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The Need for and Needs of Archives. Guide to the archives and documentation of the member parties of the European Free Alliance (EFA)

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Lecture at the General Assembly of the European Free Alliance (EFA), 24 March 2012 (Leeuwarden)

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The Need for and Needs of Archives. Guide to the archives and documentation of the member parties of the European Free Alliance (EFA)

  1. 1. The Need for and Needs of Archives Guide to the archives and documentation of the member parties of the European Free Alliance (EFA)
  2. 2. The Need for and Needs of Archives 1. The outline of the project
  3. 3. Basic question What is the situation of the historical and archival awareness amongst the political parties assembled in the European Free Alliance (EFA)?
  4. 4. Goal Mapping the archives of EFA’s member parties to plan future support where it is needed, develop recommendations and facilitate (historical) research
  5. 5. Setup •initiated by CMC (Centre Maurtis Coppieters) •carried out by NISE (National movements and Intermediary Structures in Europe)
  6. 6. NISE? •international historiographical, heuristic and archival platform •facilitate scientific historiography of national movements (e.g. guidance towards source material) •coordinated by the ADVN - archives and research centre in Antwerp (Flanders, BE) •more info: http://www.nise.eu
  7. 7. Timeline •2009: preliminary study, setting out the framework •2010: carrying out survey •2010-2011: additional interviews and visits •2011: final data processing •2012: presentation of results: database, online manual, publication
  8. 8. Why do we need archives anyway? •legal function: a.o. support and guarantee the rights and obligations of governments and citizens •administrative function: good governance •historical value: influence the contents and orientation of personal and collective memory, thus the formation of a national identity •policy supporting: legimitation of policy and decision making
  9. 9. What are archives then? •“materials created or received by a person, family, or organization, public or private, in the conduct of their affairs […]” •parties: letters, policy papers, meeting reports, financial administration, party publications, campaign material, audiovisual materials (photos, films etc) and all digital born or digitised materials
  10. 10. The Need for and Needs of Archives 2. The survey
  11. 11. Yes, another survey… •few (European) examples of surveys on the archives of political parties •most were very unsuccesful with very limited response (statistically worthless) •rather succesful among socialist and social democrat parties. Due to higher historical/archival awareness?
  12. 12. Three kinds of data •Archival data: are there archives, what is their background and what do they contain •Archival context: who created those archives, e.g. information about the political parties/organizations •Archival holders: who keeps those archives and how are they being kept
  13. 13. Selection of respondents •EFA (2010): 33 full member parties •added with prospective members and observers •a limited control group of non-member parties, although part of national or regional movement •total of 46 possible cases
  14. 14. Four steps 1.Questionnaire by e-mail (2010): 25% returned at least a minimal completed form; 2.Interviews at EFA GA in Venice (March 2010): 56% of member party representatives contacted; 3.Visits at selected party archives (2010-2011): 5 in 2010, added with 11 extra visits in 2011; 4.Additional research (2011).
  15. 15. Problems •By the end of 2010: only 30% sufficient data •Causes: - general low return on surveys - language problem (despite use of 5 languages) - unfamiliar with archival matters - incomprehension / suspicion regarding project
  16. 16. Data processing •During 2011 at the ADVN, Antwerp •Translated, checked and systemised •Database input using international standards of the International Council on Archives (ICA): - Archives: ISAD(G) - Context (parties): ISAAR(CPF) - Archival holders: ISDIAH
  17. 17. The Need for and Needs of Archives 3. The results
  18. 18. Database http://gta.nise.eu
  19. 19. Statistics: where are the archives kept
  20. 20. Statistics: where are the archives kept
  21. 21. Statistics: where are the archives kept
  22. 22. Statistics: how are the archives kept
  23. 23. Statistics: how are the archives kept
  24. 24. Statistics: how are the archives kept
  25. 25. Statistics: what is kept in the archives
  26. 26. Statistics: how the archives are disclosed
  27. 27. Statistics: how accessible the archives are
  28. 28. Statistics: how accessible the archives are
  29. 29. Conclusions (1/2): •amazing and even surprising amount of historical valuable materials •huge difference whether party archives are kept at an institution or not •party archives are often underresourced •archival care is not according to common standards, methods and procedures
  30. 30. Conclusions (2/2): •the retrieval of documents often depends on the knowledge of the archives responsable •the level of access lacks consistency •digitisation, if applicable, lacks a methodical approach •all archives lack an international dimension
  31. 31. The Need for and Needs of Archives 4. Recommendations
  32. 32. Manual •an online resource with practical guidelines bundled in 6 main themes: context, appraisal, arrangement, preservation, digitisation and access •part of NISE Expertise and Information Centre (wiki) •http://eic.nise.eu •work-in-progress: constantly updated and added to
  33. 33. Flying Archivist •follow-up project initiated by CMC and NISE •assist with the most urgent and basic needs and consult on archival care by offering archival service on a temporary basis (5 days) •selection of 3 cases: application process from March 26th until April 16th •more info: http://www.nise.eu
  34. 34. The Need for and Needs of Archives Thank you for your cooperation with this project and attention during this presentation
  35. 35. Further information •General report: http://www.nise.eu and NISE Proceedings, nr. 2 (summer 2012) •Database: http: //gta.nise.eu •Manual: http://eic.nise.eu •Contact: tom.cobbaert@nise.eu or luc.boeva@nise.eu

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