ICA New Professionals newsletter no 6 - March 2017
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Welcome to the March edition of the ICA New Professionals Newsletter all about advocacy and outreach.

This month's newsletter features stories and advice from new professionals who have created, managed, or been a part of advocacy or outreach projects. It is an ever-increasing and important part of the work we do, whether we are trying to raise the profile of our archives or records management work within our own organisations, or hoping to inspire the public, students, or future generations of archives and records management professionals to get involved. 

Advocacy and outreach work can be diverse, inspiring, challenging and fun, 
helping to open up archives to more people whilst also raising awareness of the work we do and the collections we hold. Included further down are details about this year's International Archives Day. So what are you waiting for, get inspired and get involved!

Scroll down or click below to read about:

A Spanish version of this newsletter is also available!
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Past editions of the newsletter are available to view on the ICA website and online.

Wild about archives: engaging user communities with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust archive

In April 2016, the Borthwick Institute at the University of York began a year-long project, funded by the National Cataloguing Grants Scheme, to catalogue and promote the archive of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. As the Project Archivist, my job is to make the finished catalogue available through the Institute’s iteration of Access to Memory (AtoM), the open-source interface developed by the ICA and Artefactual Systems, and to work with varied user communities to promote the archive.
The archive of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is an internationally important body of environmental data made up of individual records of specific sites of ecological or geological significance in Yorkshire, covering some of the most varied habitats in the UK. Fundamental to its value is its longevity - the archive contains over 70 years of biological recording, much of it generated by skilled amateur recorders alongside professional scientists. 
Photograph of archives showing environmental data from Askham Bog, 1933.
Environmental data from Askham Bog, 1933. (BIA/YWT/5/1/2/4/1).
As a newly qualified professional with an interest in opening up access to archives, I was excited to have the opportunity to design workshops to engage with different user communities and to explore how records of very specific sites, some less than one acre in size, can come together to have even greater value as part of large archive. For me, trying to involve user groups from different areas of interest was crucial to both engaging communities with the archive and to my understanding of the value of the records to the communities that generated them.

Working with the York branch of the Stockholm Environment Institute, I designed a workshop on using archives as sources for environmental history for volunteers working with the Dearne Valley Landscape Partnership “Discover Dearne” project. The project is a Heritage Lottery Funded community project designed to protect, preserve and enhance local wildlife sites in South Yorkshire. The volunteers attended a talk, a tour of the Borthwick Institute and then took part in a hands-on session working through a wide range of archival material relating to environmental history in their local area. Feedback from the event suggested that, having previously felt that archives were ‘exclusive’, attendees felt that they would be more open to visiting an archive for future research and that the material being made accessible both physically and through a catalogue with a global outlook was invaluable.
Photograph of group exploring a variety of records to understand changes in the natural environment.
Exploring a variety of records to understand changes in the natural environment.
For me, the workshops provided an invaluable insight into the personal connection users feel with the records of their local area. It provided a forum for discussion between me as the archivist and the experienced naturalists who create these unique records, much of which focussed on whether these inherently local records were of more value held in the community to which they relate or centrally held and made accessible to a wider audience. They highlighted the symbiosis between the locally generated individual record and the wider corpus of material making up the archive. Perhaps naively, I thought I was advocating the use of archives to them and, while I think I did, they simultaneously advocated to me of the importance of their community and its centrality to the value of this archive.

Written by Lydia Dean, United Kingdom 
Project Archivist, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Follow with the Borthwick Institute and Lydia on Twitter

ICA International Archives Day Friday 9 June 2017

The International Council on Archives invites you to celebrate International Archives Day on the theme of the ALA-ICA Conference 2017 'Archives, Citizenship and Interculturalism.'

On Friday 9 June 2017, celebrate International Archives Day in your institution, your company or your department. Use this global event in order to make known the role of archivists and records managers and share your experience and the importance of your work. Show that the archives profession is fun, inclusive, varied and that your expertise is helpful to everyone

Prepare your project for International Archives Day 2017 by downloading the IAD 2017 Communication Kit, Available in English, French or Spanish:

- The Poster
- The Bookmark
- The Postcard

And discover how to personalize them thanks to our user guide. Please think of taking photos of your customized posters and documents, as well as your celebration on Friday 9th June and send them to us!

Friday 9 June is your day! What will you organise?

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Le Conseil International des Archives vous invite à célébrer la Journée Internationale des Archives le Vendredi 9 juin 2017 !

Nous vous invitons à participer à la Journée Internationale des Archives sur le thème de la Conférence ALA-ICA 2017 “Archives, Citoyenneté et Interculturalisme” qui se tiendra à Mexico du 27 au 29 novembre 2017.

Vendredi 9 juin 2017, célébrez la Journée Internationale des Archives au sein de votre institution, votre entreprise ou votre service. Profitez de cet évènement mondial pour faire connaitre le rôle des Archives et partagez votre expérience et l'importance de votre travail.  Montrez que la profession d'archiviste et de gestionnaire de documents est amusante, accessible, variée et que votre expertise est utile à tous. 

Préparez votre projet pour la Journée Internationale des Archives 2017 : le Kit de Communication de l’IAD 2017 est disponible sur le site internet de l’ICA

Le Conseil International des Archives vous invite à célébrer la Journée Internationale des Archives le Vendredi 9 juin 2017 !
Téléchargez en anglais, français ou espagnol :

- L'affiche
- Le Marque-Page
- La Carte postale

Et découvrez comment personnaliser ces modèles grâce à notre guide d'utilisation. Pensez à prendre des photos de vos affiches, et documents que vous aurez adaptés, ainsi que de votre célébration le vendredi 9 juin et envoyez-les nous !

Vendredi 9 juin est votre journée ! Qu'allez-vous organiser ?

Chinese Social Media for Advocacy and Outreach in Archives and Records Management

This article was collated and translated by the ICA Chinese New Professionals Volunteers Group, which was founded in June 2016 by Yujue Wang, a member of the ICA New Professionals Programme. At present, the group has 40 volunteers who come from universities across China, including: Jilin University, Nankai University, Shandong University, Shanghai University, Sichuan University, Wuhan University, and Renmin University. They create and co-organize the ICA WeChat official account, which you can add and follow by scanning the QR code at the end of this article. The following article outlines the basic situation of Chinese social media and its use in archives, and then briefly introduces the practice and research progress of Chinese social media in archives. There is also a brief overview of the ICA WeChat official account, who can be contacted at:

1) Profile
The latest survey shows that more than half of urban residents in China today are social media users. The percentage of users in urban areas rose from 28.6% to 50.9% during a three-year period from 2013 to 2016. In China, the use of mainstream social media mobile apps is pretty high. Take WeChat, for example, with usage of about 87.1%. On average, a Chinese resident opens WeChat 14.5 times every day, and spends a total of 48 minutes per person per day on social media. To some extent, China has entered the social media era, with Weibo and WeChat being the most popular and mainstream social media platforms currently used in China.

Given the above situation, Chinese social media in archives has appeared and flourished. Chinese social media in archives can be divided into three categories: archives (comprised of Chinese Governmental Information on Weibo and WeChat), universities and other research institutions, and archive associations. Among them, the archives using social media mainly push archival news and provide archive services, and the research institutions and archive associations mainly publish cutting-edge academic developments and advocate for archive activities.
Images from Chinese social media.
Chinese social media.
2) Development
Chinese government institutions opened their Weibo accounts in 2011 and since then they have provided online government information push messages and services. Currently, there are 384 official social media accounts in archives in China. Following this, a large number of archive associations, universities and individual accounts emerged. Chinese scholars have studied the use social media in the field of archival science since 2010, and this research area has seen rapid growth over the past six years (see Graph 1: The number of published research papers looking at social media use in archives).

Current research into social media use by archives is directed by the archival science community in China and includes the following five aspects: advocating archive information through social media, provision of archive services through social media, the operation of social media by an archival organization, archival preservation of social media information, and archive management in a social media environment. But there are some difficulties in studying this area, including: the amount and quality of information, information security and public relations maintenance, alongside other issues such as the long-term preservation of social media documents and the value of social media as evidence. Whilst these issues are the focus of much research they are also the cause of many difficulties when researching. 
Photograph of the London Institute Annual Report, 1994
Graph 1: The number of published research papers looking at social media use in archives (2010-2015).
3) Significance
3.1 Advocating for archives and related work:
Traditionally, most Chinese people think that archives are closed, confidential places which ordinary citizens do not have access to. However, the openness of social media provides a platform of information disclosure for archives, where archival news can be spread quickly and be accompanied by pictures and videos. Using social media could therefore help to advocate for archives and their contents whilst also enhancing social awareness of archives.

3.2 Providing archive services:
The application of social media also changes the ways in which archives can provide services. This helps to promote an archive and enables an archival organization to transition from a passive service into a user-centric service. Therefore, archives can provide personalized services according to user habits and preference with less time and space constraints.

3.3 Communicating interactively with the public:
Users can let people know about their archival experiences through social media and give feedback and suggestions through blogs, Weibo, forums, etc. This improvement to user engagement will also help to establish and promote a sense of identity and belonging.
4) ICA Wechat Official Account
In July 2016, the ICA WeChat official account was established by Yujue Wang, a member of 2016 ICA New Professionals Programme. This official account is now organized and operated by volunteers made up of teachers and students, from archival science courses in colleges and universities, alongside archivists from different organizations. This official account pushes real-time reports about the ICA and archival knowledge in the form of key words and archival news related to social issues, with a main audience of archive academics. Over the past seven months, this official account has reached 815 followers, a total of 23,154 individual views of the account’s articles, with articles being reposted a total of 19,492 times. This performance demonstrates that articles pushed by an official account have been highly regarded by the academic community.

Written by Zilin Li and Yi Song, China
ICA Chinese New Professionals Volunteers Group

QR code for the ICA WeChat official account
Ask An Archivist Day

On October 5 2016 the Society of American Archivists hosted Ask An Archivist day.

Archivists around the world took to Twitter to respond to questions tweeted with the hashtag #AskAnArchivist. This was an opportunity for archivists and records managers to engage via their personal and/or institutional Twitter accounts and respond to questions posed directly to them or more generally to all participants.

This was a great opportunity to break down the barriers that make archives seem inaccessible, to engage directly with the public about the importance of our work and the records we hold, to impact the global understanding of archivists, and to emphasise the value of archives. 

International Archives Day at the National Archives of Solomon Islands

Abilyn Pua'ara, Solomon Islands

I am excited to tell you a story of what we did last year for International Archives Day at the National Archives of Solomon Islands. We set up a committee at the beginning of 2016 and thought really hard to create something unique and different from previous years of celebration. We came up with a campaign idea to select and do activity work with high schools in Honiara, the capital of Solomon Islands. The activity work included an awareness programme and promotion to Senior High School students, who would be using the Archives for their research and other school assessments. We chose to visit one school each day and we completed four school visits in four days, from 6 June – 9 June 2016, so the idea of celebrating the International Archives Day was special and successful.
Some basic history questions were set for students to answer, as one of their activities, to establish how well the students knew their history.

We had a really good time with the students and a lot of questions were asked by the students and even their teachers. It seemed like most of the students did not really know what an archive was, or the roles and functions of the National Archives of Solomon Islands. So we gave a brief introduction to the organisation and urged students that, should they have research and assignments on History, we welcomed them to visit our office and to get assistance from our Research Unit officers. Therefore, the International Archives day 2016 was a campaign day for us here at the National Archives of Solomon Islands; to increase awareness amongst the young generation of the country to know what we have, what we do, and what we can offer to the public and nation. We let those who have not heard of the National Archives know how important our organisation is to both the government and the citizens of this country. I also ended the sessions by saying that without an archive and archivists to preserve our historical records we would never know what happened in the past.

Call for May Newsletter contributions

The theme of the next newsletter is 'getting started in archives and records management'. We welcome contributions from new professionals on any topic related to this theme. So, if you have any stories or advice to share with other new professionals then get in touch!

We would love to hear about how you got involved in archives and records management and your experiences in training and finding employment; Where do you look for professional development or training opportunities? Do you have any advice on how to stand out from the crowd? Have short-term project posts helped you to build up your resume? What are your top tips for job hunting across the globe?

Let us know if you have taken part in a mentor scheme; Were you a mentor or a mentee? Was it a rewarding experience? How has it helped and would you recommend it to others?

We welcome entries written in any language. If you are interested please send us a message including a brief outline of your proposed article by Sunday 16 April 2017 at or contact us on Facebook or Twitter and we will be in touch with more details. 

The new professionals community wants to hear from you!

Medieval Charters, Murder and MP3s: How to Engage Children with Medieval Documents

My name is Ashleigh Hawkins and I am a newly qualified archivist. I have been working at Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library (CCAL) since June 2016. Shortly after I joined the archives and library team the medieval archive collection of Canterbury Cathedral was inscribed upon Unesco’s UK Memory of the World Register. This collection is comprised of over 17,000 items dating from the ninth century to 1540 when the cathedral was dissolved by Henry VIII during the English Reformation. Highlights of the collection include over 30 Anglo-Saxon charters from before 1066, and 8,000 charters, including many from Kings and Queens. One of the ways in which CCAL supports the aims of the Cathedral is through its involvement with the Cathedral wide learning and participation programme, which in 2016 saw over 500 school children visit the Archives and Library. As archivist, part of my role is to interpret our outstanding, but often difficult to access, medieval collection for primary school children in a way that supports their learning, inspires and enthuses them, with usually no more than half an hour to do so. To do this we have had to build upon the strengths of both our collection and of the Cathedral’s history to develop bitesize sessions which achieve all these aims.
The Godwine Charter.
The Godwine Charter, 1013 x 1020 (CCA-DCc/ChAnt/S/458). Image copyright of the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral.
One of the strengths of the medieval archive collection is that it demonstrates the development of the English language. The Godwine Charter is written in vernacular Old English, as spoken by the Anglo-Saxons. Written between 1013 and 1020, the Godwine Charter is a chirograph granting a piece of land in Kent from a man called Godwine to Leofwine the Red. Looking at photographs of the charter it is possible for the students to make out individual letters and identify those which are no longer in use in modern English, while a sound recording of the charter being read gives them the opportunity to hear how people spoke one thousand years ago. The use of surrogates is necessary to engage the students with the contents of the documents without presenting any potential risk to their continued preservation, and at the end of the session the students are invited up to view the original, albeit safely behind a case. The use of audio-visual formats, and props such as quills and parchment is effective in engaging the students with the contents of the 2D documents while using them to open up discussion about their creation, wider context and significance, in the case of the Godwine Charter, linking with the focus of the Key Stage Two National Curriculum on the history of the Anglo-Saxon period.
Charter of Louis VII.
Charter of Louis VII, 1179 (CCA-DCc/ChAnt/F/90). Image copyright of the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral.
For a recent visit, from a group of school children who were learning Latin, a charter from 1179 was used to introduce another theme on the National Curriculum. It is easy to spend quite a large part of these sessions talking to the students, however examination of this charter was principally undertaken by the students. In pairs they were given a photograph of the charter, told nothing about it and directed to look at the seal. It clearly depicts a man, possibly sitting on a throne. But is he a Pope? A king? An archbishop? The students were then directed to the centre of the top line where the word Rex is written. He is a king. But which one? The preceding words expanded from their abbreviated form read Ludovicus dei gracia francorum Rex, ‘Louis by the grace of God King of France’. Mystery solved! However, why did King Louis VII of France grant 100 measures of French wine every year to the monks of Canterbury Cathedral Priory? At this point the students were told that in 1179 Louis VII visited Canterbury Cathedral in order to pray for the recovery of his son who was very sick. Instantly they were able to relate this to the 1170 murder of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, and the cult of pilgrimage which developed around his tomb. Thus, with the use of a single charter we were able to build upon their existing knowledge of the murder of Thomas Beckett, discuss themes of pilgrimage and worship, link local history with national and international events, encourage students to draw historical evidence from examining original sources and use this to interpret the past, unknowingly develop diplomatic and palaeographical skills, and dispel the myth that Latin was only used by the Romans.

The number of questions and comments raised by the students demonstrated that they had really engaged with the session. Once again it was only the prospect of lunch which tore them away!

Written by Ashleigh Hawkins, United Kingdom
Archivist, Canterbury Cathedral Archives and Library

Ashleigh Hawkins

Connect with Ashleigh on LinkedIn

ICA Flash 33 Available Online Now:

Flash 33 is online
The latest issue of Flash, ICA's twice-yearly Newsletter, is online for ICA members!
Access the members only space and download this issue dedicated to the Congress 2016.
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Flash 33 est en ligne !
Le dernier numéro de Flash, le bulletin d'information semestriel de l'ICA, est en ligne pour les membres!
Connectez-vous à l'espace membre et téléchargez ce numéro consacré au Congrès 2016.
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Creating Opportunities for Early-Career Archivists

Charlotte Robinson, United Kingdom

Charlotte Robinson

I am a student archivist based in the UK. I work in the archives at Westminster School alongside studying Archives and Records Management part-time at UCL. Since September 2015, I have also been using a collection of historic postcards of France to create archival experience opportunities for myself and other early-career archivists. My approach to Advocacy and Outreach is, therefore, not only about promoting the collection to wider audiences, but also about reaching out to potential new archives professionals.

Photograph from first even held in London in December 2015.

5 people attended the first event, which was held at my home in London in December 2015.

Upon acquiring over 10,000 postcards from a friend, I perceived their potential to provide a learning project for myself and others:
  • To practice archival decision-making in a low-risk setting, an experience not usually available to volunteers or career-starters.
  • To fill gaps in existing skill-sets, not least to support CVs and university applications.
  • To learn about the collection. Anecdotally, many of the images show buildings or monuments that have since been destroyed or demolished, and it would be worth ascertaining whether this is true.
  • To meet student archivists, pre-course archives trainees and people considering a career in archives.
Overall, 13 people attended one of the two events. The first was at my home in London. We sorted two boxes of postcards and I invited a speaker to shared her experience of applying to Archives and Records Management programmes. The second venue had more table space, and extra sockets for charging laptops. Participants wrote series-level descriptions to ISAD (G) for each of the pre-sorted sections. Between us we completed 27 descriptions. I was impressed with everyone’s keenness and hard work.

It was wonderful to meet people who subsequently became my coursemates at UCL, as well as those who opted for other UK programmes or who have since started traineeships or volunteering.

 Photograph of 8 people attending the second event in April 2016.

8 people attended the second event in April 2016 in a larger venue attached to a friend’s house.

Funding – It is important to me that the events are completely free and that lunch and refreshments are provided, which meant that the whole project has been entirely self-funded.

Space – The lack of funding precluded hiring a venue, so options were limited. At the first event I was unable to provide a separate space for eating and drinking.

Timing – I had not anticipated how far people would travel to attend the event. One participant had to leave very early to travel from Chester in time for the 9:30am start.

The three main lessons I have learnt are: firstly, that smaller-scale, more regular get-togethers are more effective at maintaining momentum in a project. Secondly, that the blog’s name should ideally be self-explanatory. (I chose to call the project ‘Quintessence of Place’ because of how postcards images aim to capture the essence of a location). Finally, the importance of getting feedback from participants to help future planning. The numbers were so small and the atmosphere so informal that a feedback survey did not feel appropriate at the time.

The next event will take place on Saturday 17 June 2017 at the Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AL. You can find more information and register for the event here. If you would like to get involved, I would be delighted to hear you via email at

You can follow the project’s progress on the QoP blog and on twitter,  or connect with me via LinkedIn. Feel free to let me know if there is a specific type of experience you are looking for from the collection or from future events.

Publications of the Congress 2016 Presentations Available Online Now:

Publications of the Congress 2016 Presentations
The Congress 2016 presentations are now available online for all members of ICA.
Explore the presentations you didn’t see, deepen your knowledge of the ones you attended, check out the latest considerations about subjects you are interested in.
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Thanks for reading, look our for our next issue in May!
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