Fresh perspectives: work experience at the ERO

Abbie Wheeler, who came all the way from Edinburgh to work with us for a week, blogs for us about her time here…

I went to the Essex Record Office for a one week work experience from 3 to the 7th of June. I was able to look into and experience all aspects of the Record Office. I worked with Marion and had a look at how all the documents and archive papers were photographed and digitised. It was fascinating and a great experience to see the amount of work she puts in to make the documents clear and defined to view on the screen.

I had a peek into the conservation room and had a look at a map that the conservators took months to repair because it was so badly damaged.

I also checked out the Sound and Video Archive section of the Office which really astonished me with the vast range of technology they used to identify video clips and sounds of history.

On the Thursday I worked in the Searchroom and gained an insight into how documents were retrieved for the public, catalogued, checked then stored back into the repositories. Retrieving specific documents for the public is really well executed and the amount of organisation that has to be done so the repositories are catalogued correctly and the right documents are given to the right person is unbelievable and I think the whole system is really well set up and resourceful .

Most of my day would consist of cataloguing. As a work experience student I was cataloguing building plans and I definitely underestimated how much detail needs to be put into the Seax system so each plan is identifiable. On the whole my week at the Record Office was an eye opener into the working life of an archivist and I really appreciate all the advice and help all the staff gave me. Thank you so much for such a helpful and enjoyable work experience!