Archives Assistant – Heritage Collections, University of Exeter


What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

My role as a temporary archives assistant primarily involved cataloguing the correspondence of South West writer Henry Williamson. I was also given the opportunity to supervise the Special Collections Reading Room desk, and participate in key processes in Heritage Collections such as retrievals and re-shelving, selecting and preparing materials for display and working with Arts and Culture to help promote academic events. I was also given the opportunity to shadow other fundamental parts of working in a university archive, such as accessions, digitisation and answering queries, and was given access to wider reading about the sector and archival practices.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

My biggest achievement over the course of my internship has been the ability I have gained to try new things, and believe in my own skillset. The department trusted me with some of their most precious collections – including letters by Thomas Hardy and Agatha Christine – and being able to work on such important materials really helped me gain confidence in my own abilities, and the skills I can bring to future employers.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

My help in cataloguing Henry Williamson’s correspondence meant that the Special Collections team could present a more detailed record of their collections to the public and researchers, making the materials in the archive more accessible. My proudest moment as part of my internship was when I was informed that the work I had undertaken had resulted in a request for that material – by contributing to the Special Collections catalogue, a process that also taught me about cataloguing software CALM, I had also made a tangible and positive impact on the service they are able to provide.

“Lucy was an extremely high calibre intern who managed much of the intern process herself. There were some hitches in the process and her proactive approach really helped with this” – Head of Heritage Collections