View our latest blog where volunteers share their experiences of the project

What is it? 

‘Remotely Digital’ is our latest project for 2022 and is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. It will train, upskill and use remote digital volunteers to help Barnsley Archives and Local Studies to understand, interpret and transcribe our sound and film collections, principally new material received since our 2016 sound and film project was completed. This project will give us the opportunity to fund the conversion of material that has been donated in recent years, as well as material that might be donated during the course of the project.

What are we working on? 

Barnsley Archives and Local Studies holds a large collection of sound recordings and films which capture aspects of the area’s rich history. These include important oral history recordings, films which capture the iconic Barnsley Mayor’s Parade, and early cine film footage of families enjoying their leisure time in the Borough. Other subjects covered include sport, school days, royal visits, healthcare and industry.  


“It’s so interesting. I think I’m going to enjoy it. Different way to see and learn what is in the archives.”

(Mar, volunteer - August 2022)

Training sessions

During May and June 2022 four training sessions were planned and delivered online via Zoom to the volunteers. To ensure no one missed out on any of the training sessions, we offered recorded training sessions and summary notes for volunteers who couldn’t make the live sessions. We also delivered a ‘catch-up’ session for volunteers who work full time.

The four training sessions comprised:

  • Introduction to Archives and project

Volunteers were given an overview of Barnsley Archives and Local Studies, and the type of collections it holds as well as an overview of the project’s background and its funder, National Heritage Lottery Fund.

  • Transcribing oral histories

Volunteers were introduced to transcribing work using transcribing software (optional) and transcribing templates. We also provided some useful tips on transcribing.

  • Creating online content

This session was delivered by our Digital Engagement Curator, who showcased online content creation on various social media platforms. The aim was to offer a few inspirational ideas for our volunteers so that they could create online content showing off the work they have done.

  • Calm database and cataloguing

Our Local Studies Librarian introduced the volunteers to our collections management system Calm database – how cataloguing is done by the staff behind the scenes as well as what the output looks like on the Barnsley Museums online search catalogue. We also talked about the various ways we ensure our online records are accessible for users and the awareness of using more inclusive and updated language for cataloguing so that collections are more accessible and relevant. 


“So far, this project has been interesting. The Zoom sessions are informative with monthly talks on different topics."

(Beth, volunteer - July 2022)

Current project work - transcribing Worsbrough Voices oral histories

A series of Worsbrough Voices sound recordings were sent to volunteers as their first piece of transcribing work. Alongside the transcribing work, volunteers will also be creating metadata for these sound recordings for cataloguing onto the Calm database.

These recordings were conducted by staff at Worsbrough Library in 2018, and then deposited with Barnsley Archives and Local Studies. These sound recordings reflect the life, stories, memories and experiences of residents living in Worsbrough. It will be great when this collection is fully transcribed and catalogued by the volunteers, enabling them be shared with members of the public.

From July onwards, we are hosting 1-2-1 coffee chats via Zoom with the volunteers as a way to provide support, discuss the project further and getting feedback. We will also have our first online monthly social talk starting in July for the volunteers to thank their time and contribution to Barnsley Museums.



“…It's been really interesting to listen to the story that is being told and learn more about the history of Barnsley.”

(Olivia, volunteer - July 2022)

Next steps

We have recently had a number of sound and film collections which were still in their original formats converted into digital files. These comprised cinefilms, cassette tapes and VHS which were not accessible in these formats to transcribe. We can’t wait to get these ready, so volunteers start working on them!

We will be cataloguing the fully transcribed Worsbrough Voices sound recordings onto our Calm database so that they can be made available on our online catalogue, allowing us to share Worsbrough memories and stories with more people.

Are you interested in being involved with this project? If so drop us an email or contact us on social media to find out more!



Twitter: @BarnsArchives