Volunteering at LHSA

LHSA runs an active volunteer programme, offering valuable experience for prospective archive students and conservation students and engaging projects for those with an interest in working in the archive sector.

Learning archive skills

For anyone considering a career in archives, it is vital to gain first-hand experience within an archive, and a placement or internship is a prerequisite for gaining a place on most postgraduate courses in Archive Management.  LHSA is pleased to offer archival experience on a voluntary basis to those wishing to pursue a career in this field, and has a proud record of success, with many past volunteers securing places on postgraduate courses. Volunteers can gain experience in a range of areas from handling and palaeography, to cataloguing and conducting archival research.

Find out more about what our archive volunteers have been up to over on the Projects page.

One day placements

LHSA receives a high number of requests for archive volunteer placements and in order to accommodate as many people as possible, a one day placement may be offered in the first instance to introduce volunteers to best practice handling, cataloguing and enquiries research skills.

Learning conservation skills

LHSA also offers the opportunity to gain experience within the field of paper conservation, and the work undertaken within our volunteer programme can be used to produce a portfolio for interview at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Training will be given in basic interventive conservation treatments including surface cleaning, repair and re-housing, followed by practical application of these skills on a discrete collection.  Wherever possible the cataloguing work of the archive volunteers is aligned with that of volunteers in conservation to develop a holistic approach to collection management.

Applying for a volunteer position

If you'd like to apply for a volunteer position, please complete the online Volunteer Enquiry Form. The Student Engagement Officer will respond to discuss any available opportunities, and if there are no positions available at LHSA, they may be able to offer a volunteer position within another part of the Centre for Research Collections.


Further information about volunteering in the archive sector

List of Archive Postgraduate Courses accredited by the Archives & Records Association

List of placement opportunities available in the UK and Ireland



LHSA hosts a number of internships with stipend throughout the year. These internships aim to provide additional experience to those who have recently completed, or are near to completing, a postgraduate qualification in a relevant discipline, such as archive administration or conservation.


Current internships

LHSA is hosting four internships in 2017.


The first was a project-based internship thatran for 8 weeks from April to June, and was part of a wider initiative across the Centre for Research Collections to review and evaluate what, and how, material is stored at the University Collections Facility.


Working with twentieth-century individual folder-based case notes and using the methodology developed for the Norman Dott project, intern Emily catalogued a collection consisting of 477 cases of patients treated by consultant cardiothoracic surgeon Andrew Logan (1906-2005). The catalogue was produced using the Encoded Archival Description (EAD) standard inside Oxygen XML (eXtensible Mark-up Language) editor, and Emily also undertook some conservation and rehousing in order to try and establish an efficient method for future projects to catalogue and conserve in tandem. Emily made such great progress throughout the 8 weeks that she even had time to help Project Cataloguing Archivist Clair catalogue Sexual Dysfunction case notes. Find out more about the case notes she worked with, and her experience as an LHSA intern, in her blog posts [1] [2].


Our second internship of the year was part of the University of Edinburgh's Employ.ed on Campus programme, which offers structured placements to 2nd, 3rd and penultimate year undergraduate students. The project focussed on a recently acquired personal collection from physician Ernst Levin (1887-1975), which supplements the record of his medical career that LHSA holds. Levin had a fascinating personal life at a key time in German history. Born in Berlin, he served as an army surgeon in First World War trenches before he specialised in neurology. In the 1920s, Levin and his wife were immersed in the thriving artistic resurgence of the Weimar Republic, brought to life in the collection’s photographs and letters. Since Levin was Jewish by birth, the Nazi rise to power in 1933 caused him to seek work in Edinburgh, where he would spend the rest of his life.


This internship aimed to raise awareness of the content of Levin’s personal archive by listing a part of it to archival standards and creating outreach resources to engage new users. Having selected and catalogued part of Levin’s personal archive, intern Kimyana took the lead in generating an online resource, gaining valuable experience in cataloguing, outreach, and archival administration along the way. You can follow Kim’s progress on the blog, and the resource will soon be available online.


Fiona making a four-flap folder Lynne cataloguing architectural plans Mariko making a condiition assessment