Knebworth Cottage Home (Copyright the Childrens Society ref 1540)
I wanted to bring you a flavour of what my colleagues in the Private Archives team do, because it really underlines the breadth of our work supporting the archives sector. Today’s blog is an interview with Philip Gale, Senior Adviser – Private Archives (Private and Institutional Owners). I thought you might enjoy hearing from Philip in his own words!
Philip has a particular focus at present on supporting the institutional archives of the voluntary sector, so I started by asking:
Q What is the value of institutional archives?
Colossus electronic digital computer, 1943 (Catalogue ref: FO 850/234)
I hope by now that you’re starting to get the idea that The National Archives is a bit of a dark horse when it comes to innovating in technology. We have, as far as I can tell, won more technology awards for more separate projects than anyone in the public sector except for the NHS, and we’re a little smaller. This culminated in a Queen’s Award for Enterprise and Innovation last year for our digital preservation technologies across all sectors and a public sector digital award for legislation.gov.uk. It doesn’t stop there – we also innovate in education, and the physical preservation of our collection, saving a lot of energy in the process.
So I thought it might be interesting to describe my view on our approach. I’ll look at technology, cost, and culture.
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.