Archives on your Digital Doorstop – Overcome the Lockdown!

This Friday is our Annual Royal College Day – which due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be the first to involve a virtual AGM!

The Annual General Meeting has taken place since the very beginning of the RCVS in 1844, with official announcements published in the London Gazette, and voting for new Council members recorded on a tally sheet. This event has evolved and expanded over the years, but past members could not ever have imagined it taking place over computer screens.

An original tally sheet from an early RCVS Annual General Meeting (c.1845) – Photo credit Jacob Cook

This ‘new normal’ has meant that many things have had to adapt, and archivists are no exception. As I mentioned in a recent post on our Instagram feed – it has been nearly four months since I was anywhere near our Archive collections *sob*

And while I have been missing the tangible joy of handling the fragile and yellowed papers in my care, I have still been able to read and learn from historical materials — and help others do so — via our Digital Collections.

Since our launch back in 2017, we have added new functionality to the site, and so here is a refresher of the various ways you can easily access and share content from our collections without having to leave your home:

Full-text search of printed materials

You may have noticed that a search box now appears at the bottom of each Universal Viewer. Using this, you can quickly search, locate, and navigate to specific words anywhere in the text. This is particularly effective for works like Boardman’s A Dictionary of the Veterinary Art &c (1805)

Transcriptions of manuscript correspondence

To make our manuscript material more accessible, we are working to create full transcripts that are searchable via the main site search. So far, key correspondence and case notes by Frederick Smith have been transcribed.

Example of text transcripts

Embed UV or share links to specific images

Each Universal Viewer contains code you can use to embed the UV on your own webpages. And if you want to share a link to a specific image within the work, you can expand the UV to its own tab, navigate to the right page, and copy the current URL.

Button to find embed code is on bottom left of Universal Viewer

Button to open the Universal Viewer into a new Tab

Spread the word!

All this week we will be using our social media channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to share highlights from our Digital Collections, and some of the positive feedback we’ve received from our audience. Come and join us!