Archives Task Force Discussion Paper 4: Structures: Issues and possible solutions

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In considering archives in the 21st century the ATF cannot avoid the issue of structures. The structure of archive provision in the UK and the organisations, institutions, conventions and partnerships that support and sustain those services needs to be closely examined. It is relatively easy to survey the existing structural landscapes for archives and records management in the UK and not difficult to conclude that it is messy and unsatisfactory. Rather more challenging is to agree what structures would be better and decide what the ATF might actually do about it.

Structures should follow vision, purposes and objectives. The ATF has already identified some key objectives for the publicly-funded archives domain - to release the learning potential of archives – to increase and broaden the user base and appeal to a wider range of users – to increase access to information – to raise the profile of archives, and to balance these priorities with the conservation and preservation requirements of archives in all media. These objectives arise from discussion of the issues identified at the first ATF meeting.

There may be many innovative strategies for finding new or improved ways (solutions one might say) for meeting these key objectives. Structural change is one of them. If we can organise and support the archives domain in a different way and by so doing release resources or energy, then recommendations for change might be an important part of Task Force’s work.

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Archives Task Force