ICA New Professionals newsletter no 2 - March/April 2016
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Welcome to the 2nd issue of the International Council on Archives (ICA) New Professionals newsletter

We aim to build an international new professionals community by sharing experiences. This month we hear from Nami Won who shares her experiences of South Korea, Japan and Europe. This is timely as an emblem has been released for the 2016 ICA Congress in Seoul - if you look closely it's made up of 1s and 0s representing digital records.

Finally, we know not everyone uses Facebook so to make sure you don't miss out we will share some popular posts from our Facebook page.

We need you!
<<First Name>>, have you got something to share with the ICA New Professionals community? It could be something you've worked on like a new project or exhibition, or something you want to share about archives and records in your country.
Get in touch with us at

What I am looking for on the street

I am Nami Won, a Ph.D. candidate studying archival science at the Graduate Course of Gakushuin University in Tokyo, Japan. I am from South Korea. I came to Japan because I wanted to research the establishment and management of local archives, including its system.

I often get embarrassed when I have to explain what I do and what my research is about, when I introduce myself to someone whom I meet for the first time. It is because I have to answer those difficult questions: what archives is, what records management issues are, what a definition of archives is, and what archivists do. (I believe the readers of this newsletter know the meaning of the word, “archive”.) Even if I succeed to explain what it is, people continue to ask me why I study archives and records management, where I can work, how I can get a job, and so on. I guess that most people imagine archives is something like an office with dirty and old documents, a library with worn books, or a museum with rolls of torn papers. This happens a lot whether I am in my country or abroad.

Whether because of that, when I visit archives I have never been before for the first time, I always look for the word “archives” on a city map or on street signs only to know if it actually appears on any of them. During the last 6 years I have regularly worked for two-weeks volunteering on archival arrangement and description at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) headquarters in Geneva. After the activities, I took a short flight from Switzerland to neighboring countries in order to undertake some research visits to the municipal/local archives. On such occasions I got some information from maps and signs in almost all the cities I visited such as London, Bedford, Dorset, York, Paris, Berlin and Barcelona. I felt happy when the word “archives” presented on the maps and information boards maybe because I think that this shows how much archives is recognized as an important agency by citizens, which is different from both Japan or South Korea. What do you think about it?
Nevertheless, I think that archives are known and used by more people in Europe and North America, compared to Japan or South Korea. According to my own experiences I saw many visitors and researchers in the reading room of the state and municipal archives as well as in the national archives in many countries. The city maps and direction signs also tell me that archives are popular spots for ordinary people.

Currently there are no local archives in South Korea. But Seoul, the capital of South Korea is in the course of building up its archives and some metropolitan cities are making plans to build their own archives. In the case of Japan, there are already 70 local archives currently operating since 1959, but they are not enough because there exist more than 1,700 metropolitans and municipalities. It might be true that people are much less aware of archives compared to libraries and museums, both domestically and overseas, but I shall keep looking for the signs, showing the way to archives, hoping some days there will be more archives signs. And I will stop saying “Sightseeing” at immigration but tell the officers “I am going to the archives in this city for my research”!

If there is someone who can give me some advice on how to explain what archives is more easily to someone who do not know archives at all, please let me know and let me share your experience. I welcome all of you the readers to give me any comments on this point. My contact is
International Archives Day - 9th June 2016
Are you feeling inspired by Nami's article? Are you thinking about how might you explain your work, celebrate what you do and communicate about archives? 

Help is near as the ICA is organising an international event for archivists and record managers in June 2016 under the theme “Archives, Harmony and Friendship”. Look out for more information coming soon.

Facebook features

We are trying something a bit different in this issue - featuring our top Facebook posts. Let us know if you like it!
What an enormous project in Mexico! Digitising the WHOLE archive - is anything like this happening in your countries?
Linked to the news story La UNAM digitalizó todo su archivo y ahora es accesible al público
Is digital the answer to everything? Or should we go back to paper? 
Linked to the news story Why is the UK still printing its laws on vellum?

Good to Know: Internet Archive's malware museum takes you back to the days of cheeky viruses. The Internet Archive is creating a repository of the darker aspects of computer culture: malware.

Linked to the news story Internet Archive's malware museum takes you back to the days of cheeky viruses

Get Involved: The Commission on Spanish Standards of Archival Description (CNEDA) has finished the draft of the Third Part: Attributes of the Spanish Conceptual Model of Archival Description. This draft is now available for public review and comments before April 20, 2016.

Linked to the CNEDA's website 
Good to Know: The Persistence of Preservation: Most of us don’t equate preservation with human rights 
Linked to the news story The Persistence of Preservation
Thanks for reading, look our for our next issue in May!
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