Friday, 16 October 2015

Hello from the new Transforming Archives Trainee, David Heelas

Hi, I'm David Heelas the new trainee at the Hull History Centre as a part of the Transforming Archives initiative from The National Archives, with a focus on digitisation and digital preservation. I mostly come from a Computer Science background and although originally a Hull local I got my BSc from Newcastle University. I have spent the last few years in a variety of jobs from being an Outbound Sales Advisor at a Call Centre (sorry) to most recently where I worked at a local charity as an Assistant IT Tutor.

This opportunity is very exciting to me because it will mean learning a lot about a career and environment I previously knew nothing about. I have always loved learning new skills, especially anything relating to technology. I have found it very interesting to see how new techniques and tools have affected archives and looking to see in what way they will impact further in the future.

My first week coincided with the DCDC15 (Discovering Collection Discovering Communities 2015) conference in Manchester which I was fortunate enough to attend. This allowed me to not only meet my fellow cohorts in the Transforming Archives programme but also meet some of those who had finished their traineeship from the previous year. The conference also gave me a much larger idea at how digitisation and digital technology have been utilised by Archives so far and in what way they’re looking to harness them in the future. The panels were varied and fascinating in particular the talk the Bodlean Digital Library Systems and Services gave about their digital front-end and how to provide a service that combines user accessibility with an end product that is both quick and useful. Additionally the panel on Technology and Mobile Heritage and how just because an institution creates an ‘app’ it doesn't mean that it will be used or even last particularly long, so that means that thinking carefully on your delivery system is going to be is more important than ever.

So far it has been a bit overwhelming although thanks to the team which I have found to be incredibly friendly and welcoming I think I’ll settle in no time. There is a lot more to archives then I initially suspected and as a result there’s a lot more for me to take in! I hope you will keep up with my posts in the future as I will be using the History Centre blog to update you throughout the year.

David Heelas
Transforming Archives Trainee (Cohort 2)

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