Access to Archives: Finding aids

As the Deputy Archivist I am constantly looking at ways to make our collections more accessible. At Royal Voluntary Service we have run a small number of digitisation projects and opened an enquiry Service (running since 2013) but there are large parts of our collection which remain uncatalogued and only accessible to the Archives team. One way of tackling this is to create finding aids; they are defined as a document containing detailed information about a specific collection of papers or records within an archive. Finding aids are used by researchers to determine whether information within a collection is relevant to their research. Thus over the years we have used collections to create a number of fact sheets to help researchers gain an understanding of different services we have provided since 1938.

The fact sheets on our main site cover a number of topics including:

Health and Hospital Work 1938-2013 – this is a comprehensive look at the work of WVS and WRVS in hospitals since it was founded. Research to compile this document included Central Registry files, publications local office collection accessions and Narrative Reports.

Roll of Honour and History of the Roll of Honour – the former document is a colour copy of the beautifully illustrated book which contains the names of 245 WVS members who were killed during the Second World War. The latter explains its history and compilation, providing you with access to the history of this very important Roll of Honour.

WVS Uniform – on our website you can choose two ways to learn about the history of our uniform and how Royal Voluntary Service has chosen to represent itself. There is the more traditional factsheet containing a number of pictures of wartime uniform with descriptions and it uses publications to provide details on the costs. There is also a video which explores all uniforms from WVS for ARP to Royal Voluntary Service a quick guide with images, publications and uniforms all with video commentary to help you move from Green and red to orange and purple and then back to green and red.

There are also fact sheets on:

• The origins of Meals on Wheels

• Darby and Joan Clubs

• One in Five

• Salvage on the Home Front

• Story of WVS Bristol

• Origins of WVS

• Narrative Reports

• Books on WVS and WRVS

And copies of documents

• Ten Years Work (1938-48)

• WVS Housewives Service

There are also some shorter one page factsheets on our Voices of Volunteering schools resources pages which can help researchers to understand a topic before going to look at the online catalogue for more information about their chosen subject. These factsheets include:

• Books on Wheels

• Clothing Depots

• Darby & Joan Clubs

• Good neighbours

• Hospital canteens

• Lunch Clubs

• Meals on Wheels

• Psychiatric Hospitals

• Services Welfare

• Transport

All our factsheets aim to provide you with source material which isn’t available or easily accessible in other forms. We hope you will take a look, absorb the information and perhaps start some research of your own into our history. If you have any specific questions get in touch with our remote enquiry service.

Posted by Jennifer Hunt, Deputy Archivist at 09:00 Monday, 26 June 2017.

Labels: Archives, Fact Sheets, WVS, WRVS, Royal Voluntary Service

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