For the first few months of 2023, I have been using medium format photography to document a collection of zines, posters, photographs and booklets from the Lothian Health Service Archive. The material all relates to the epic struggle to educate on the topic of gay lives and HIV at a time in Edinburgh when bigotry and fear of contracting HIV were prominent, which led to Edinburgh being described in the popular media as the “Aids Capital of Europe.”
Over the last few months, our team has been working on digitising the Lothian Health Service Archive’s collection of Annual Public Health Reports for the City of Edinburgh. Comprising of 74 bound volumes of reports recording the public health of Edinburgh’s residents from 1865 to 1973, these documents are an absolute goldmine of information just waiting to be utilised by academics and researchers, covering everything from birth, death and disease rates to specific aspects of public health that were overseen by the City authorities, like infectious diseases or sanitation.
At the beginning of this year, I started in my role as the Cultural Heritage Digitisation Service’s new Digitisation Assistant. As part of the team responsible for providing the main digitisation services for the university’s heritage collections, I have been getting familiar with some the unique and varied collections here at the University of Edinburgh, as well as learning the ins and outs of cultural heritage digitisation.