Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Come and work for CAIS

As a result of increasing student numbers and expanding course availability, we're currently advertising for three new members of the CAIS administrative team who will support the functions of the department. Information on each of the positions is available below, but if you would like an informal discussion on any aspect of the work please contact Patricia Whatley, Director, Centre for Archive and Information Studies on +44 (0)1382 385597.

Further details and an application pack are available from the University website at Alternatively, please contact Human Resources, University of Dundee, Dundee, DD1 4HN, +44 (0)1382 384817 (answering machine). The closing date for all posts is 13 November 2009.

The Centre for Archive and Information Studies

CAIS, based in the School of Humanities, provides fully supported online distance learning in Archives, Records Management, Information Rights and Digital Preservation. Currently, over 170 students are enrolled on CAIS masters programmes, including a growing number of international students. CAIS also offers courses for Continuing Professional Development and postgraduate certificates and short courses in family and local history.

Modules on the CAIS programmes are written and tutored by CAIS staff and external subject experts, with the Centre providing the central hub and support framework for this devolved teaching arrangement. Each student has a professional mentor and the processes associated with mentor management are also managed centrally. CAIS also organises student and research focused events and attends external events to promote the programmes.

CAIS has a management team consisting of the Director and two Programme Leaders.



REF: CS/2988

Grade 7 (£28,839 – £35,469)

Purpose of the Post:

This post requires an experienced administrator to manage and develop the administrative functions necessary for the successful operation of the Centre for Archive and Information Studies at the University of Dundee. This post will require flexibility in working hours to accommodate Student Study Schools and other CAIS events.

Principal duties:

The oversight and management of all administrative processes under the direction of the Director and Programme Leaders to:

1. Co-ordinate the implementation of CAIS strategic direction and policy, as determined by the CAIS management team
2. Be responsible for co-ordinating contact between students, tutors and CAIS staff
3. Organise and attend student interviews and compile student offer documentation
4. Ensure the successful operation of CAIS programmes including the processes required for the management of student, tutor and mentor activities
5. Facilitate the organisation of conferences, study schools, tutor meetings, external examiners’ meetings and other events
6. Monitor the successful delivery of CAIS programmes via the University’s Virtual Learning Environment
7. Monitor CAIS budgets under the direction of the Director
8. Develop and maintain the CAIS website
9. Develop and maintain appropriate marketing materials
10. Liaise with the office of the School of Humanities and ensure that CAIS policies and procedures are maintained in line with the School of Humanities and University standards
11. Contribute to the identification of areas for change and development within the CAIS remit
12. Represent CAIS at the University’s Distance Learning Forum
13. Develop and manage any other administrative systems not listed above or conduct any other duties as required by the Director

Person specification:

The successful candidate should:

1. Have a good undergraduate degree
2. Be an excellent communicator at all levels
3. Be an experienced administrator, preferably in a Higher Education environment
4. Be willing to develop knowledge of the sector
5. Have experience of marketing and events management
6. Have knowledge and experience of monitoring budgets
7. Have or be prepared to develop a knowledge of web authoring and design
8. Be comfortable working under pressure and to tight deadlines
9. Be able to work independently and as part of a team
10. Be adaptable, flexible and pro-active in their approach to their duties



REF: CS/2989

Grade 6 (£23,449 - £28,839)

Purpose of the Post:

This post requires a proficient administrator to support the administrative functions necessary for the educational programmes offered by CAIS. This post will require flexibility in working hours to accommodate Student Study Schools and other CAIS events.

Principal duties:

The management of all administrative processes under the direction of the Director, Programme Leaders and CAIS Administrator to:

1. Provide overall technical support to students and tutors for the operation of the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
2. Monitor and maintain all CAIS modules through the VLE
3. Provide administrative support for students and tutors, including the provision of study packs, the management and monitoring of assignment submissions and books on loan
4. Maintain student databases including the University student management system SITS and CAIS financial and student databases
5. Issue student invoice requests, process invoices from tutors and external bodies and deal with general course finance management using CODA, the electronic financial system
6. Update and research online resources
7. Process student enrolment and final completion paperwork
8. Liaise with other University departments, including Registry, ICS, Finance and VLE staff.
9. Assist in updating course guidelines for CAIS and ensuring that these are also made available electronically through the VLE
10. Assist with the organising of course events such as study schools, trade fairs, tutor meetings and external board meetings
11. Any other duties as specified by the CAIS Director, Programme Leaders and CAIS Administrator

Person specification:

The successful candidate should:

1. Have a good undergraduate degree or equivalent experience
2. Be an excellent communicator at all levels
3. Have experience in administration, preferably in a Higher Education environment
4. Be willing to develop a knowledge of the professional sector
5. Have a knowledge and experience of financial processes
6. Be comfortable working under pressure and to tight deadlines
7. Be able to work independently and as part of a team
8. Be adaptable, flexible and pro-active in their approach to their duties



REF: CS/2990

Grade 3 £14,477 - £17,026 (pro rata) (FTE 50%)

Purpose of the Post:

This post requires a competent and efficient clerical assistant to support the functions necessary for the successful operation of the Centre for Archive and Information Studies at the University of Dundee. A flexible approach to accommodate CAIS events is required for the post.

Principal duties:

To provide clerical support to the Administrative staff of CAIS to:
1. Assist in the processing of enquiries and applications
2. Assist in the maintenance of student records and databases (including the use of SITS system)
3. Maintain filing and other record keeping systems
4. Assist in processing financial vouchers
5. Support the organisation of CAIS events, including bi-annual study schools
6. Duplicate and distribute study packs, assignments and other associated materials
7. Any other duties as instructed by the CAIS management team or the Administrators

Person specification:

The successful candidate should:

1. Have five or more standard grades including English and Maths
2. Have demonstrable clerical experience, preferably in a Higher Education environment, including experience of maintaining filing and financial systems
3. Be willing to gain knowledge of the Archives/Records Management sector
4. Be comfortable working under pressure and to tight deadlines
5. Be comfortable working in a team and taking on different roles within any team, dependent on circumstances
6. Be adaptable and pro-active in their approach to their duties

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

A Tasty Experiment

Since the establishment of CAIS we have built up a significant network of students, tutors and mentors, all of whom contribute to the success of the courses in archives and records management that we offer. Each of our thirty courses was written and is tutored by a subject expert or experts, the majority of whom are external to the University. Currently, we have two hundred or so registered students (both postgraduate students and people enrolled on courses for their continuing professional development) and every Masters student has a mentor who is an experienced record keeping professional local to them. Finally, we have a network of alumni who have completed their studies.

The size and diversity of the CAIS network means that we have an opportunity to develop some interesting and useful resources. One of things we have begun to develop is a link library of online materials relevant to CAIS’ students. Using a small sub-group of our tutors and the delicious social bookmarking site we have established a process that we think can ultimately create a rich resource. You can see the small number of links we've added so far as we've been refining our ideas at

Clearly this resource won’t just be of use to our students. We’re hoping to develop something that contains links which should be of interest or relevance to any archivist, records manager or other information professional. To that end, we would like to invite contributions from anyone in the record keeping community who uses delicious and is interested in helping build the link library and making it as worthwhile as possible.

All we’re asking is that whenever you save a bookmark on a record keeping or related subject with your own delicious account (which is free) you tag it 'for:CAIS_Archives' (without the inverted commas). That sends the bookmark to our inbox and we can then save it for inclusion in the main list. The reason we've used this approach is so that we can keep a modicum of control over the vocabulary we use for tagging. As the list of links grows the tags will become crucial for discovery. However, we will take into consideration any tags you have already attached to the link.

As far as we’re aware no-one has tried to develop a link library in this way. Although we know of lots of very good online bibliographies, literature reviews and wikis on archival and records management subjects and we’ve seen sites by record keepers that aggregate blog posts, news items and tweets, we’re not aware of anyone who has tried to develop a resource like this by crowd-sourcing bookmarks. We think that there is a lot of potential here and hope that colleagues will support the development of the resource. Obviously, we'd love to get comments and suggestions for how this could evolve or hear from anyone who is involved in a similar project.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Lumière in the Archives

The recent visit by the Scottish Society for the History of Photography to the Archives gave us a chance to showcase our photographic collections. As well as the 130,000 images in the Michael Peto collection described in the previous blog we have thousands of other prints, slides, negatives and plates.

One of the most significant of our holdings is a collection of autochrome stereoscopes taken by Andrew Burn-Murdoch. Burn-Murdoch insisted on using Lumière slides which, viewed through a stereoscopic machine, give a rich 3D effect. The autochrome process he used was unusual and the slide collection is probably the largest in Scotland. Watch out for later blogs describing the process in more detail.

Other items which caught the interest of the SSHoP were a box of beautiful ambrotypes of members of the wealthy Cox family, some 19th century photographs of Polynesia, and the photographic collection of Herbert Torrance a medical missionary in Palestine. Notable in the latter are a series of 7 albums of hand tinted early 20th century scenes from the Holy Land. The vivid nature of the colours can be seen from the reproduction on the right. If anyone has any information about these photographs or the processes used to produce them we would be interested to hear from you.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Arun Ghandi opens new photographic exhibition at Dundee

Arun Gandhi, activist and grandson of Mahatma Ghandi, visited the University recently to deliver the Margaret Harris Lecture on Religion, entitled '21st Century Peace-Making: The Gandhi Way'

Before the lecture, Dr Gandhi officially opened an exhibition titled 'India in Close Up' featuring rarely seen Indian photographs by Hungarian photo-journalist, Michael Peto. Taken during two tours of India with the Save the Children Fund in the exhibition features images of everyday life in India in the 1960s along with private portraits of Indira Gandhi and her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, two of India's most charismatic Prime Ministers.

Michael Peto was born in Bata, Hungary in 1908. Of Jewish origin, he moved to Budapest during the 1930s travelling to London at the outset of the Second World War. During the war he lived in London where he worked for the Ministry of Labour and backed the allied war effort. He was devoted to the establishment of a Socialist Hungary after the war and advocated an international exchange school of teachers and pupils once peace was established. He was concerned with the education of both adults and children and greatly favoured progressive education systems. Peto was a strong supporter of A S Neill and became involved with Summerhill School in 1944.

In the early post war years Peto took up photography as a career and was supported by fellow Hungarians Ervin Marton, artist and photographer, who provided technical instruction to develop his skills in photography and graphic art and his close friend the artist Josef Herman. He acquired a personal humanist style, seeking to record ‘the basic serenity of the human form’.

In 1949 he joined The Observer where he worked freelance for the Sunday Observer for 11 years, carrying out three Save the Children Fund assignments, including visits to India in 1951 and1967. His second month-long tour to India in 1967 was under the Cultural Activities Programme of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. He covered the elections for The Times and The Observer newspapers and also took photographs related to family planning in India. Among his personal friends were Pandit Nehru, the late Indian Prime Minister.

His photographs of India, taken during his Save the Children tours in 1951 and 1967, reflect the breadth of his travels. They include the politicians Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of Independent India, his daughter, later also Prime Minister, Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi and Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed, Prime Minister of Kashmir. Others represented in the collection include fishermen of Kerala, Sikhs in Kashmir, villagers in Banares, and street salesmen in Delhi and Bombay and farmers in Kashmir and the Punjab. Many ordinary women and children, working men and the sacred cows of India are all included within this rich and varied collection.

The Michael Peto collection comprises 130,000 images including high-spirited slum children, tired ballet dancers at Covent Garden, a worn face in a street, proud miners, slender Indian peasants guiding their white oxen over a field in the blazing sun, Richard Burton, during the recording of Milk Wood and numerous other individuals, both well-known and nameless who caught his attention.

After his death on Christmas Day 1970 at the age of 62 his step-son, Michael Fodor, who was an accountancy student at the University of Dundee, and family donated his collection to the University. The collection is held by the University Archives in the Tower Building.

More information on Michael Peto and a wider selection of his photographs are available here.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Scotland's Historians: the Development of Eighteenth Century Historical Studies

The next conference of the Economic and Social History Society of Scotland is supported by CAIS and following the recent announcement of the programme places have been filling up rapidly. Scotland's leading historians will gather in St Cecilia’s Hall, Cowgate, Edinburgh on Tuesday 8 December 2009 at 6pm to reflect on Scotland in the Eighteenth Century; the bridge between the old and the new Scotland and the era of the world famous Scottish Enlightenment, industrialisation and urbanisation and the revolutions in society in Lowland and Highland Scotland. The historians speaking at the conference are:

Chair, B.P. Lenman, Professor Emeritus of Modern History, University of St Andrews

T.M. Devine, Sir William Fraser Professor of Scottish History and Palaeography, University of Edinburgh, 'The Other Side of Enlightenment'

A.I. MacInnes, Professor of Early Modern History, University of Strathclyde, 'Securing the Union through Empire'

T.C. Smout, HM Historiographer in Scotland, 'The Improvers Ethic: the Impact of the Landed Classes on Rural Economy, Society and Environment'

C.A. Whatley, Professor of Scottish History, University of Dundee, ‘John Galt and provincial Scotland: recantation, revision, and enlightenment’

Admission is free but advance booking is necessary. Until 1 November contact Jennifer Johnstone at After this date an ebooking system will be in operation via the website of the Scottish Centre for Diaspora Studies.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Brian Cox's Jute Journey

Some of the best used and most interesting records held by Archive Services are those that relate to India, in particular the area around Calcutta and in West Bengal. Dundee’s links with India are fairly well known – initially the city imported raw jute which was manufactured in factories in Dundee. Later production moved to India and managers from Dundee were employed to oversee the process. What is not so well known is that the records of these processes, of the trade between Dundee and India and of those employed in the factories in India are held by Archive Services. Details of living conditions, wages, and schemes to provide for the social and physical welfare of Indian and European workers are just some examples of the unique information we hold.

This week BBC Scotland broadcast a programme about the long connection between Dundee and West Bengal that developed as a result of the jute industry. Using the actor Brian Cox (who has featured in a number of Hollywood movies including the fist two Bourne films and X-Men 2) the programme provided insights into the historic reasons for the link between these two very different parts of the world.

During the programme Cox read from a facsimile of an item held here in the Archives - it was a page from the Colloquial Hindustani textbook used by the Scottish expatriates to learn Hindi and, as can be seen from this image, the phrases they were taught reveal much about attitudes towards the local Indian workforce.

The programme can still be seen on the BBC’s iPlayer until the 13th October 2009.

Our collections relating to Dundee's textile’s links with India are of particular historical importance and contain some of the best primary sources that have survived. They have attracted scholars from around the world, including the United States, India, Bangladesh, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Archive Services mounted an exhibition of this material to celebrate the visit of the Indian High Commissioner to the University which can be seen here.

Anyone is welcome to visit the archives to look these fascinating records. We are also interested in hearing from any Dundonians who spent time in India and who might have material relating to their time there. Please email

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Incremental change

When we started this blog in August we mentioned that it was quite likely that things would move around, colours would change and elements would be added or taken or away until we settled on a design we liked and built in the functionality we wanted. You may have noticed how things have evolved since our first post. Even during the last few days we've made some small final changes and added the ability to search the blog or to share any post via some popular social bookmarking sites, twitter or facebook. Overall, the look and feel of the blog is now one that we are all comfortable with and it shouldn't change too much in the short-medium term. We hope you like the blog and are enjoying our posts, but we would still welcome comments on its look, content or functionality.