Volunteering in the DIU

I have been volunteering with the Digital Imaging Unit for about a year, during which time I have been researching and adding metadata to their digital collection, as well as selecting images for a recent postcard project. It has been a wonderful opportunity to get to know the breadth of the University’s Collections and contribute to its online visibility.

As a student of the (MA) Fine Art degree  looking to start a career in the archive and museum sector, volunteering with the DIU has not only provided me with relevant work experience, but also enriched my visual and art historical knowledge by exposing me to an incredible variety of pictorial material.

The collection has a number of beautiful images of old Edinburgh and it is remarkable to see how, in some ways, so little has changed in the city landscape.


Glass-plate slides are such wonderful objects and these have incredibly vibrant colours. This particular image seems to be a photograph of the Bois de Boulogne, a park close to where my grandmother lived in Paris.

Bois du Boulogne.

The Capybaras, or Capivaras, are a type of giant rodents indigenous to the region I grew up in Brazil. It was a lovely surprise to discover this image in the University’s collection of Zoological Illustrations.


One of the many fascinating items I’ve had the pleasure to research for the DIU, a 17th century book detailing comet sightings throughout history, accompanied by intricate illustrations.


Pigs, pumpkins and ostriches… what more could you want?


Alice Tod

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