17 June 2015
AA Archives, 32 Bedford Square
To find out more about the recently set up AA Collections blog that provides a platform for the AA Archives, Photo Library and Library to share and promote their collections, we spoke to AA Archivist Edward Bottoms to learn more about how the blog came about and the ways in which it could promote the unique and ever-expanding collections of historic material that we have at the AA.
Why did you decide to set up the AA Collections blog?
Well, the AA Collections blog is a collaboration between the Archives, Photo Library and Library which aims to promote our historic collections.
In terms of deciding to set up the blog, I have been very much aware, over the last few years, that whilst the Archives have been receiving many exciting new acquisitions there is always a significant delay (sometimes well over a year) before the items can be properly listed in our catalogue. A researcher working on the Smithsons, for example, might come and look at their drawings but then go away without having realised that we also hold (as yet not fully catalogued) the manuscript to an unpublished novel by Alison Smithson… Indeed, as we still have a very significant back-log of uncatalogued drawings (dating back to the 1860s!) I felt that some alternative medium was needed to communicate what we held and encourage people to engage and use this material.
I therefore envisaged the blog as a kind of ‘notice board’ allowing researchers to stay informed about relevant new materials but also as an elegant means by which to introduce an element of serendipity within the collections- highlighting interesting projects, new discoveries, photographs, writings, etc…
Who contributes to the AA Collections blog?
Rico Borza from AA Digital Platforms and Bobby Jewell from Membership have been incredibly helpful in designing the actual blog and providing the impetus to get everything started. Valerie Bennett and Byron Blakeley from the Photo Library, Eleanor Gawne from the Library and myself from the Archives are the main contributors. Over the last few months postings have been very diverse, covering a broad range of subjects including new photographs from the AA Camera Club, a study of the AA Library’s several 18thC editions of Vitruvius Britannicus, and a 45rpm record recently presented to the Archives (part of a 1968 student project looking forward to the digital age of communication!).