You may have thought The National Archives was all about preserving documents and, while you’re absolutely correct, we also want to preserve the wildlife and habitat that we are all privileged enough to share during our working day.
Posts from February 2012
‘So, what is the human heart? Simply, it is a pump. And I thought, God Almighty, as long as this pump is working a human being feels, thinks, speaks, writes, loves his family, smiles, weeps, enjoys life, gets angry, gives friendship, wins friendship, prays, dreams, remembers, forgets, forgives, influences other people, is influenced by other people – lives. But when this pump stops – no more! What a wonder in the Cosmos is this frailty of the human body, without which the mind, too, becomes still, helpless or hapless.’
Menachem Begin, 4th August, 1980.
Greetings from Digital Preservation!
One of the challenges we face in our department is coordinating our efforts to satisfy the requirements of The National Archives, other government departments and a wider preservation and archives sector community that make use of our tools DROID and PRONOM. With such a diverse audience we work hard to listen to colleagues who visit government departments or who actively take part in discussions about preservation and digital continuity. We also maintain mailing lists and have an email address which allows users to contact us directly. This has allowed us to develop strong relationships with organisations across the pond in the US and in the antipodes. We rely on these relationships to help develop our content and improve our services.
I know we’ve only just met but I want you to do me a favour. I want you to lean over and pick up a sheet of paper. Done? Excellent! Now write something on it. Great! Now put it in a box, label it and put the box on the shelf for twenty to thirty years. As long as it hasn’t rained too much you should be able to pick up the box, take the paper out and still be able to read it. A little simplistic but you’ve just taken your first steps to managing and preserving the paper record. Congratulations.
As the blog has been pointing out, we have a wonderful assortment of treasures here at The National Archives. I thought I’d offer the chance to look at one through the eyes of those of us who work to preserve the collection.
A beautifully illuminated parchment diploma, SP 9/63 is one of 25 items receiving conservation treatment as part of the ‘Illuminated Safe Room Items’ project currently underway in the Collections Care Department. The project aims to stabilise and re-house these vulnerable and valuable records.
My newish job title is Programme Manager (Accreditation). Which makes it sound as though The National Archives has a programme called accreditation that’s merrily running along, and I’m just taking over the running. Not as such…
- The Rootstech 2012 T-shirt ‘Digital dude’
Files released by the Security Service (better known to you and me as MI5) are among the most popular records in our collection, especially with journalists. The arrival of new material at Kew gives the press office and our colleagues in the records knowledge team the chance to delve into the secret history of our nation; a world of double agents, Bond-style gadgets and wartime intrigue.