Case Study - Community Archives
I am a member of the Arlington Baths Club - a member-owned swimming baths in Glasgow which was established in 1870, the oldest in the world! Because we are proud of it's heritage the club has it's own history group. Over the Christmas break, we organised a work day to sort out the club's records that are still kept onsite. The oldest records are with Glasgow City Archvies but the club still holds files and membership forms going back to about 1970.
On the day five of us helped out. There were existing lists of the box contents although these varied in quality and no link had been made between the lists and the boxes. Our task on the day was to check the contents against the lists and add information and particularly dates to make the lists more useful. There were 12 boxes of material and a further 11 loose box files and folders.
As an archivist, and a newer member of the group, I was able to focus more on process rather than content. I worked through 7 boxes and 8 files taking two hours in total. In other words if I had had to do it myself, it would have taken about 4 hours to do the whole lot.
This is just to give you an indication of what is possible if you are in a similar situation with your community group's records. It might seem daunting but a lot can be achieved in a day. And you're not alone. The Community Archives and Heritage Group has a lot of resources to help you. And of course you can always get in touch with me for advice.
And by the way, for my friends in the group who were more interested in content (and not so fixated on archive work!) the day was very productive - proof was found of a visit by Rudolf Nureyev to the pool around 1975! Here is the History Group co-ordinator's excellent blog.