Over the past 6 years, we have been cataloguing the archives and books held by the Heritage Centre. For this we use dedicated software called ‘Calm.’ The basic principle governing how we catalogue is that the records of an organisation, department or individual should be kept together. The records in each of these ‘collections’ are then kept in the original order in which they were used. This means that the records’ context gives them much more information than if we arranged them by subject (and anyway, documents such as letters or meeting minutes may contain a variety of subjects).
The library comprises some 1,600 books published by, or written about, The Salvation Army. It includes a rare books collection and a pamphlet collection.
The archive comprises records created by The Salvation Army International Headquarters, national ‘Territorial’ commands, Social Services and individual churches (‘corps’). We also hold personal papers of prominent Salvationists, such as members of the Booth family. Future posts on this blog will explore some of these collections in more detail.
Now we are ready to make this catalogue available on the internet. At this stage, the on-line catalogue will only include some 6,000 of the 12,000 records we have so far catalogued. This is because many of these records are closed under the Data Protection Act as they contain sensitive personal information relating to living individuals. Also, some records are still in the process of being catalogued and wouldn’t make much sense if only part of the collection appeared on-line. We have decided not to include objects from our museum collection in the on-line version of the catalogue.
However, the majority of our archive collections are still uncatalogued and many are stored off-site, so many potential treasures remain to be discovered. Our archive team is working through this back-log and new collection descriptions should appear on-line several times a year.