Global Practices in Archival Arrangement and Description Revealed

ICA is pleased to share the results of its global survey on archival arrangement and description. 

The survey results provide a picture of the tools, standards and practices valued and used by archive practitioners around the world. It also reveals the key challenges faced when arranging and describing archives.  

“Understanding ‘real life’ practices of archival arrangement and description is crucial to develop a practical online learning course”, said Margaret Crockett, ICA Training Officer, “We quickly realised that the results of the survey would be of interest to the wider archival community, and we’re delighted to share these here.” 

Key learnings from the survey include: 

  • Excel and AtoM dominate a fragmented tools’ landscape, yet many people are still relying on manual and word-processing systems 
  • People believe archival arrangement and description standards are important and useful, but adoption of standards is low 
  • More expertise in arranging and describing archives is required, although challenges are interlinked and extend beyond the arrangement and description function 

In his foreword to the report, David Fricker, ICA President writes, “Thank you to everyone who took the time to share your practices through our survey. We value the findings and will use these to inform our work to empower archives and the people who care for them.” 

The survey was developed to inform ICA’s forthcoming archival arrangement and description online learning course. Readers can find out more about ICA’s online learning courses here.  

Download Archival Arrangement & Description: Global Practices in English and French.