This is Explore Your Archives week and today we have a fantastic occasion to celebrate. At the most recent Archive Service Accreditation Panel, 18 new archive services were confirmed as achieving accredited status. We have now reached a major milestone for the programme, with over 100 Accredited Archive Services across the UK.
Since Cumbria Archive Service became the first ever Accredited Archive Service in 2013, a huge range of archive services have achieved accreditation – based in local authorities, healthcare bodies, universities, museums, businesses and professional organisations, as well as national institutions.
Looking at every tenth Accredited Archive Service gives an idea of the sheer variety of organisations involved:
- 10th Unilever Archives and Records Management
- 20th Lothian Health Services Archive
- 30th Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
- 40th Wolverhampton City Archives
- 50th West Glamorgan Archive Service
- 60th Imperial War Museums
- 70th Devon Archives and Local Studies
- 80th Oxfordshire Health Archives
- 90th Bank of England Archive
Our 100th Accredited Archive Service is the National Theatre Archive – congratulations to every single one of those who have pioneered the new standard and received the award.
Archive Service Accreditation is a developmental standard, supporting improvement and forward planning to ensure the long term acquisition, preservation and accessibility of archive collections. Working towards accreditation provides the opportunity to strengthen archive services and ensure their work is well-organised and understood within their parent organisation. Achieving the award is a moment for celebration and we’ve been delighted to be involved in many celebratory events over the years – presenting certificates, unveiling plaques and, of course, sharing celebratory cake!
Five years on, it is time to take stock of the programme and this work is well underway, helped by archives services which been through the process. Although we don’t foresee any major changes to the programme, we want to reflect and respond to feedback and reduce barriers to application.
It is also a chance for us to assess accreditation for the management of born digital records, – a critical issue for archives and their future.. We have been working with the Digital Preservation Coalition and others across the archive sector to find the best solutions. This will include using the NDSA Levels of Preservation to explore the management of key risks to digital preservation, and a number of amended questions surrounding collections development, collections information and the resourcing of digital preservation – funding and staff skills. Nine archive services worked with us to pilot these revisions during the past year and we have since published an updated application form for information.
Revised guidance and the online application form are also being reviewed and will be published shortly.
This is an exciting moment for Accreditation. It is because we #lovearchives that we want them to reach high standards and be supported in their future growth.