Current Situation - Year End 2020
Whilst BNYA has been operating now for several years, its work has focussed on developing the underlying database and tools to manage what is potentially a huge data set and to populate it with information that can be readily researched in order to test everything. The database now includes some 32,000 boats 4,500 organisations, 18,000 references, 105,000 images as well as extensive classification data and cross-indexing and this provides a structure for moving forward. Whereas there is still much more that can be done, some of which will be determined by experience, the main aim of BNYA is to identify unknown sources of information and we are now entering a new phase of activity to do just that.
The key issues in the current plan include:
- On-Line Access: while it would be great to make the information available on-line, the reality is that with a combination of copyrighted and non-copyrighted material the task of ensuring its publishability is greater than that of collecting the data in the first place. So while our resources are limited we are focussing on data capture and offer it as a research facility for users. Do contact us with any queries and we'll endeavour to help. Much of the information is still dilute but can now be expanded as more is discovered and we can help with research approaches.
- Who's got what: it is anticipated that much material is in private hands or with organisations that have needed to do their own research and 'invisible' to interested individuals. We are campaigning to unearth such sources and will be contacting as many individuals as we have been able to find to ask if they are aware of any material - you may have been contacted in connection with this already. In particular, we are aware that as time passes early material 'disappears' and we hope that people can network amongst older relatives/ancestors, long-standing members of their yacht/sailing clubs and local businesses before it is lost for good.
- What have they got: Most small collections of material are not stored in any structured way. We need volunteers who can pick through it to list the contents and develop detailed descriptions, maybe in conjunction with the owner, and maybe code it up for cross-indexing in the database. This is not usually difficult and training/learning materials can be provided. If you would like to volunteer or are in contact with people who possess such material, please get in touch with us.
- How can you help: if you, your ancestors, your organisation, etc. have any documents, photos, etc. that should be included, then these notes for contributors will help you and us work out a way forward.
- Access to material: it is understood that unless owners of material have a personal interest in yachting history, they may not relish researchers wanting to view their stuff. We expect to scan or photograph material so that it can be accessed electronically. This may be undertaken at source with portable facilities, or it may be necessary to borrow the material, process it back at the office and then return it.
- Oral histories: not many sailors have written down their memoirs, but will happily 'yarn' and such conversations can be captured and transcribed. A formal oral history project requires some preparation but it's usually more important that the interviewer builds a relationship with the interviewee and can be undertaken by family members or colleagues. Again, if you are aware of individuals who could contribute, please get it touch with us. We have some 'studio' quality recording facilities, but need to invest in more portable equipment that can be borrowed by volunteers.
- Scanning capacity: since BNYA is essentially a 'virtual archive' digitisation is key. This enables collections of material to remain intact and with the owner whilst offering access to researchers. A range of equipment is needed to do this satisfactorily and we are currently campaigning to raise funds to increase our capacity.
- Coordination: sailing is an activity that goes on all over the country (and internationally with a UK interest) and it would facilitate 'spreading the word' and organising workloads if people around the country would act as a local coordinator. If you would like to take on such a role, please get in touch.
- Volunteering: BNYA at present needs to rely on interested individuals to help. While these are currently necessarily volunteers, we will aim to cover out of pocket expenses where possible and if required.
- Funding: BNYA is currently constrained in what it can achieve while it builds up resources - equipment and cash. Our funding comes primarily from membership, so please look at the membership page. We have also joined an initiative to receive commission on purchases that you make - see details at Give as you Live
Getting in touch: several requests have been made above to get back to us - in the first instance, please contact and we'll take it from there.