In 2000 the Glasgow bookseller John Smith & Son moved their office to smaller premises. From their skip I saved about 200 books, correspondence and ephemera dating from 1746 to the present. This is what began to seriously interest me in archiving. I obtained my MSc in Material Culture and the History of the Book from the University of Edinburgh and became an archive volunteer, first with the Centre for Research Collections at the University, and now currently with the Ballast Trust.
With the help of the bursary, I chose the University of Dundee’s Principles and Practice of Records Management, as an excellent way of acquiring specific skills while working. Being unfamiliar with how records management operates, there was some initial disorientation, but the module introduced the processes and provided an understanding of current methods.
This may sound strange, but the part I found most enjoyable was creating a business classification scheme for one of the exercises! With increased awareness of the importance of business archives, especially in relation to advertising and publicity, an understanding of business structure and the role of information and record processing is essential.
I thank the Scottish Council on Archives in assisting with my career development and for providing an unexpected morale boost in these austere times.