Research scientists are often poorly represented in archive collections. We would like to get all scientists thinking more about preserving their records, beyond published output in journals, in order to help redress this imbalance.
The Human Genome Archive Project
The Human Genome Project (HGP) was a hugely ambitious international project to sequence the DNA in human cells. Sequencing the human genome was only possible thanks to techniques, equipment and computing systems that were developed over time. The project also owed some of its success to earlier work done on model organisms, such as the nematode C elegans (a microscopic worm).
Ensuring that the original papers relating to this historic achievement are preserved for future generations has been the aim of the Human Genome Archive Project (HGAP).
In January 2012 the Wellcome Library began work on the UK strand of the archive project, surveying the records of scientists and organisations in order to ensure that arrangements were put in place for their long-term preservation.
The UK archive project focused on the years 1977-2004: from the development of Sanger sequencing to the publication of the ‘gold standard’ human genome sequence. The survey work was completed in December 2013 and resulted in the addition of several new archives to the Library collections.
The second phase of the project, known as Collecting Genomics, is now underway. It was set up to build on the work of the HGAP by collecting materials identified in the survey, and to address areas of concern, such as the absence of record keeping systems in some scientific organisations.
We continue to collect new material in the field of genomics and are contacting relevant scientists, companies and scientific institutes about their records.
All of the collections that were deposited in the Wellcome Library as part of the HGAP are scheduled for cataloguing to make them available to researchers. Some, such as the John Sulston papers, are already catalogued and the Ian Dunham and Michael Ashburner papers are in the process of being catalogued. Check the Wellcome Library Blog for news about other genomics archives.
We have also provided archival advice to scientific institutions who are interested in preserving their own archives. We recently worked with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory to help them establish their own archive.
For more information about the Collecting Genomics project, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +44 (0)20 7611 8899 during Library opening hours.