Opposites Attract: Science and Archives

Following on from last year’s successful conference on women in science, hosted by London Metropolitan Archives, we were delighted to present a paper at this year’s ‘Opposites Attract: Science and Archives’ event.

During the day we heard from a mix of speakers on quite varied topics relating to science in the archives. We were particularly interested to hear from Anita Hollier from the CERN archive, and she spoke about the overall objectives and scope of her work at CERN, including selection of records for permanent preservation, digitisation projects and the challenge of electronic records, which we all face as archivists. Anita also provided examples of some of the fascinating archives held at CERN, including Nobel Laureate, Wolfgang Pauli. Felicity Henderson then provided a fascinating window into the life and work of Robert Hooke in 17th century London. We heard about the social conditions that enabled the development of science in the 17th century, and how Hooke was able to gather and pass information between the Royal Society and the commercial networks he penetrated in London’s coffee houses. These were frequented by bookmakers, seafarers, merchants and alderman, and through Hooke, provided the link between the Royal Society and the wider world. Caroline de Stefani , Conservation Studio Manager from London Metropolitan Archives then provided an interesting and visual presentation on the archive’s conservation work carried out at the LMA in order to make the fire and water-damaged Great Parchment Book (a survey commissioned by Charles I) accessible to researchers. You can see their work here.

We then spoke about our work on the collections development aspects of Saving Oxford Medicine and also the challenges associated with preserving and cataloguing modern science collections. You can view our presentation slides here.

Anne Barrett closed the day with a presentation on global linked data catalogues in the history of science. Saving Oxford Medicine would like to thank conference organiser Howard Benge for an enjoyable and thought-provoking day.

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