It's always good news that archives and archivists have legal instruments to support both archival principles and the day-to-day work of an archive. The profession needs such legal and administrative support. To this end, archivists should be pleased that a new act has been passed.
This has happened in Andalucia, Spain, where the Parliament has passed the law of ‘Records, Archives and Documentary Heritage'. The importance of this act is contained in the title itself: archives do not exist without being organized, as records appear in an office; archives do not exist without records management and good record-keeping, and this work starts initially in the offices that produce them. The Adalucian law also recognizes that archives and archivists are necessary even when a administrative process is in its preliminary stages, because it is at that moment that an archival structure can be put in place.
This is a law not only for archivists, but is a rule for everyone who is working in public administration, for anyone who creates or receives records in his or her day-to-day work. And of course it is a rule for archivists, who, we are sure, will be able to work better as a result of this act. This law enacts that archives begin in offices and that is where records should be organized and described. We are all aware of this principle, but it is very important that it has now been formally regulated.
We hope that this new rule will guide public administration in the correct way to safeguard and conserve records, but also in the correct way to organize and describe those records, in other words, to adopt archival principles and best practice from the start. This is the only way to ensure good administrative governance. And of course it is the only way to guarantee transparency in public administration.
The new Andalucian law of ‘Records, Archives and Documentary Heritage' embraces the current reality of public administration and archives: e-government, the use of electronic tools and processes, digital records, and of course, current and future new technologies. Nevertheless the law needs to go further in one basic issue confronting archives today, the complicated issue of access.
Finally, this regulation does not ignore the very rich and wide documentary heritage preserved in the archives of Andalucia, and for this reason the law contains some clause relating to preservation.
The act was passed on 3rd November 2011 and we hope that it will soon be applied widely and strictly and become a useful tool for administrative bodies and their managers, for archivists and for users.
So we congratulate archivists and archives for achieving rules that will support us in our daily work. It is not always easy to achieve these rules because we do not have the legal instruments to support them.
If you want to find out more go to: http://www.juntadeandalucia.es/cultura/archivos/web_es/contenido?id=6e06368e-00bf-11e1-b77d-000ae4865a5f