Celebrate the International Archives Day!
Did you know that the 9th of June is the International Archives Day? You maybe had the opportunity to celebrate it your country, through activities and events organized by National or local archives institutions, or professional associations, like in Senegal, Japan, or municipalities in Catalonia...
All around the world, professionals would unite their voices on the 9th of June to make you understand why it is important to support archives and the profession. An excellent opportunity to discover or better know our profession, and to get in closer touch with a fascinating domain!
At the international Congress in Vienna in 2004, the 2000 participants adopted a resolution requesting the United Nations to create an International Archives Day. Some countries had already decided to have a national archives day, to raise awareness of the general public and the decision-makers about the importance of archives.
The UNESCO General Conference at its 33rd session in Paris 2005 proclaimed the 27th October as the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage. The World Day is an appropriate opportunity to raise public awareness of the importance of audiovisual archives. It brings new incentives to the benefit of the preservation of these archives. This was an excellent initiative, but these are not the only archives that are at risk and in need of attention.
This is the reason why the ICA decided at its Annual General Meeting in November 2007 to launch the International Archives Day by its own, on the 9th of June. The date was obvious: on the 9th of June 1948, the International Council on Archives was created under the auspices of the UNESCO. This choice was adopted by ICA Executive Board, and adopted by the archives community as a whole.
Why and International Archives Day?
One might think that we have got a full calendar of international days to celebrate. However the public's image of the archives is foggy: often confused with libraries, archives continue to be perceived as documents for internal use only, which are difficult to access and are of interest only to historians. The perception of records and archives by the public and the organizations that create them is not clear. This troubled image has an impact on the financial and human resources that responsible managers and administrators dedicate to records and archives operations and/or institutions.
It is therefore essential to remember that records and archives are documents, created, received and maintained as evidence and information by an organization or person, in pursuance of legal obligations, or in the transaction of business. Archival records are those documents that are preserved by their creators, successors or an appropriate archive institution because of their legal value or enduring historical significance. Archives constitute a major cultural heritage and information resource. The archival heritage is a valuable testimony about the economical, political and social development of humanity. The diversity of archival sources and formats is considerable. To ensure the preservation of these sources, a comprehensive approach that considers all types and formats of archives, is required. It is not possible to focus solely on one type of record, as other categories of archives also deserve attention.
Through the International Archives Day, we can:
- Raise awareness among the public of the importance of records and archives, in order to make it understood that records and archives provide the foundation for their rights and identity;
- Raise the awareness of senior decision makers of the benefits of records management for good governance and development;
- Raise the public, private and public sectors' awareness of the necessity of preserving archives for the long-term, and of providing access to them;
- Promote and bring to the attention of the larger public unique, extraordinary and rare documents preserved in archival institutions;
- Improve the image of records and archives and enhance their visibility globally.
The International Archives Day around the world
If you do not feel inspired to celebrate the day, or if you simply are curious about how the day is celebrated in other cultures, just have a look at some examples of activities organized all over the world on June 9, from 2009: