ICA New Professionals newsletter no 8 - July 2017
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Welcome to the July edition of the ICA New Professionals Newsletter all about digital records and records management.


This month's newsletter features articles from new professionals sharing stories and advice about digital records projects they have been involved in and their experiences with records management.

Highlights include: How one new professional found herself drawn to a career in records management, an example of the value of records management training in an organisation, and case studies looking at ways to address the challenges of preserving digital records.

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.

The Transfer of Digital Archives in the State Archives of Belgium

For several years now, the different archive services of the State Archives of Belgium have been analyzing the challenges that digital archives present. However, given the relatively recent date of creation for this kind of contemporary archives (from a historical point of view), it will take a long time to plan and implement the different phases for their treatment.

The following case study is a project that aims at establishing a new procedure for the transfer of digital archives from the Belgian federal administrations and other archive producers to the State Archives. In 2010, the Digital Preservation and Access unit of the Archives presented an analysis regarding the practical implementation of the INGEST module as described in the international standard ISO 14721 (also known as OAIS). In addition to this analysis, the service developed an internal application called Piraeus for this purpose. By the end of 2016, with the qualitative and quantitative importance of digital archives ever increasing, the pressing need for a standard and systematic procedure to transfer digital archives had become more evident.  
ISO 14721 OAIS Model
ISO 14721 OAIS Model
In the face of this ever pressing need, in the autumn of 2016 we started to think, within the Digital Preservation and Access unit, about how to approach the new transfer procedure. One of the challenges of digital archives is the question of whether traditional archival methods are still valid or not: should we follow the traditional transfer procedure for paper-based archives and just adapt it slightly to digital archives? Or should we start from the beginning and create a completely new procedure in order to avoid falling into limitations (e.g. Forms which can be automated; the physical transfer can be accelerated; etc.) which no longer apply in the digital environment?
Digital Preservation Flow Chart
Digital Preservation Flow Chart
We decided to find a balance in order to avoid a procedure which might be too disruptive from archivists’ usual practices, but which could also contribute to the improvement of the gaps and bad habits of the traditional procedure. Once we had written a first draft, we gathered a working group formed by: the Digital Preservation and Access unit (3 people including myself); the Inspection and Advice unit on appraisal and disposal of archives (2 people); the contemporary archives section (2 people); and the ICT unit (1 person). Within this group, we discussed the content of the procedure and the next steps of the project, as well as identifying the types of digital archives we expected to receive and possible partners in the public administration that might become pilots for the project.

In April 2017, we had the basic infrastructure to begin the tests ready:
  1. Same form of transfer, while we plan how to automate it using XML metadata following a METS model;
  2. We chose an open-source application, quite common and simple but secure, for the file exchange called WinSCP (an SFTP) that any service in the administration can install for free;
  3. Upon receipt of the digital archives, we perform two checks: one for viruses and the other for integrity thanks to an MD5 calculation of each transferred file;
  4. At the beginning of the process, we send a short user manual to the relevant administration with the user name and the password for the transfer.
Digital Archive Transfer Procedure
Digital Archive Transfer Procedure
At the moment, this is quite a rudimentary procedure. Nevertheless, it allows us to carry out urgent and secure transfers and to start raising awareness among all the stakeholders regarding minimal best practice for digital archives. From now to 2018, we will organize the internal training of archivists from all of our 19 archival repositories throughout the country, so that from January onwards we can systematize the tasks. Ideally, this procedure will become more automatic and complete by the time we receive more voluminous transfers. However, it will depend on the development of other services and procedures which are being implemented within our institution (e.g. A new archives management system, a new search engine, etc.). This fact does not allow us to advance faster nor to determine which are the exact requirements of a more complete IT tool. It all depends on the global strategy of our institution concerning available budget as well as human and technical infrastructure resources. On top of this, the integration strategy of the different systems and applications for the global treatment of archives, both paper-based and digital, is not a negligible matter.

Interesting reference information sources are the E-ARK European project and these two reports (1 and 2) from the National Archives in the UK regarding the analysis previous to future systematic transfers of digital archives.

Written by Fiona Aranguren Celorrio, Belgium 

State Archives of Belgium

Fiona Aranguren Celorrio

Find Fiona on LinkedIn
Thank you very much for your participation in International Archives Day 2017!

Many of you joined us to celebrate International Archives Day: more than 240 events have filled the interactive map this year and celebrations have taken place  in more than 70 countries around the world.

The ICA thanks you for your involvement and participation, and invites you for an even greater celebration next year, which will coincide with the 70th anniversary of our organization.

See the events organized

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Un grand merci pour votre participation à la Journée Internationale des Archives 2017 !

Vous avez été très nombreux à nous rejoindre pour célébrer la Journée Internationale des Archives : la carte interactive s’est remplie de plus de 240 événements cette année, et les célébrations ont eu lieu dans plus de 70 pays.

L’ICA souhaite vous remercier pour votre implication et votre participation, et vous donne rendez-vous l’année prochaine pour une célébration encore plus grandiose, puisqu’il s’agira également de fêter les 70 ans de notre organisation.

Voir les événements organisés

A Viewpoint on Archives and Records Management

I have always held a passion for history and genealogy, which naturally evolved into a desire to work with historical documents and records.
I started out like many do within the archives and records management profession. I undertook copious amounts of voluntary work to gain experience, understanding and certainty that this was the route I wanted to take. Nearly all my voluntary experience was within archives; an area heavily influenced and reliant on volunteers. I found it increasingly challenging to gain records management experience as most organisations only allow access to current staff members.
I had always focussed on archives, predominantly because I adore the thought of discovering documents untouched for centuries (a cliché I know). I did not seriously consider records management as a career path until I undertook my MA in Archives and Records Management at University College London (UCL). This is where I became interested in organisations’ current records being correctly maintained and how this results in the smooth running of an organisation.
I found many of my fellow students lacked records management interest with archives being the focus of many students’ ambitions. I believe a lack of interest in records management to be a possible consequence of the insufficient availability of voluntary or pre-qualification work experience, which would otherwise allow budding professionals to decide if the career is for them. I found that the only way to gain such experience was to jump in at the deep end and take on a qualified role.
There are many advantages to both archives and records management roles. Both uniquely provide their own benefits and challenges.
Archives create unique opportunities such as volunteer management and cataloguing of material. Archive positions often tend to be contracts, either short or long term; a positive if you enjoy working in a variety of places; not such a positive if you want or need a guaranteed income. However, if the seduction of working with documents of historical importance is palpably strong for you, archives is the place to be.
Alternatively, records management provides almost the contrary to archives. There are very few opportunities available to supervise volunteers. However, records management roles are commonly permanent positions. If you revel in the challenge of organising current records and ensuring they are compliant and well organised then records management is likely to be the profession for you.
Of course, many roles (particularly in smaller organisations) require an overlap of skills from both professions. In more specialised roles I would encourage archive and records management professionals alike to view each area as an extension of their own and to explore outside the box, especially if you are at an early stage in your career. 

Written by Emily McIntyre, United Kingdom 
Recent UCL MA Archives and Records Management graduate

Emily McIntyre
Coming up for the ICA New Professionals Programme and ICA dates for your diary: 2017-2020
The ALA-ICA Annual Conference will be held on 27-29 November 2017 in Mexico City, under the title ‘Archives, Citizenship and Interculturalism.’ As a lead-up to this event, the next ICA New Professionals Newsletter will be guest edited by Gabriela Andaur of the 2016-2017 ICA New Professionals Programme on the theme of ‘Archives and Records Management in Latin America: new professionals’ perspectives’ (see below for more details of how to get involved).

The 2016-2017 New Professionals will soon be handing over newsletter, social media and website duties to the 2017-2018 team. We hope you will join us in welcoming them and wishing them the best for the coming year!

The 2016-2017 New Professionals team will continue to work with the ICA and help to action the recommendations made in the final survey report following the New Professionals Survey carried out last year.
It has been a pleasure working as the newsletter editor for the ICA New Professionals Programme since the Congress in Seoul, South Korea.
Nicola Wood
Newsletter Editor, ICA New Professionals Programme
Dates for your diary:
  • ALA-ICA Annual Conference 27-29 November 2017 in Mexico City, Mexico
  • ICA Annual Conference 26-30 November 2018 in Yaoundé, hosted by the National Archives of Cameroon.
  • ARA-ICA Annual Conference 21-23 October 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • ICA Quadrennial Congress 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Administrative Records Digitization Project for Access at the Economics and Management Department’s (SEG) Section on Education and Research (UFR)

Written by Mouhamadou Khaly Fall, Senegal
Librarian and Archivist UFR / SEG Gaston Berger University

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have impacted the world, revolutionizing the lives of everyone, changing people’s lifestyles, and improving their business and management practices. ICT has had a real impact on the development of companies and institutions. However, this has resulted in an increase in records creation and their more problematic management. Thus, finding information as quickly as possible becomes a difficult task for these institutions. In order to deal with this issue, what makes more sense than using ICT to solve it, as they say: fight fire with fire.

The use of ICT to help manage the growth in records implies the use of advanced technologies for digitization. According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN), digitization can be defined as “the process by which a digital image is created of an object (such as documents, photographs, or three-dimensional artefacts).” This technology helps convert documents originally available on paper or microfilm into digital format, making it a powerful tool for most institutions.

The UFR SEG should not take a different path when addressing this issue if it wants to deal with its records increase; hence the importance of developing a digitization project. The digitization of UFR SEG’s Administrative Archives will help to preserve them and will provide many more means of accessing and sharing documents through various digital, optical, or networked media. This may help promote the development of the Archives and improve the speed of research and decision-making.

The Administrative Records Digitization Project may have many benefits, including:

  • Better communication
  • Greater access
  • Greater accessibility and promotion of the document
  • Enabling more effective research
  • Better production and preservation of the archives
  • Space saving
1. Objectives 

Our digitization project has several objectives for UFR SEG:
  • Adding value to the Administrative Archives: by making certain documents known to a wider audience.
  • Space saving: digitised documents will be held in digital format, which will free up space in the cramped storage space of the UFR
  • Digital preservation and data backups to prevent loss from the risks of natural disasters (such as floods or fires) and degradation or alteration of documents due to improper handling.
  • Improve the speed of research through the development of a directory of all the Administrative Archives of the UFR SEG, which will allow people to find the records and information as quickly as possible, and to periodically update the directory.
  • Rational and efficient management of the Archives of the UFR SEG
  • The development of two types of tools that will support these archives.
  • The speed in decision-making for UFR’s management.
  • Improve the speed ​​of decision-making for management.
 2. Target Beneficiaries   

The main beneficiary of the digitization project is UFR SEG; in particular its administration department which is organized as follows:
  • Director
  • Secretariat
  • Deputy Director
  • Head of the Administrative Department
  • Head of Finance Department
  • Head of the Educational Department
  • Head of the special library
  • Courier Services.

In addition to teaching and research activities, the sections are coordinated by section heads (of which there are six) and the Higher Institute of Economics and Management.


Call for September Newsletter contributions

The theme of the next newsletter is ‘Archives and Records Management in Latin America: new professionals’ perspectives.’ We welcome contributions from new professionals on any topic related to this theme. If you have any stories or advice to share with other new professionals then get in touch!

We would love to hear about your experiences and perspectives as new professionals working in archival institutions across Latin America. How did you become involved with archives? What kind of materials are you working with? What areas of the archival profession have been more challenging and how are you overcoming them? What has been the most enjoyable or rewarding experience that you have had working in archives and records management?

Let us know your thoughts about the profession in Latin American. What are your expectations? How would you like to contribute to your local community and what could Latin American new professionals bring to the global archival community?

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 20 August to 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!

Solomon Islands Government Records Management Policy

I was the Records Management Officer of the National Archives of Solomon Islands between 2014-2016. This year I was promoted to Senior Digitisation Officer but I still work with the Records Management Unit especially in facilitating workshops and training for government Officers on the Solomon Islands Government (SIG) Records Management Policy. I would like to share my experiences of running a workshop which we held between 27th-31st March 2017.
The workshop was scheduled for 27th – 31st March 2017 and was targeted at Secretaries, Administration Officers, Accounting Officers, Registry Clerks and Typists of the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services of Solomon Islands Government. There was a total of 16 participants and 4 facilitators from the National Archives of Solomon Islands. I was one of the facilitators and it was not my first time training people on the SIG Records Management Policy. I have been with the team since I first joined the National Archives of Solomon Islands and it has been a great challenge to train people who have been working in the Government and are familiar with different systems. Therefore, the Records Management Policy we introduced to the participants was a new system that we are trying to teach to all the government offices and departments for them to implement.

Participants of SIG 'Organising a Records Management Unit' training
Participants of SIG 'Organising a Records Management Unit' training
During the workshop I trained the participants on “Organising a Records Management Unit.” A lot of questions were asked by the participants and they mentioned that there was no proper Records Management Unit established in their Ministry, that the office of the Registry Clerk was unsecure, and that they still followed the registry manual system. The filing system was unclear and they followed their own thinking as there was no proper system for them to follow. In light of this, the workshop really helped them to gain more knowledge on Records Management and the implementation of the SIG Records Management Policy. The workshop successfully opened the eyes of the Officers and they learned a lot. They said they had been working with no instruction, especially with the records, and really appreciated the National Archives of Solomon Islands for initiating the workshop to train their Officers. We completed the workshop on Friday 31st March where the participants received their certificate in the presence of the Human Resource Manager of the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services and the Government Archivist of the National Archives of Solomon Islands.
Participants receiving their certificates
Participants receiving their certificates
I would like to say that as a New Professional in the field of Archives and Records Management, one of the challenges we face is that people often overlook the importance of records they think have no value. Even the government can give low prioritisation to offices who deal with records. Therefore, when you want to talk about this issue there is sometimes a lack of interest and low participation. Here, the Government has overlooked the Records Unit in every ministry and has provided little funding not realising that they are at the heart of every office, with records coming in and out of the Registry offices and therefore requiring better provisions. That is why we, the National Archives of Solomon Islands, work really hard to implement the SIG Records Management Policy across the board of the Solomon Islands Government.
Written by Abilyn Pua’ara, Solomon Islands
National Archives of Solomon Islands

Contact details:

National Archives of Solomon Islands

Ministry of Culture & Tourism

P O Box G20


Ph: 23198/23195

Thanks for reading, look out for our next issue in September!
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