Leonard Cheshire Archive

Leonard Cheshire Archive began using Discovery to host their collection level descriptions after retiring their commercial collection management system (CMS) in 2017.

Brief introduction to your archive and collections

The Leonard Cheshire Archive is a charity archive and part of the disability charity Leonard Cheshire. We are based near Swadlincote, South Derbyshire, and have a purpose-built store, one full-time archivist and a small team of volunteers. Our collections include the personal archive of our founder Group Captain Lord Leonard Cheshire VC, individual collections for each of his charities and donated collections from trustees, volunteers and disabled people that the charity has supported.

Two people in an archive looking a book with a collection of photos inside

Archivist Steph Nield working with an archive volunteer

Deciding to use Manage Your Collections

We have contributed collection-level descriptions to the Archives Hub and used to have CALM, but this was retired in 2017 due to the complexities of its set-up not suiting our IT infrastructure. Being able to host our collections information on Discovery suits us because it is another avenue for people to find us, it is simple to use and it is convenient for us not to have to manage a large database and do work on a server that we are not able to access.

Your approach to cataloguing collections for publication online

There is just one person cataloguing. At the moment we have concentrated on getting all collection-level descriptions online. All of our catalogues are in Excel spreadsheets. We prioritise which collections to catalogue according to our five-year plan and the resulting projects. At the moment, we are reviewing our sound collection catalogue and aim for that to be our first item-level description available on Discovery. It helps that the process for uploading to Discovery is simple and uses software that we have ready access to, so it has definitely simplified the process.

What value do you see in getting your collections information published via an online platform?

Having our collections information published online increases our visibility. We are only a small archive with one member of staff, so we are keen to use the internet to make ourselves more discoverable, and having our descriptions online helps with this. It’s also less work and cost for us because the catalogue is externally hosted – and free! It’s also prestigious for us to have our archive associated with a national body such as The National Archives, so adds towards our reputation too.

Contact the archive

Stephanie Nield, Archivist: stephanie.nield@leonardcheshire.org