The conservation of documents preserved in the Archives is of vital importance.
While the general state of conservation of documents in the Archives is good, many of those papers — being centuries old — are extremely fragile, because of the chemical reaction over time of acidic ink on paper.
Professional care, appropriate treatment and a high standard of storage are all matters of ongoing concern and attention. As the cataloguing of documents proceeds, the state of conservation of items is being noted so that the most fragile and important documents can be given priority.
Consequently there is much conservational work to be done, in stages and over many years to come.
In 2015, work began to produce a multi-lingual electronic catalogue of the VEC Archives. That project continues today.
It will take many years to catalogue the collection thoroughly. Not only does every individual document need labelling and recording, but notes need to be taken of the content.
All of this information is then entered into the database, so that computer searches can help scholars find all the material relevant to their area of research.
The entire catalogue needs to be digitally recorded, and appropriate software maintained for the purpose.
In addition, some of the key documents in the Archives need to be made available in digital format, for ease of consultation and preservation.
In 2017, thanks to the VEC’s alumni organization, the Roman Association, work was completed on digitizing the 10,000+ pages of the College magazine, The Venerabile, from 1922 to the present day. This fully word-searchable facility is now revolutionizing the work of the Archives in making it possible to retrieve valuable historical information very quickly.
Many other holdings in the Archives would benefit from similar treatment.
Can you help us?
As you can see, we are working hard to preserve and develop the VEC Archives to protect the important records in the collection, and the history that they detail. Will you please help us reach our £5-million target?