Excel for Archivists: Practical Training Workshops

Why Excel?

Excel can be an invaluable tool for listing archives, especially large and disordered collections. It is a powerful tool for editing and transforming data prior to import into Calm, Access or other systems. However, generic Excel training courses rarely focus on the techniques needed to work effectively with text.

About the workshops

Two one-day workshops are available:

  • Essential techniques for listing archives using Excel
  • Data improvement and data migration

Both workshops focus on techniques and concepts needed to work effectively with text. The emphasis is on practical skills, and the teaching material is based on genuine archive lists. The trainer, Gillian Sheldrick, is an experienced archivist and Excel enthusiast.

Since 2014, over 40 workshops have been held in locations from Dundee to Dublin, though most often in Oxford. Participants have commented: ‘Immediately usable skills’; ‘Eye opening how powerful Excel is’; ‘Tutor friendly, knowledgeable and encouraging’.

Workshop content: Essential techniques

  • Working with text and formats: auto complete and auto fill; copy and ‘paste special’; find and replace; data formats (eg date, text and number data types)
  • Working with structure: filtering; moving rows and columns; sorting rows
  • Transforming text using functions and formulas
  • Viewing and sharing worksheets: Using split panes; hiding columns and rows; protecting data

This workshop is aimed at those with a basic knowledge of Excel, not complete beginners.

Workshop content: Data improvement and data migration

Data Improvement theme:

  • Techniques to improve data, including subdividing columns of data; removing duplicate records; find and replace using a look-up list
  • Data improvement using functions and formulas, including relative and absolute cell references; conditional formulas; combining formulas

Data Migration theme:

  • Data migration theory, including data compatibility; representing the archival hierarchy; planning a data migration project; data mapping
  • Practical techniques including importing into/ exporting from Excel using character separated values; exporting from Excel to XML format

This workshop is aimed particularly at archivists who have previously taken part in an ‘Essential techniques’ workshop.

What is not covered?

The workshops do not cover using excel for graphs, charts or other graphics functionality; design and layout of spreadsheets or forms; statistical analysis.

More information

Courses in Oxford: See https://help.it.ox.ac.uk/courses/archivists/index for available dates, course summaries and a contact form (or email the booking centre at courses@it.ox.ac.uk)

For other dates and locations, more information about the workshops, or to receive the occasional ‘Excel for Archivists’ newsletter, email Gillian Sheldrick (SheldrickG@gmail.com) or use the form below:

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The information you submit using this form will be passed direct to Gillian Sheldrick. For details of how she stores and uses your data, please contact her at SheldrickG@gmail.com. TASC will not receive any data submitted using this form.

How Gillian Sheldrick stores and uses your data

The following statement describes what personal data I store and how I seek to comply with the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR):

I only keep data on clients or potential clients (people who have attended or enquired about my courses). On my mailing list I record your forename, surname and email address (but not postal address), with details of when you enquired and how (eg in response to a posting on archives-nra), which of my courses you attended, and training requests or other information you have supplied (eg an offer to host a workshop or a request for a course in a specific location). I also retain email exchanges we have had and information you have supplied in relation to a course you are about to attend (eg your training priorities or prior experience). If you ask not to receive mailings I transfer your details to a separate ‘do not contact’ list, and I also keep a list of email addresses which have persistently ‘bounced’. When I send group emails, I send to all the addresses as ‘blind copy’. The only exception is immediately following each presentation of a workshop, when I share email addresses of participants at that specific presentation (unless they opt out) to enable them to remain in contact if they wish. Other than this, I never pass your details on to third parties.

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