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Wednesday, 28 October 2015

My first week at the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales

My name is Lucie Hobson and I’m the new Library and Enquiries Assistant at the Royal Commission. I am completely new to the Royal Commission so the purpose of this blog is to provide a flavour of my first week learning the ways of the Library and Enquiries Service!

My own background lies in the study of the history of Wales, having recently graduated from Aberystwyth University with a degree in History and Welsh History. Even so, I admit that I was unaware of the resources available at the RCAHMW; part of the role of the RCAHMW’s Public Enquiries service is to utilise these resources to bring the work of the Commission to a wider audience.

I was really nervous on my first day, which involved an induction to office health and safety procedures, meeting other staff members, and trying (and failing) not to get lost – fortunately there was always somebody friendly to point the way! I didn’t feel I had really ‘arrived’ until the afternoon, when I had my IT and e-mail accounts set up.

As part of my induction programme, I was introduced to the databases that I would be using to assist with public enquiries, and I learnt about resources such as Coflein and the People’s Collection Wales. On my second and third days I spent time with different staff members to gain an overview of aspects of the Commission’s work, such as aerial photography, mapping, record conservation, and site surveys, and how this information is all made available within the archive and library service.

Retrieving archive material from the stores of the National Monuments Record of Wales.
On my fourth and fifth days I had my first taste of working in the library and visited the numerous stores to collect material requested by members of the public – my unfamiliarity with archival cataloguing made this, at first, seem an insurmountable task! Fortunately, after a steep learning curve I was soon finding my way around, as this was to be one of my main tasks as Library and Enquiries Assistant. After my first week, I’m now looking forward to playing an active role in the work of the Library and Enquiries service; the diversity and range of the library and archive collections mean that I’ll never know what I’m likely to discover next.

By Lucie Hobson

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