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Boxes of material prior to conservation



Crusaid leaflets


Cataloguing LHSA's HIV/AIDS Collections

The cataloguing section of the project ran for twelve months from May 2014 to April 2015, and saw two Project Cataloguing Archivists contribute to cataloguing four of the HIV/AIDS collections:


The collections are unusually modern, dating from 1983 to 2010. The material is also unique in that a vast range of formats are represented, including stickers, badges, condoms, 3½ inch floppy discs and  balloons, as well as the more standard paper and photograph elements of most collections.

Such a diverse range of material raises questions about how the collection will be ordered and listed. Some of the interesting decision making and cataloguing processes are provided below, alongside information on any interesting items that were uncovered along the way.


Cataloguing began on 19 May 2014 with the Crusaid Scotland papers (GD21). Filling only six boxes (right) and coming with a basic box list, the collection was an obvious starting point and the final catalogue is now complete. For more information on the Crusaid collection see our blog from earlier this year.


The photograph below right shows a small selection of information leaflets collected by those working for Crusaid in the early 1990s. Leaflets provided organisations like Crusaid with a quick means of educating the public in an interesting and colourful way. They could also be distributed across geographical areas in a short period of time, ensuring that as many people possible saw them.



Perhaps containing some of the most diverse medium of LHSA’s collections, GD22 was the final collection to be catalogued. The collection was fully conserved prior to cataloguing and for Project Archivist, Clair Millar, working to catalogue a collection containing such diverse materials, this was much appreciated. A draft catalogued existed and was used as a box list but the collection needed re-ordering both at series and file level, as well as more detailed file descriptions. It was also important to re-catalogue the objects and visual material within the collection because their previous reference number was a reflection of their location, rather than their context or relationships within the collection.


The wealth of visual material alongside paper material is an impressive reminder of a local response to HIV/AIDS. The images below are just a taster of some of the unique materials within the collection.


GD22/14/5/O293-O296 GD22/14/5 GD22/14/5/O276




As one of the larger HIV/AIDS collections, we are very lucky to be in excellent contact with its creator, Dr Helen Zealley. Dr Zealley had previously provided contextual information throughout her collection to help describe the complexity of the papers, collected during her time as Lothian Health Board Director of Public Health. However perhaps more unusually, Project Archivist, Karyn Williamson, was fortunate to work with Dr Zealley at the beginning of the cataloguing process. Retroactively, Dr Zealley offered advice, guidance and answered questions relating to her role and the records in the collection. Dr Zealley also took part in ordering and naming the series within the collection, to ensure that it was an accurate representation of her role. We look forward to Dr Zealley’s further participation, in an LHSA oral history project, which will complement our HIV/AIDS collections with personal recollections from the time of the outbreak.


This image shows the extent of the collection in the store, now fully catalogued and conserved.




The collection consists of two accessions: the HIV/AIDS Management Team collection; and the Lothian Health Board Health Promotion Department HIV/AIDS and sexual health papers. Prior to cataloguing no draft catalogue existed so an item-level box list was created, which was then used to re-order the collection from series to file level.


The collections holds some inventive health promotion packs distributed at the time, such as the Safer Fun in the Sun Check Cards booklet, produced by the Forth Valley Health Promotion Team. It includes a small sachet of sun cream a condom to promote safe sex.