of the university itself.  Meeting at the University of Salamanca at the time of its 800th anniversary, the 2018 ICA-SUV Conference-XXIV Jornadas CAU will bring together university archivists from very different countries and cultural traditions to reflect on their own work in relation to the historical documentation they manage.

There are seventeen exciting panels including over 50 papers on topics such as:

Deepening Institutional Identity through the University Archives

Developing a university archives through skill, perseverance, and spirit

The administrative and public confidence building even through improbable documents and artifacts

Enhancing Our Value: Indigenizing the University Archives

South African Universities and  community archives

Design for the curation of digital learning objects

The role of oral testimonies in university archives

Personal archives in Universities. A comparative look at different archiving

University Archives in India

Customization of the AtoM  software for digitalcCuration of heterogeneous collections

Importance of the reference archivist in online system design

Place-based instruction in archives

Blurring the lines: a holistic approach to university records and archives

For the full conference programme, please visit: