Aliss Showcase

ALISS Disability History Month showcase November 22nd 2022
The surgeon’s box, or the patient’s wound”: from medical to disability history – Dr Philip Milnes-Smith and Nicola Lane.
When the institutional histories of hospitals are published, understandably it is the staff (and particularly ‘hero surgeons’) who get the limelight.  But in the case of an orthopaedic hospital, for example, that means overlooking disabled people to focus on non-disabled people – a switch that echoes the sense in which medical interventions were being made so that disabled people could ‘pass’ as non-disabled.  Patient images exist in the archive that were used to raise money, and as teaching aids, but patient views have not been collected as valuable in themselves.  By contrast the patient-led, National Lottery Heritage and Culture Recovery Fund supported, ‘Searching for the Grey Lady’ project at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital offers an alternative perspective.  In this presentation, Nicola Lane and the freelance archivist Philip Milnes-Smith share some of the stories emerged when they allowed for the possibility that disabled people matter.

The authors will be publishing an article in the next issue of ALISS quarterly in the meantime the [1] The project website is

The work of the Disabled Peoples Archive- Luke Beesley and Ella Clarke
website ‘

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‘The Disabled People’s Archive, based at Archives+ in Manchester Central Libraryis both the largest collection of and about disability politics in Britain, as well as the only collection of its kind managed by an activist group of disabled people – the Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People (GMCDP). The multimedia collection includes journals, posters, banners, audio recordings and artworks which, together, tell the story one of Britain’s most important and most forgotten social movements. The GMCDP archive team – comprising staff and activists working in a voluntary capacity – are committed to making this history accessible to disabled people and our allies

Wooing librarians to embrace WCAG 2.1- Laura Percival and Kip Darling, Birmingham City University
Birmingham City University’s Library Web Team has been working hard to refresh our LibGuides, to educate our guide editors and facilitate WCAG 2.1 compliance.

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We built and tested a training exercise based on Springshare’s ‘Accessibility for LibGuides’ session video, incorporating best practice guidelines to make the guides perceivable, operable, understandable and robust. A variety of accessibility tools were embedded in this training, including WAVE, Spectrum and tota11y, to fully equip editors for their upcoming responsibilities.

In this presentation, Laura Percival and Kip Darling from the Library Web Team will give an overview of the methods, challenges and impact of making our LibGuides accessible.

Disability Voices: stories of lived experience in the British Library

Madeline White, Curator of Oral History, British Library

2022 blog posting on disability oral histories during the pandemic.

Between November and December 2021, colleagues from across the British Library collaborated on a project to produce a blog series to celebrate UK Disability History Month (UKDHM). The four blogs showcased items from the Library’s collections that reflect or represent personal experience of disability. Curators selected and wrote blog posts about collection items which spoke to the themes of UKDHM and disability activism; a member of the British Library’s staff Disability and Carer Support Network added personal commentary to each of the blogs, reflecting on the contemporary relevance of these archived stories. A similar blog series is in preparation for UKDHM 2022.

This presentation will explore the collaborative process that underpinned the project as a model for showcasing underrepresented stories from the archive. It will look in particular at the process of searching for stories of lived experience in sound archives and the ways in which our systems and processes – including curation and cataloguing – can help or hinder the visibility of these stories in the archive. In doing so, it will discuss the importance of talking about and sharing lived experiences of disability and the role of librarians and archivists in that conversation.