Policies, Postcards and Prophylactics: a project to catalogue and conserve LHSA’s UNESCO-awarded HIV/AIDS collections (1983-2010)


This 12-month project will complete the cataloguing and offer comprehensive conservation of the HIV/AIDS collections inscribed to the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register in 2011, and a supplementary HIV/AIDS collection. Of the 12 collections, four remain uncatalogued and all require conservation treatment.

The collections largely consist of loose paper documents, but there are also many other modern materials that pose interesting conservation questions. For example, colour photographs, negatives and slides, VHS, audio cassette tapes and 3½” floppy discs as well as rubber and latex items such as balloons and condoms.

For further information about the cataloguing component of the project, please click here; and for the conservation work, click here.

UNESCO Memory of the World Register

The UNESCO (United Nations Education Science and Cultural Organisation) UK Memory of the World Register is a worldwide programme which aims to provide ‘a catalogue of documentary heritage of global significance and outstanding universal value’. The UK Memory of the World Register was established in 2009 and highlights the national significance of the collections and the importance of making them available in the most accessible way.

For more information on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, please click here.

The Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health.

This project was funded by the Wellcome Trust's Research Resources grant scheme, which aids research by supporting projects to catalogue and preserve significant primary source collections in libraries and archives across the UK and Ireland.

For more information on the Research Resources scheme, please click here.

Project updates

April 2015

By the end of this month a website promoting the resources in the HIV/AIDS collections will go live. Focusing mainly on the ‘Take Care’ campaign materials in GD22; these resources will be aimed at secondary school teachers and youth groups.


The project was conceived by Karyn Williamson with Emily Hick leading the implementation. Help was given by Iain Phillips, Clair Millar and Colette Bush. Funding for this project was provided by the Wellcome Trust ‘Provision for Public Engagement Scheme’ with additional support from the John Lewis Golden Jubilee Trust through Iain’s placement.


April 2015

We are delighted to announce that all cataloguing and conservation work is now complete on our Wellcome Trust funded HIV/AIDS collections! We look forward to our HIV/AIDS collections and resources opening up future research and study into the medical and social fight against HIV/AIDS in Edinburgh in the period 1983 to 2010.


February 2015

Clair Millar joined the project in January to continue the cataloguing work: she has already completed a draft catalogue for GD25 and work is now underway on GD22.

November 2014

We wish Karyn Williamson, the Project Cataloguing Archivist, well in her new job. Meanwhile, Emily has continued to re-house the catalogued collections, and finalised the arrangements for the symposium.

September 2014

The programme for a symposium on the conservation of modern materials in medical archives (based on our experiences of this project) has been released. This one-day event will bring together conservators, archivists and curators on 28 November 2014. Please click here for more details about the symposium and how to book your free place.

July 2014

A further small grant from the Wellcome Trust has been awarded to LHSA to put on a symposium for the conservation of modern materials and funding applications to the Wellcome Trust. This is expected to be held towards the end of 2014.

June 2014

The Project Cataloguing Archivist, Karyn Williamson, was appointed on 19 May and is now working closely with Emily, the Project Conservator, to catalogue and make available the four remaining uncatalogued collections.

March 2014

Completed conservation of GD22 and began treatment of GD24.

Recruitment for the Project Cataloguing Archivist for this project is underway, with a closing date for applications of 3 April 2014.

January 2014

We welcome Emily Hick as Project Conservator, starting on 13 January.

November 2013

The deadline for applications for the Project Conservator post has now passed and the recruitment process is well underway. Interviews for this post will be on 4 December.



LHSA gratefully acknowledges the support of the Wellcome Trust.


UNESCO Memory of the World