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Collections information statement

The mission of the Library & Archives Service is to provide excellent information-related services, resources and support to the School in pursuit of its mission to improve health and health equity in the UK and worldwide.

Maintaining accurate documentation on the School’s collections is central to the purpose of the Archive Service. This information forms two parts: accessioning information and cataloguing information.

Accessioning

Recording the provenance of archive material collected by the Archive Service is of vital importance in preserving the integrity of the School’s archive collections. The Archive Service will accession every donation of records in order to achieve this.

The accession record will give a unique reference number, preliminary indication of the scope, content and creation dates of the collection, record its legal status, any restrictions on access, its size (usually number of boxes), as well as the contact details of its source and the date of accession.

This information is held on an Access Database. This contains details of all accessions since the Archives Service was established in July 2002.

If necessary, material will be stored in a quarantine area while it is checked for signs of pests and mould, which could adversely affect other collections.

A gift agreement will be signed by the Archivist & Records Manager and the donor or depositor for collections received from external depositors. Internal collections do not currently require a signed form as these records belong to the School, although there are circumstances where an agreement is required eg where a collection includes records from the staff member before they worked at the School eg Piot collection.

All subsequent accessions will be covered by the main agreement unless there is a substantial change in circumstances and another form is necessary. A hard copy is held in a file in the Archivist & Records Manager’s office and an electronic copy is also held.

The unique reference number assigned to each accession will be linked to the catalogue record however the full details of the accession will not be made available to the public.

The appraisal field in CALM will be used to record actions relating to the evaluation of the accession for permanent retention, as well as quantities of material confidentially disposed of or returned. (CHECK)The Copyright field records any specific information relating to any known intellectual property rights; where no information is given, staff are guided by the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 and any relevant updates. The Access and Conditions fields will be used to record information relating to any restrictions on access and the date the material may be opened; where restrictions relate to personal data, staff will adhere to the Data Protection Act 1988 (GDPR from May 2018).

The Archives Service aims to maintain a good relationship with its donors and depositors in order to maximise the relevant information provided at the point of accession and to ensure that contact details are kept up to date.

The Archives Service has a good working relationship with The Wellcome Library which holds a number of LSHTM collections (deposited before the Archives Service was established in 2002) and is discussing the possible transfer of some of these collections.

Work is ongoing on the intake of born-digital archives. A digital preservation procedure is being developed, the long term preservation of committee minutes is being discussed with the Executive Office and work is continuing on how to effectively manage, preserve and promote digital material that is stored in the Research Data Management repository.

Cataloguing

Cataloguing the archive material held by the Archive Service is essential to enable access to the research community.

The Archive Service co-ordinates cataloguing through a managed priority plan, the annual operational plan, staff members’ annual personal development reviews and a set of detailed procedures.

All cataloguing conforms to current professional standards, namely principle and mandatory elements of the General International Standard of Archival Description (ISAD(G)), National Council on Archives rules for the construction of personal, corporate and place names and International Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families (ISAAR(CPF)).

The six essential elements of any catalogue are as follows:

  • Reference number
  • Title
  • Creator
  • Covering dates
  • Extent
  • Level of description

The Archive Service also records, as relevant and necessary, scope and content, administrative history, custodial history and acquisition, potential accruals, arrangement, any restrictions on access, copyright, related and associated material and cataloguing status.

New catalogues will be created directly onto the CALM database and, once made live, will be available through the on-line catalogue.

In some circumstances, interim box lists will exist for collections. These may be made accessible to the public on request.

Digital images and assets are catalogued in Assetbank, the School’s Digital Asset Management system. These are cross references with the CALM record.

Digital research datasets are listed and stored in Data Compass, the School’s  Research Data Management Repository.

Cataloguing backlog

The Archive Service has a backlog of uncatalogued material. This has been calculated as 30% of the Archives Service’s total holdings. Working according to the Cataloguing Priority Plan, archive cataloguing will be allocated to staff through objectives in the annual operating plan, annual personal development reviews and regular team meetings where tasks are allocated. For large collections, the Archives Service will continue to seek external funding, primarily from the Wellcome Trust’s Research Resources in Medical History from which the Archive Service has received funding for five cataloguing projects since 2003. Other sources of funding will also be investigated.

Finding aids

The Archives catalogue is available on the Archives website at: http://calmview.lshtm.ac.uk/calmview/ . There is also further information on some of the Archives Service’s most popular collections including the Ross Collection, Nutrition collection and HIV/AIDS collections on the archive web pages.

Collection level descriptions are also accessible on AIM25 and the Archives Hub. TNA Discover

De-accessioning

The process of completing the stocktake of the collections in 2017 has highlighted some areas of the collection that may be considered for de-accessing. This may be for the following reasons:

  • The material does not fit the collection management criteria
  • Publications and reprints that can be moved to the Library
  • The material should not have originally been catalogued

De-accessioned material will be disposed of in accordance with the de-accessioning procedures.

Implementation & review

This Collections Information Statement will be communicated to LAS staff, to interested parties within LSHTM, and to external agencies and others with an interest in its context on demand. It will be made available to the public via the Archives web pages.

The Collections Information Statement will be reviewed every two years by the LAS Management Team. This does not preclude earlier review should internal or external development warrant it.

Archival selection criteria

Archives are records which are deemed to have historical significance and are therefore permanently preserved.

Archives can be paper or electronic and include minutes, correspondence, photographs, plans, drawings, databases and films.

Archives can build a picture of the institution over time as:

  • A corporate entity
  • A teaching and learning organisation
  • A research organisation
  • A member of the local community
  • A member of the wider higher education community
  • A community in itself

The selected records will provide evidence of what the institution has done and why, what it and its staff and students have achieved, and of its impact locally and in the wider world.

Below are some questions that should help you in your decision whether to pass records to the archives for permanent preservation:

Teaching & learning

What

  • did the School teach and why?
  • were the results of what it was teaching?

Why

  • did it decide to teach what it teaches?

How

  • were courses designed, structured and modified?
  • was teaching carried out?
  • successful was the teaching?
  • was the success measured and reported?
  • were students selected (the policy and process)?
  • were students assessed and examined (the policy and process)?
  • successful were they?

Where

  • was teaching done?

Examples: Course handbooks; codes of practice; examination regulations; teaching quality reviews

Research & development

What

  • areas of research did it support and sponsor?
  • were the results of that research?

Why

  • was that research carried out?

How

  • was the research carried out?
  • was the research exploited?

Who

  • carried out the research?

When

  • was the research carried out?

Examples: Project proposals; grants awarded; final reports; research data of national and international importance

Strategy development & implementation

What

  • were the goals of the institution?
  • did the institution do to achieve those goals?
  • policies did it put in place and why?
  • did it decide to teach and why?
  • were the results of what it did?
  • were the internal management and organisational structures and how did they evolve?
  • part did the academic staff and students play in the development of strategy?

Why

  • was the institution established?
  • did it evolve in particular way?
  • was it located where it is?

How

  • was the organisation structured and why?
  • did that structure change over time and why?
  • was policy decided (the process) and why?
  • were academic staff selected?
  • were investment decisions made?

Who

  • were the main players in the life and development of the institution?
  • was responsible for the governance of the institution?

When

  • was the institution established?
  • were individual units within it established?

Examples: Committee/group minutes, agendas, papers; organisation charts; annual reports; contracts and formal agreements

External relations

What

  • impact did the institution have on the local community?
  • impact did the institution have in the wider community?
  • special events have occurred?
  • was their impact?
  • formal relationships were established with alumni?
  • structures were in place for the management of that relationship?

How

  • Was the institution promoted and how successful was this?
  • did the staff, students and alumni contribute to this promotion?
  • important were successful academic staff in the public perception of the institution?

Examples: Promotional material; press releases; photographs; information relating to special events and ceremonies; newsletters; media relations including newspaper cuttings, TV and radio coverage.

Student administration & support

What

  • facilities and resources were provided for students?
  • formal relationships were established with the student body?
  • structures were in place for the management of that relationship?
  • role did students play in the management and development of the institution?

How

  • were students counselled, advised and accommodated?
  • did students formally (and informally) organised themselves?

Where

  • did its students come from and what were their backgrounds?
  • did they go after graduating?

Who

  • were its students (in general and in particular where appropriate)?

Examples: Student handbooks; prizes and awards; photographs; alumni newsletters

Resource management

What

  • were the internal management and organisational structures and how did they evolve?
  • facilities and resources were provided for staff?
  • premises did the institution own and/or use and on what terms?
  • equipment did the institution own and/or use and why was it purchased or otherwise acquired?

How

  • was the institution funded for both teaching and research?
  • in broad terms was the money spent?
  • were academic staff selected?
  • were they assessed, monitored and rewarded?
  • were investment decisions made?

Where

  • was the institution situated and why?
  • were its principal buildings and how were they acquired?

Who

  • were its staff (in general and in particular where significant) and what impact did they have on the success of the institution?

Examples:

Finance - Annual financial report; audit reports, year end accounts, endowment information.
Personnel – Staff handbooks; codes of conduct and practice; organisation charts; honours lists
Estates – Building plans; property registers; photographs

Useful sources

Policies and sources of advice consulted during the drafting of this Access Statement include:

King’s College London, Archives Collection Information Policy
UCL Institute of Education Archives Collection Information Policy

Archivist & Records Manager
February 2017