Not a dilettante, but a professional: A short history of the archival profession and the professional association in the Netherlands in the 19th and 20th century
The (Royal) Society of Archivists was founded in Haarlem in 1891. The founders had a clear intention to unite archivists and to develop the archival profession and archival institutions. There was a social component, but the main focus was to discuss professional questions, develop new methods and improve the organization of the archival domain. By 1919 the main goals – the Manual (1898), the Archives Law (1918) and the Archives School (1919) – had been reached. The archival profession now truly existed. What has happened since then? How has the profession developed? What did Dutch archivists think the future of their profession would look like? Did they see a future for archivists? In seven-league boots we skip through history.
Giving access to modern records and other archival material often means to balance two fundamental rights: the right of information, which in most of the western countries is of constitutional rank and includes the right of access to (public) archives, and the right of information privacy. Access to archives became an important civil right and crucial precondition of transparency. Within the framework of freedom of information archives guarantee the confirmability of governmental and administrational activities. On the other hand, privacy and the right of informational self-determination are the hard-fought result of the civil rights movement and doubtless the core of civil liberty. To balance these sometimes conflicting rights is a serious challenge for archives and archivists. This conflict causes difficulties not just in the context of giving access to individual-related records in archival reading rooms. Personal data has to be considered and respected also in the field of digitization as well as in the area of archival description and dissemination of archival metadata via internet. Some practical examples from the Bundesarchiv will show the increasing importance of individual rights in daily archival work and the archivists need to be aware of that.
Records Hiding in Broad Daylight: Problems of Accountability & Access Posed By The Digital Public Archives of the Future
Beginning in 2019, the Archivist of the U.S. will only accept public records created after that date in digital or electronic form for purposes of future accessioning as permanent records. What does this policy mandate foretell in terms of the citizenry’s right of access to public records of future presidencies and administrations? How can archivists cope with being gatekeepers to vast collections of e-mail and other forms of electronic records that are not easily searchable? And does the use of new algorithmic methods for finding responsive digital objects raise issues of accountability that archivists need to address? This paper argues that archivists will necessarily need to embrace new strategies for providing access to the vast, dark digital collections comprising the public archives of the future.
'Dead on Arrival'? Impartiality as a Measure of Archival Professionalism in the Twenty-first Century
This paper will argue that the exhortation to impartiality that is embedded in the Code of Ethics adopted by the ICA General Assembly in September 1996 was not merely retrogressive but actually dead on arrival. The code specifies impartiality as being necessary to ensure the ongoing reliability of evidence in archivists' trust as well as to avoid potential conflicts of interest or partisanship that might negatively affect the "general interest". In this it reflects not only earlier positivist constructions that shaped modern archival ideas and practices and evidentiary concerns, but also naïve techno-deterministic notions that digital techniques could somehow make managing records more value-neutral by “removing” the human element. Prominent archival thinkers, influenced by intellectual currents in the social sciences, history, literature andother fields had already begun to press the field on the impossibility of neutrality and objectivity in a profession that manages records that are integral to fundamentally inequitable systems and processes, and that itself exercises so much power over the selection, description and transmission of those records to future generations. Since the Code's adoption, however, several additional factors: growing numbers of archivists working with tribunals and commissions investigating human rights abuses and war crimes, the burgeoning community archives movement, and the archival turn toward social justice have increasingly challenged neutrality as indifference and passivity as inaction in the face of moral exigencies and injustices in which they see recordkeeping to be collusive. The paper will further argue, therefore, that in the 21st century, reflexivity is as important as transparency as a measure of archival professionalism. To make sound judgments about how and when to engage as well as to analyze and address the algorithmic biases inherent in the systems they increasingly rely upon, archivists must be prepared through rigorous, critically-based education and supported with an ongoing research culture.
The extent to which Archives can be trusted depends to a large extent on the authenticity of the records that it holds. Authenticity is generally taken to mean the certainty that the record is precisely what it purports to be; i.e. its provenance is well understood and the authority or competence of the creator is reliably known. Authenticity is closely related to other attributes such as integrity and context to establish the trustworthiness of records and Archives. The ICA code of ethics obliges archivists to “protect the authenticity of documents during archival processing, preservation and use”. But when we imagine a trusted Archive in the digital age, this commitment alone will not be enough to guarantee true authenticity. Preserving authenticity in the digital era will require the intervention of Archivists in every stage of the record’s life – from the moment of creation until its disposal through destruction or permanent preservation. This seems impossible when the creating agencies are well beyond the reach of the Archival institution that will eventually be given custody of the records, however there are steps that can be taken - indeed must be taken - if Archivists are to assume responsibility for the adequate preservation of documentary heritage as memory and evidence. This presentation will explore the specific challenges of preserving authenticity in the digital environment and step through strategies that might be employed to influence the processes and systems that create and maintain the records prior to eventual transfer to Archival institutions. Speaking from the perspective of the National Archives of Australia, Mr. Fricker will focus on the role of Government Archives to ensure that the right policy and legislative framework is in place to foster the creation of authentic, reliable and complete Archival resources for the future.
In the nineteen-nineties a controversial debate about selection and appraisal divided the community of German archivist into two opposing parties. The positive result of the discussion was as a common understanding of the aims, methods and instruments which has been developed during the last fifteen years. This framework which is based on the values of the ICA Code of Ethics is internalized by most of the colleagues. To which extend is this framework still suitable today in relation to born digitals, hybrid records and mixed registries containing analogue and digital components? What is the state of art concerning the discussion about that in Germany? In the last years more and more digital archives have been established in Germany. Various networks were founded as a basis of cooperation and partnership in the field of archival processing of born digital material. Which problems do the German archivists currently have in their day-to-day work? Which kinds of digital objects ranging from records, single files and data bases to audiovisual material, websites and social media are treated by German archivists? To what extend do the current models for selection and appraisal cover digital borns, too? Did we see new concepts and routines evolving in the last years? Is there a need to revise traditional values or the Code of Ethics on the whole? The presentation tries to give some answers to these questions. Mainly based on experiences of the State Archives of Baden-Württemberg it will take a look at the current situation and the perspectives to be pursued.
“I can’t tell anyone,
So I tell everyone…”
State security records and personal data protection in HungaryThe Code of Ethics of the ICA put great emphasis on the integrity, authenticity and accessibility of the records kept by the archives, and also highlighted the importance of the protection of personal data in those documents. These core values have to be considered real by the archivist when handling digital form records, but they need to apply new techniques to fulfill the classic archival requirements. In my presentation I would like to show some challenges of handling the records of the state security services existed between 1944 and 1990 in Hungary. Among these challenges I would like to point out the problems of protection of sensible personal data of the persons concerned, the accessibility of millions of digitized pages and the electronic data processing methods of textual records. Finally I will report on the development of processing and handling of magnetic tapes containing original electronic databases of the former state security services. This research project actually is in progress currently in Hungary so probably I will present the latest results and failures in this field of our archival work. These problems clearly show some of the most current challenges the archivists have to face in connection with keeping and processing born-digital or digitized paper-form records today and in the future
Bij een jubileumcongres hoort natuurlijk een swingend feest! En dat in de Janskerk, de oudste kerk van Haarlem en tevens het publiekscentrum van het Noord-Hollands Archief. Om een beetje in de stemming te komen, trapt het cabareteske Maat6 de avond af. Dit mannenensemble uit de regio Haarlem brengt a capella muziek op originele, uitbundige en aanstekelijke wijze. Daarna is het tijd voor de hip-shakin’ tunes van de altijd vrolijke DJ Charlie. Ze is een echte singles freak en heeft de beste dansnummers op vinyl. Van rythm and blues, tot soul en rock ’n roll. Er is voor ieder wat wils!
A jubilee conference is not complete without a festive dance party!
This will take place at St John’s Church – Haarlem’s oldest church, where the
Noord-Hollands Archief ’s visitors centre is located. To get the mood going,
Maat6, an all-male vocal ensemble from the Haarlem area, will kick off the
evening. These men perform a cappella music in an original, spirited and
They will be followed by the hip-shakin’ tunes of the ever-cheerful DJ Charlie
who will cheer up the jubilee conference with the greatest hits of all time.
She is a true singles freak and has the best dance songs on vinyl. From rhythm
and blues to soul and rock ’n roll – there will be something for everyone!
The protection of the integrity of records can sometimes be taken for granted by archivists. It is easy to forget that archivists’ custody and care of records does not automatically protect the integrity of records. There are some extreme examples, such as fully incomplete records, records that have been altered irregularly, and archivists who were accused of intentionally manipulating records. Even though these situations probably don’t occur very often in most European countries, it is clear that the objectivity and impartiality of archivists will always be of the utmost importance, especially in the context of promoting the accessibility of records.
The ICA Code of Ethics reminds archivists that their primary duty is to maintain the integrity of the records. Society may ask archivists to make records more available and accessible through digitization projects and other means, which is indeed an extremely important task for the archival community in today’s global information society. However, increased accessibility does not make the protection of the integrity of records any less necessary. What does the protection of the integrity of records mean in today’s digital global information society? This paper will discuss the difficult balance between the accessibility of records and the integrity of records, and will look at some examples.
Media Management bij Beeld en Geluid - Op weg naar een volledig geautomatiseerd ingestproces op basis van relatiemanagement.
Bij het Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid is in tien jaar tijd de instroom van audiovisueel materiaal en bijbehorende metadata van analoog naar digitaal gekanteld. Er stromen jaarlijks 60.000 uren digitale video en audio volledig automatisch in. Beeld en Geluid geeft vorm aan de overgang van analoog naar digitaal via Media Management.
Media Management is een methode voor ingest- en access-processen waarbij wordt gestuurd op goede aanlevering van metadata uit bronsystemen van depotgevers. Doel is niet langer reactief, handmatig te archiveren, maar om de metadatakwaliteit proactief te verbeteren. Het beheersen van een goede relatie met depotgevers is de kern van deze methode. Daarnaast spelen ook automatische en tijdcode-gebaseerde annotatietechnieken een belangrijke rol bij het aanvullen van de lacunes vanuit de bronsystemen. Denk daarbij aan automatische toekenning van thesaurustermen met behulp van ondertitels en audio- en videoanalyse.De komende jaren tillen we Media Management naar een hoger plan door de diverse initiatieven en projecten thematisch te bundelen en in samenhang op te pakken. Met depotgevers is vast relatiemanagement opgezet. De controle op ingest van files en metadata is geautomatiseerd. Ook worden automatische metadateringstechnieken continu geoptimaliseerd.
In dit uur gaat Beeld en Geluid in deelpresentaties dieper in op veranderingen die de komende jaren vormgegeven worden via Media Management:
Veranderende rollen en competenties van informatieprofessionals bij Beeld en Geluid.
Relatiemanagement, vormgeving van de relatie met de depotgevers i.c. publieke omroepen.
Verschillende typen metadata - case study over hoe automatisch verkregen metadata en metadata uit de productieomgeving elkaar kunnen versterken.