Australia's fourth oldest school, Pulteney Grammar, has a rich history to share through SchoolBench
Established in 1847, Pulteney Grammar School is the second oldest independent school in South Australia, and the fourth oldest in the nation.
At its original Pulteney Street address, 27 students were taught geometry, spelling, geography, mapping, accounting and fretwork from 1848. The initial intake expanded to more than 250 by Christmas of that year.
Whilst originally offering co-education, after the resignation of headmaster Reverend W.S. Moore and his wife Elizabeth, head of the girls' education, in 1884, the school became single-sex, teaching boys only. Pulteney was revitalised in 1999, when it again opened its doors to female students, and the coeducational experience continues to strengthen the experience offered to all students at the school.
The School is justifiably proud of its long and esteemed history and traditions, in 2018 it is a future-focussed school that offers its approximately 900 students (ELC through to Year 12) a dynamic, inclusive and forward-thinking education that uses every opportunity to leverage all that its Adelaide CBD location provides.
SchoolBench Supporting Archivists
With more than 170 years of history, Pulteney's Archives understandably contain a considerable amount of photographic history, collateral, data and historical documents, which are managed by the School's Archivist, Sam Cooper.
Ms Cooper explains that her role is to manage and make findable non-active records, "so everything beyond day-to-day running of the School".
"This can range from governance items, such as finance and administration documents, to items donated to the school by past students," said Ms Cooper.
"It covers objects as diverse as trophies and uniforms, as well as documents and images, both in print or digital.
"Before SchoolBench, material would come to me to be accessioned – a form is completed, the item is stored, described and boxed with a number. An ongoing concern has been deciding what we need to keep and what we don't. The process is very paper-based and looks old school in its approach."
In speaking to Sam about the challenges in her role, she explained; "My biggest challenge is keeping on top of the diverse and incomplete nature of the material we receive."
"Often, requests are difficult to field – they come as "do you have pictures of 1960", and this is then followed by much to-ing and fro-ing trying to understand the purpose of the query and the kind of results that are expected."
SchoolBench was installed at Pulteney Grammar in February 2018, to support the School in securing and electronically storing their extensive and rich history captured in audio, video and pictorial files. This extends to both Pulteney's Community Relations team and Archives, where Ms Cooper works.
Ms Cooper went on to say, "while photographs are a small part of our entire collection, they are the most frequently requested and used."
"Pleasingly, SchoolBench helps make Archives part of the school, as opposed to being a separate entity. Through its security and its central storage, SchoolBench has made self-service possible, which is a huge time saver for me, as I could spend up to 70% of my time fulfilling requests."
"Prior to SchoolBench, after the image was scanned, we had to generate a thumbnail and load it into the database, with each step being very manual. With SchoolBench, it's just dragging and dropping. It extracts the information and puts it in the right places, and it even creates the thumbnail as well – I just uploaded 500 images yesterday, and it took no time," said Ms Cooper.