Here is a report sent in by Chris Fryer, one our first interns working on the digital archive part of the project. Chris has previously volunteered in several archive services in the north west, including the Wigan Archives, Cheshire Record Office, and the Halle Concert Society. He is now training to be an archivist at the University of Glasgow.
“I graduated from Aberystwyth University in 2009 with a degree in History and since then I have been committed to trying to achieve my goal of becoming an Archivist. While I have volunteered in a number of Archive and Record Offices across the UK, working at the University Of Liverpool School Of Archaeology on digitising the Hittite Survey of Anatolia provided me with valuable practical experience of working with archives in a professional context (and it was my first paid work involving archives!).
On our first day I and my fellow intern got acquainted with the procedures involved in digitizing glass plate negatives. Under the supervision of the project archivist, Katie Waring and the IT Officer JR we were shown the ropes. We initially encountered a number of teething problems which were easily resolved. The set up consisted of a tripod mounted camera which would be used to capture the image. One of us was responsible for handling the fragile negatives and cataloguing the resulting material using ISAD(G) standards, while the other concentrated on taking the actual image which would then be digitized. There was little room for error, as some of the glass plate negatives were extremely fragile, and if touched in the incorrect manner could result in permanent damage to the photograph. During the preceding days, both me and James got used to this process and proceeded to catalogue and digitize various images which had been taken by John Garstang and his entourage. I was amazed at the detail contained within each image. Considering that these photographs had been taken over a century ago, each image contained fascinating individual detail when zoomed upon using the Lightroom software we were using. It was particularly satisfying to see the excitement held by Dr Alan Greaves upon seeing the resulting images, many of which had not been seen before, as he provided much needed context and insight into what was actually occurring in each image. By the end of our time at the School of Archaeology, we had catalogued around two and a half boxes worth of glass plate negatives, out of a total of eight.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the School of Archaeology working with the glass plate negatives, and I hope to use the skills and experience gained throughout my career. The techniques and processes learned while doing this internship will prove increasingly important in the modern archival profession, as digital records will and already do play a vital role. I can’t wait to come back and see the fruits of everyone’s labour when the exhibition opens in February.”