If you’re a regular follower of this blog you will have gathered that we are obsessed with records. Whether finding, caring for, managing or coming up with exciting ways to use the information they hold, we live and breathe archives.
This passion extends across the country. We are lucky to have a network of archives looked after by people who work hard to preserve the records in their care, and make them accessible to everyone who needs them. Where there are archives in businesses, charities, country houses, universities, local authorities and many more, there are people who are fascinated by records. At The National Archives, our aim is to support this network of archives to be the best they possibly can.
In April, my colleague Melinda talked about our developing role as archives sector leader for England, and how we would continue to support archives and their funders to demonstrate the valuable contribution they make to society.
With this in mind, we’ve recently updated our action plan for archives, which helps archives providers use the resources they have to strengthen and develop their services within the current challenging economic climate. The action plan builds on the government strategy for archives, Archives for the 21st Century and sets out The National Archives commitments to archives over the next three years, but also asks the archives sector to think about ways in which they can work, with the resources they already have, to build innovative, sustainable services.
The overall message is clear. By working together, forming partnerships and collaborating on projects, we can create an archival network that is stronger than the sum of its parts. You can see some great examples of current projects bringing the sector together on our website.
Archives are an immensely valuable resource with a range of uses as diverse as the people who use them. There are those with an interest in the wealth of historical or family information within records. There are academics, who cover every variety of discipline imaginable from climatology and ethnography to linguistics and politics. There are businesses and organisations who need historical or current records to function efficiently, or to ensure they operate transparently. And of course, there’s the small matter of the human race – we need our records to make sure we learn from our past and aren’t doomed to endlessly repeating our mistakes.
So, you see, archives are kind of important, and we would really love them to be around for many generations to come.