Notes on a Meeting to discuss Next Steps for the Austin 7 Clubs Association Archive.
15th October 2015
Triumph Sports Six Club, Lubenham
Phil Baildon – Association Archivist
Hugh Barnes – Cambridge Austin 7 and Vintage Car Club
Nick Beck – Bristol and Scottish Austin 7 Clubs
Andy Lowe – Association Chairman and Midlands Austin 7 Club
Dave Martin – Asst Archivist and PWA7C
Faye McLeod – Jaguar Archivist
Apologies for absence:
Chris Garner – Association Vice-chair and PWA7C
Nick Turley – PWA7C
The meeting started with Phil giving the group a brief background of the Archive and Faye’s earlier involvement. 2007 saw the move from a collection housed at Phil’s home to the more appropriate surroundings of rooms at the TSSC Offices in Lubenham. At that time, Faye provided advice and guidance as to the way the Archive should initially be housed. Since then, the collection has been moved to different rooms in the complex due to changing needs of the TSSC. The current interest in the Archive has been brought about as a result of a burst pipe and subsequent flood that damaged some of the collection. The main thrusts of the discussion were along 3 lines:
- The creation of a catalogue of everything the Archive contains.
- The digitisation of the Archive and subsequent publication on the Web
- The long term care and home for the Archive
A brief discussion highlighted previous thinking around a permanent home for the Collection. Consideration had been given to Beaulieu, which was initially discounted for reasons of its geographic position, Gaydon, discounted because any items lodged there have to be gifted to the Museum and cease to be in the control of the Association and Coventry, which was considered to have similar issues as Gaydon. Further thinking is to be done around a suitable long term home for the collection.
We were lucky with the flood and not a huge amount of damage was sustained (and for some of the more important pieces, only minor water staining) In an attempt to be helpful, Staff of the TSSC had moved the collection to various other rooms in the building which has left the collection somewhat disorganised state.
The group asked Faye to offer her views on the position the Archive was now in and the next steps required. She made the following points:
- Most important task was to protect the collection from any further damage
- Simple plastic covers are to be draped over everything to protect them from water coming from above. Action PB to purchase Decorators plastic sheeting
- Move items in the collection away from areas likely to suffer damage Action PB et al
- Have nothing stored on the floor Action PB to purchase extra shelving units. Nb, metal is better than wood
Store everything in boxes where possible. These should not be plastic but Archive quality Cardboard boxes. As a very rough estimate £5 – 7,000 might be required for appropriate storage for everything. It was also suggested that for such things as Handbook collections etc, it would be better to get boxes made to suit. FM gave advice as to potential sources of supply (Conservation by Design, Preservation Equipment Ltd., Oxford Bodleian Library)
The group then discussed tasks required and their likely order. These were identified as follows:
- To reorganise everything into logical sections prior to any other work taking place. Larger drawing to put in the Plan Chest and held flat with ‘Snake weights’ Action PB et al
- Identify ‘precious’ items that need securing first. Suggestions were Works Index Cards, Drawings from Stanley Edge, Handbooks and Spare parts Lists, Trophies and other Factory records. These were considered ‘unique’. See later tasks discussed regarding these items
- Create an Excel Spreadsheet to record the Catalogue. Advice was taken from Faye as to what it should contain. A Prototype version was created and a few records entered for the early handbooks. The rest of the collection will be gone through and different type of material checked to see if the prototype record will suit everything we hold. Adjustments to the data held in the catalogue will be made accordingly.
- The spreadsheet will contain a column indicating items where further conservation may be necessary. When the catalogue is complete, items so marked will be re-examined and prioritised for professional restoration work as necessary
- All film and Audio resources to be transferred to DVD/CD as appropriate.
- All photos to be placed in wallets of appropriate conservation material (Melinex)
The creation of the actual spreadsheet catalogue entry was discussed. It was suggested that Phil and others would best spend their time ordering the collection into different sections and that the actual entering of data should be undertaken by an ‘Administrator’ with computer literacy, a good deal of common sense and an eye for detail. This person could work, perhaps, whilst Phil and other were at the Archive so could offer guidance to the Administrator when there was doubt. Austin 7 experts may not be the best people for the job as they might get side-tracked.
Digital copying of archive material was discussed and a number of points of best practice were highlighted by Faye. It was suggested that sub-contracting this out to a professional may be helpful as the quality would be high and time taken short. (Capita at Bicester were given as an example of a firm who could undertake this work) This would, of course, have a financial aspect the Association would have to consider. Any text document scanned to PDF should be scanned using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to give files that could be searched for key words. Suggested prices per image for flat bed scanning are 18p per page, and 26p per image for V support scanning (for bound publications, for example). Images should be held as .TIFF files, as they are ‘lossless’ records of the image. .JPEG files are slightly less detailed but are fine for day to day work.
Copyright Issues were discussed with particular bearing on the ultimate aim of publishing the Archive contents on the Web. A recent book on the subject would give helpful guidance – Copyright for Archives by Tim Padfield (see appendix)
Faye also suggested we should have a standard ‘Donation Form’ to be filled out when the Archive receives donation. Faye will provide Phil with a sample (Action FM)
Similarly, we should maintain an ‘Accessions list’ A list of all items donated to the Archive each year. A sample content was discussed.
The Trophies (and other memorabilia) should be photographed immediately. Phil will pursue this. The Jeweller that we used for Insurance valuation purposes should already have some photographs. The rest of the collection will be photographed now. Nick Turley has offered his professional services in this regard. It is intended that this collection of photos should be published to the Web as soon as possible (Assoc Web Master to be involved here)
The Works Index cards are a matter of priority. It is thought they may have already been copied by Ian Moore. Phil to follow this up (Action PB)
To prevent any fading of items, all windows should be covered with UV filter material (Action PB)
Andy, in his capacity as Assoc Chair, will write to Faye’s Boss, formally thanking him for her time today. We also suggested we would be prepared to make input on Swallow history where we had information the Jaguar Archive did not. (Action AL)
These minutes will be published but PB will draft a report to be published to cover everything between the day of the flood and now. Reports will be published on a monthly basis in future.
Next meeting to be held Thursday 19th November at 09:30 to review progress
By the next meeting we hope that the following tasks have been completed:
The collection has been reorganised and moved away from ‘danger’ areas
- Extra shelving has been acquired and the items moved off the floor
- Plastic sheeting is covering everything
- The differing collections have been checked against the prototype catalogue for appropriateness of content
- The windows have had UV material applied to them.
- The Trophy collection has been photographed and the Web Master approached
- Ian Moore has been approached to establish what copies he has of the Factory Index Cards
- FM has provided PB with a donation form and that is now being used.
- AL has written to FM’s Boss
In the next meeting, more serious discussion can then be had on the next steps of creating the catalogue and the possibility of employing professional services
Hugh Barnes 15/10/2015
Archive Material Providers
Conservation by Design
Preservation Equipment Ltd
Transferring to CD/DVD
It is recommended using gold discs, which avoid the rapid ageing/decay of commercial discs:
“Copyright for Archivists and Records Managers” by Tim Padfield