12 October 2016

Strategic Vision for the Archives Sector in England

The UK National Archives has just released a paper Consultation on a new Strategic Vision for the
Archives Sector. The vision has three themes:
Theme 1: Archives ensure people can have confidence in
information and data
 Archivists are skilled and trusted custodians of records, data and information
 Archive users are able to access relevant data and information
 Archives have a reputation for transparency and accountability and enjoy the
confidence of users and wider society
Theme 2: Archives encourage innovation and creativity
 The potential of archival material is realised by a wide range of users
including businesses, the creative sector and researchers
 People are clear about how they can use archival material in creative ways
 Archives empower communities to be more informed and involved
Theme 3: Archives enable collective memories to be kept alive for
future generations
 Archives are able to preserve and present digital records
 Archives are financially sustainable, working in partnership to maximise
commercial opportunities
 The archive profession and its collections reflect the diversity of all human
activity, including communities and organisations.

An appendix to the document Reference Group membership and stakeholder interviewees shows there has been no involvement of the family history client community, strange given the large fraction of archives clients that are genealogists.

An aim under theme 3 "to maximise commercial opportunities" seems perverse for a public sector organization. Most of us would be in favour of maximising public access, and accept that often for budget reasons that can only be accomplished by using commercial partners. But it should not become a means to restrict open online access for a period beyond that which the commercial partner needs to make back costs and a reasonable profit.

Hopefully the genealogical community in England will step forward to become involved in the further deliberations.

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