Research Data, Records and Archives: Breaking the Boundaries

This event took place in the Playfair Library in Edinburgh, and was a workshop to discuss the challenge of managing research data in relation to records management and archives.

Key themes emerging from that day were that collaboration is needed regarding retention of records – what to keep, how long for, and preservation/sustainability of the documents.

The day started with Kevin Ashley from the Digital Curation Centre talking about the history of data curation, definitions, and the work of the DLM forum – (document lifecycle management)

The next part of the day looked at disciplines dealing with research data – record management, archives and research data management.


Playfair Library

Record management perspective

In the record management perspective they looked at relating research data to different record models – for example the record lifecycle vs the record continuum, which looks at how records have multiple uses at different times, and do not serve one purpose at one time. Questions were asked around governance – what is it, should we have it?, what legislative funding is attached to it? Can we/should we provide access to it, practical can we cope with it? How do we preserve it? How do we process it? How do we mediate/ensure appropriate access to it?

Useful links

The archives perspective – research data – University of Edinburgh-Rachel Hosker, Manager of Archives & Library Collections

 This looked at issues and barriers regarding collaboration, including communication and language – for example different people have different definitions for data and archives. It’s also interesting to look at areas such as ownership of research data – which department does it fall under? Library? IT?

In terms of managing research data we also need to look at archival processes in terms of appraisal. Do we have appropriate methodology that deals with large data sets, particularly in terms of digital records?

Perceptions of archives – do people associate research data with archives? The collections we have at UCA include research data – including artists work, so research data will actually become archives. There is in fact an appetite for the reuse of research data – looking at the notes, process of the mind in motion

They gave two case studies regarding appraisal, including the Roslin Institute Archive, and the Duncan Campbell archive. For the Roslin archive they took 10% example of data from the collection to be permanently preserved. It was unlikely that the whole data would be taken together in entirety

In light of looking at archives as datasets, they are revisiting their physical collections and seeing how they could be promoted/approached in terms of datasets

Research data perspective – Stuart Lewis, University of Edinburgh

 They look after phds, researchers. Records are housed in a Data Vault funded by JISC. Data management challenges including funding, academic engagement, improving practices. They work with archivists regarding what to keep

 Case studies

Victoria Cramma – London School of Hygiene

She manages Research Data which is based in the archives service, based in the library. A research data management service was funded in 2012- 3 year project, then permanent

Issues raised include lack of communication between the two professions of archivists and research data management.

It was noted that archivists can help with provenance and metadata. A knowledge exchange was held.

The importance of archiving research data to the institution was noted

Ian Deary Professor of Psychology University of Edinburgh

This talk looked at reusing historical data

Shorter talks were ‘filling the digital preservation gap’ at York University, looking at utilizing archivematica for research data

Adrian Stevenson talked about Archives Hub and Research Data, Rebecca Grant from the Digital Repository of Ireland on the Research Data Alliance, and Laura Molloy working with artists work

A very enjoyable and illuminating day!

Rebekah Taylor, Archivist & Special Collections Officer


Fashion education – impact on Industry

by Lorna Harrington, MA fashion Kingston, UCA Volunteer


When commencing my final major project for my masters, it was natural for me, as a volunteer at UCA, to consider the archives as a starting point for my research.

As a fashion student, I have chosen to look at fashion education and how it has changed and how this is affecting industry.

This is a topic of particular interest, due to the recent cuts to both arts and education which have impacted on the study of fashion.  Some of these themes have been explored within the archive itself. For example, Jigsaw, a magazine published by second year communication design students in 1976, discusses grants for foundation students as well as cuts to teaching staff.

I am particularly interested in looking through past prospectuses, minute books and newspaper clippings within the archive.


Epsom Prospectuses

Prospectuses from Epsom

The images I find will not only be used for my written report but also to inspire my own designs for graphics and printed material relating to the topic of fashion and education. Some of my final major project outcomes will be in prospectuses, fashion show invites and branding for a new course.

To start with, I have been looking through material uploaded onto the UCA Archive Explored Flickr, to give me an idea of what material exists and what will be of use to me.

One of the many items of relevance to my project, is an interview with Audrey Cresswell, head of fashion featured in Jigsaw Magazine in 1976, which gives information about course content, number of students and the course’s links to industry.



As part of my research methodology, I will be interviewing key figures within the fields of fashion and education and so this particular piece will be helpful in forming my own questions for my interviewees. It will also give a sense of what has and hasn’t changed within fashion education.

I also hope to spend some of my final major project, becoming more involved in the archives through helping to curate online exhibitions as well as developing research guides.

Describe our LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning) Collections

Archives & Special Collections are running a project to help improve your searching experience when accessing our LGBTQ (lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning) collections.

This focuses on the Working Press archive, books by and about working class artists, 1986-1996, and the Tessa Boffin, 1980s-1990s photography LGBTQ.



Various research has been done into the suitability of controlled vocabulary for LGBTQ collections, and this project is starting to explore how to describe these specific collections.

We are looking for interested parties to take part for a day’s session in a pilot project to:

  1. Work with a sample of our LGBTQ archives, by describing them, and telling us how you would search for them.
  2. Tell us what you think of search terms provided via controlled vocabulary.
  3. Take a look at ways that you might contribute tags and search terms to our collections.


Sessions can be held in Farnham and Rochester, and time and date can be designed to suit the interested individual.

Interested? Contact Rebekah Taylor on

New Zine Display.


March was ‘Women’s History Month’ and a workshop was held for students in Farnham to create a zine inspired by our UCA Archives. The students used information on women’s history from the 1980s/90s and created zines that are on display in the Library at Epsom along with items of interest from the Archive.


There is a scrap book of newspaper clippings from 1962 until 1995 that includes fascinating stories and photographs relating to the Art School.


There are committee minutes that hold a wealth of information about the Art School. Research will uncover the types of courses, staff and student achievements, funding, ethnic monitoring, mergers and government changes.

To view these and other archive items, visit the Epsom Archive on Tuesdays and Thursday between 2pm and 3pm during term times and Saturdays.

Get inspired.