Intro to Business Archives


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The slides for my talk to Glasgow University Archive Students about business archives.

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  • The records of Scottish businesses, business-related bodies and industrialists provide crucial commentary not only on Scotland’s economic, political and social development, but also on that of the UK and many countries around the world. Business Assets Records are a business asset. They contain information vital for business continuity and are necessary to meet both short and long-term legal obligations. They provide internal information relating to an organisation’s successes and failures which are used to inform the thinking of current business leaders. They can drive competitive advantage and support and inspire business and product development. They can also aid marketing and decision making as well as providing evidence for legal and brand protection. Cultural Assets Socially and culturally, business is inclusive; it drives and funds national and local economies, touching the lives of all citizens whether they are business employees or consumers. Business success and failure defines communities – economically and physically - and consequently the people of those communities. It is critical for social cohesion and cultural identity that the business legacy is neither forgotten, nor captured only in transient human memory.
  • The Ballast Trust has continued to take a lead role in the implementation of the National Strategy for Business Archives in Scotland throughout 2011/12. The first year of implementation has seen the strategy secure £3,000 of funding for a data mapping project, the creation of more case studies to inspire businesses and archives to make the most of their collections and over 1500 visits to our blog. Working on the strategy and its implementation continues to provide an excellent opportunity for the Ballast Trust to work with partner organisations, make a contribution to strategic thinking about how the business archives sector and places it in the best position to help preserve business archives. Information is available on: The strategy and its implementation. The benefits business archive collections can offer business and society. Case studies showing how business archives can be used as a business asset. Resources to help creators, custodians and users to manage and access business archive collections. The key collections in Scotland.
  • Intro to Business Archives

    1. 1. Business ArchivesKiara King, Ballast Trust ArchivistKiara King, Ballast Trust Archivist
    2. 2. An Introduction to BusinessArchives• What are business records and why do we keep them?• What types of records will we find? • Types of records & business • Legislation affecting business records• Using business records• Issues surrounding business records• Finding business records• The business archives sector• Resources
    3. 3. What are Business Archives?Business archives are the historical records of for profitbusinesses, business-related bodies and businessmen andwomen.Why are they important?As Scotland’s businesses and industries were and are crucial inshaping its economic and social development, so businessarchives naturally have a wider value to society. They can befound in most archive repositories.
    4. 4. Why businesses keep archives
    5. 5. Records and archives are a business toolThey provide:• Information value• Evidence and proof of business transactions• Support for legal requirements and to defend intellectual property• A work tool to managing resources and staff• Inspiration and documentation of product innovations• Confidence in a brand and customer loyalty By keeping archives, businesses capture today’s experience, knowledge and business know-how for future use.
    6. 6. Why we keep businesses archives
    7. 7. Summary of users of business archives Internal External • Legal Researchers • Marketing • Corporate histories • PR • Social histories • Corporate Social Responsibility • Economic histories • Design & production Family historians Local historians Press
    8. 8. Types of records found in business archives Corporate Records Production Records • Memoranda and Articles of • Technical plans Association • Models/prototypes • Minute books Employee Records • Share registers • Staff files • Letter books • Accident books Financial Records Marketing & Sales Records • Advertisements • Annual reports and accounts • Sales ledgers • Balance sheets • Account books • Ledgers
    9. 9. Types of business: Sole traders • Owned by an individual • Individual responsible for all finance / debts – Unlimited liability • Records: – Finance – Correspondence – Orders / production – Staff – Personal papers
    10. 10. Types of business: Partnerships • Two or more partners –“& Son”; “& Co” –Not “Ltd” • Partners are jointly responsible for finance/debts –Unlimited liability • Records –Partnership agreement –Finance –Correspondence –Production / sales –Client records
    11. 11. Types of business: Private Limited Companies (Ltd) • Limited liability • Board of Directors • Managing Director & Company Secretary • Shareholders – only liable for what they invest (i.e.: limited liability) • Act within terms of the Companies Acts • Statutory records • Registrar of Companies at Companies House:
    12. 12. Types of business: Public Limited Companies (PLC)• Created by Companies Act 1980• Limited liability • Chairman • Company Secretary • Directors • Shareholders – only liable for what they invest• Listed / quoted on the Stock Exchange• Registrar of Companies at Companies House:
    13. 13. Legislation: Companies Acts 19th century acts brought in requirements for Ltd companies to maintain records: • 1844: “full and fair” balance sheet and Board minutes (compulsory 1908) • 1856: Memorandum & Articles of Association • 1928: Profit & Loss Account to be presented at AGM and to Registrar 20th century sees more acts in 1948, 1967, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1985 • 1985 Act • Repealed all earlier acts • Regular returns to the Registrar • Regular information to shareholders • Certain records to be created and available for inspection: minutes, register of members • Dissolved companies, Registrar can transfer records to TNA / NRS
    14. 14. Legislation: Companies Acts• 2006 Companies Act came into force in 2009, largely superceding the 1985 Act• Changes to access to Register of Members• At least 1 shareholder must be a “natural person”• Allows e-communication to shareholders• AGMS not obligatory for Ltd companies• More details through:
    15. 15. Other Legislation • Range of other legislation and statutory regulation which affects business and the records it keeps: • Data Protection Act 1988 • FOI Act 2000, FOISA 2002 • EIR 2005 EISR 2005 • Sector-specific regulations, e.g. pharmaceutical companies
    16. 16. ACTIVITY What examples can you think of that demonstrate companies using their archives and heritage for a business purpose?
    17. 17. Case Study: Liberty “Brand heritage to me is the history of one’s identity. It is important to keep that history in mind, but not to be enslaved by it,” New York Times article from 2010 The business primarily uses the archives overseen by their Archivist, Anna Buruma as inspiration for its printed textile range, although sometimes its contents are mined for retail marketing campaigns too. And the wholesale fabric unit also calls on her to help clients who are ordering exclusive fabrics.
    18. 18. Case Study: LibertyArchive collections used for current products 19 collections listed on NRA
    19. 19. Case Study: Russell HobbsUse of heritage rather than archives? Russell Hobbs merged with spectrum in 2010,does that explain why their website doesn’t mention their history?
    20. 20. Case Study: CrombieExcellent example of heritage used for design and also on corporatewebsite held privately but listed on NRA
    21. 21. Barbour Example of company using archive details for new products. So there’s a reference to an archive (but no entry on NRA) and company has a heritage/history section on website
    22. 22. Diageo - brand passion and integrity With access to original source material, the Archive team can use their knowledge, passion and commitment to verify brand information and discover new brand truths giving sales and marketing teams a unique insight into the brand to support launches, celebrations and PR eventsNSBAS Case Study
    23. 23. Tennents - celebrating and marketing heritage“The Tennent’s archive is one of ourkey assets and hosts a wealth offacts, figures and memorabiliaspanning hundreds of years of thebrewery’s history.The archivists have beeninstrumental in providing us withongoing brand information tosupport our marketing &advertising,”- Mike Lees, Managing Director ofTennent’s Lager NSBAS Case Study
    24. 24. Capturing the Energy - future-proofing industry "The North Sea oil and gas industry represents one of the most remarkable success stories in the history of the UK. The technical achievements of the past 30 years are awesome and deserve to be remembered, celebrated and learned from.” - Brian Wilson, former energy minister and CtE patron. NSBAS Case Study about working with an industry today to capture its records and knowledge
    25. 25. UNESCO - Business archives of national importance “A unique resource for understanding this historic and controversial episode – vital to scholars but also of fundamental value more generally to the history and heritage of the Scottish nation.” - Professor T M Devine A case study from the national strategy that demonstrates sometimes business archive collections have a much wider societal value and are of national importance. This is the case for the Company of Scotland records held by RBS and NLS nls-unescos-uk.html
    26. 26. Other examplesAnniversary celebrations: –House of Fraser, Marks & Spencer –Opportunity to strengthen brandProduct development: –John Lewis, Boots induction: –Boots, HSBC more case studies: – – brands in the fashion industry and their archives –
    27. 27. Issues: Take-over, merger, de-merger, and growth• Sale / purchase of brands & subsidiaries • Acquisition and de-accession of records • Intellectual property rights• Change of corporate direction & diversification • Value of heritage assets• From local to national to international • Where is HQ? Users of business archives • Where do the records go? • How can the company make use of them? Article by the Archivist at Kraft on the use of heritage in post- acquisition integration
    28. 28. Issues: when companies go bust • Saving records – whose responsibility? • What to keep? • Technical records – require expertise to understand these records and so recognise their value. • Making them accessible to researchers. • Commercial sensitivity. • Intellectual Property Rights.
    29. 29. Issues for Business Archivists: TheBusiness Archivist• Where should the archives sit within the • Qualities needed company structure? –Influential• What is the role of the archive? –Communicative –Marketing –Flexible –Legal –Responsive –Dumping ground –Forward-thinking –A bit of everything –Innovative• Must link to corporate aims & objectives –Advocacy• May have to be more than an Archive Pdf of slides from HSBC archivist’s talk about expanding the archive service (good diagrams of staffing)
    30. 30. Activity Activity What are the challenges which can face archivists managing business archives? Split into 4 groups, each working on a different activity and report back
    31. 31. Where do we find business records? • Active business • In corporate headquarters • In out-of-town business premises • Attics/basement/cupboards • Collecting archive services • Universities • Local government • NRS (company & court records) • Museums • Trusts • Community and enthusiast groups
    32. 32. Finding business archives using NRA
    33. 33. NRA Search result
    34. 34. NRA Search Full Record
    35. 35. NRA Search by Business Sector
    36. 36. How do we protect & grow business archive collections? • National Initiatives & Strategies • Business Archives Council of Scotland • Local partnerships with repositories and businesses Eg The ‘Living Archive’ partnership between the University of Dundee and Canongate Publishers
    37. 37. Councils & Strategies • Business Archives Council • Business Archives Council of Scotland • National Strategy for Business Archives (England & Wales) 2009 sector/business-archives-strategy.htm • National Strategy for Business Archives (Scotland) 2010/11 • Raising awareness amongst business of the value of their records • Increasing the number of archives • Raising the profile of business records with the public • Raising standards in care
    38. 38. National Strategy for Business Archives in ScotlandAims to make business archives inScotland valued, representative ofeconomic activity and innovation andaccessible to all in order to ensurethe survival of the nation’s importantbusiness records and industrialheritage.Find out more
    39. 39. Useful resources for business archives • Turton (ed), Managing Business Archives (Oxford, 1991) • ARC – Archives & Records Association magazine. Business group issue – May up to 2008, September from 2009. • Scottish Business & Industrial History, journal of the BACS • Business Archives: Principles and Practice & Business Archives: Sources and History, journals of the BAC • Managing Business Archives website • Business Archives Scotland blog • Scottish Business Archive Strategy • Guardians of heritage NY Times articles
    40. 40. Business Archives on TwitterFinally it can be interesting to see how business archives and other archives promote themselves via twitter:• @ballasttrust = Understanding technical records since 1987! We work with business archives - processing records of shipbuilding, locomotive & engineering industries mainly.• @Design_Archives = Eighteen archives of British and international industrial and communication design at the Faculty of Arts University of Brighton• @the_abh = Tweets for the Association of Business Historians dont necessarily reflect the views of the council or membership. RTs = interesting not endorsement #bizhis• @POHeritage = P&O Heritage Collection exists to preserve and celebrate the maritime history and collections of one of the best known shipping companies in the world.• @CoopArchive = Co-operative Archive : Archive repository based in Manchester, UK for the records of the co-operative movement• @coke_archives = The Coke Archives Twitter feed updated by our Archivists. Ask us history, pop culture, or collectors questions• @RBS_Archives = History and heritage information from The Royal Bank of Scotland Groups Archives team. They also run @JohnoftheBank Tweets from John Campbell an18th century banker tweeting events of the 1745 Jacobite siege of Edinburgh in real time. Drawn from his diary.List of business archives on twitter here!/BallastTrust/business-archives