Joan was initially a primary school teacher who as a mature student took a degree in Scottish history and moved into archive work, including the important surveys of records belonging to the Duke of Atholl and the Earls of Strathmore and Mansfield.

She worked at Dundee University from 1976 and through her tireless energy, optimism and commitment created the University archives and the Library’s archive collection more or less from scratch. These collections are now considered of national and international importance. She also helped organise the University’s large fine art collection, mounting many exhibitions there, and was active in the setting up of the Conservation Unit.

In 1996, in tribute to Joan’s life, an important set of books on labour history was anonymously donated to the University archives; the Joan Auld Memorial Collection was opened by Professor TC Smout, HM Historiographer Royal for Scotland. Joan was a warm, sociable person who loved good company, parties, music and Scottish country dancing and who especially enjoyed hill-walking with the Grampian Club, driving to events in her much loved, much welded VW camper.

She died in a climbing accident in the Canadian Rockies. Her life was celebrated in a party at Bonar Hall, Dundee, organised by her husband Jim and many friends, where over 100 people attended, paid tribute to her life and work, saw a range of exhibitions, and danced.