Posts Tagged ‘archives’

New Home for LGBT Archive

An interesting article appeared in the November edition of CILIP Update, the magazine of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). The magazine has reported on how the recently refurbished Manchester Central Library and Archive will become the new home for the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF) Archive.

The LGF Archive represents one of the most significant archival collections on gay and lesbian issues and the LGF has joined forces with the Archives+ Centre located within the Manchester Central Library to help preserve and make accessible this important collection. The LGH recognised the importance of this Archive in terms of preserving the records of the development of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) rights and the changing societal attitudes and the link with the Archives+ Centre will hopefully enable much of this material to become accessible.

The Archive itself contains a broad range of materials. In addition to a large collection of local and national magazines, focused towards the LGBT audience, the collection contains a range of historical materials including a number of reports and documents on issues including culture, health and events.

Further information is available as follows:

Manchester City Council – The Lesbian & Gay Foundation’s archives to go on show at Manchester Central Library

Manchester Archives – LGBT Source Guide

The Lesbian and Gay Foundation – http://www.lgf.org.uk/


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As part of our ongoing work with the archives of the Refugee Council Archive here at the University of East London, we are aware of the importance of archives to charitable organisations, leading to our involvement with the Campaign for Voluntary Sector Archives. It was therefore of great interest to read the recent NCVO blog posting by Georgina Brewis, (Institute of Education), discussing a recently funded British Academy Project entitled, “Digitising the Mixed Economy of Welfare”, which has the aim of digitising a selection of charity based records which will aim to tell the story of the voluntary’ sectors engagement with the provision of welfare assistance during the 1940’s.

As defined on the British Academy website, the aim of this project is too:

“This collaborative, interdisciplinary project will digitise and make available key documents that will enhance understanding of the role of voluntary organisations in our mixed economy of welfare. Restructuring of welfare provision in the 1940s led to intense debate about the future of the voluntary social services. By identifying and digitising core documents arising out of this debate, the project will create a unique public resource of benefit to social science, practitioner and policy maker audiences that will facilitate critical reflection on major post-war social policy changes. If such change were happening today these documents would be readily available on the web. “ (Reference: www.britac.ac.uk/arp/digitising-mixed-economy.cfm).

Within the blog posting, entitled, “Eight reasons charities should be interested in their archives”, Dr. Brewis focused on the importance of archives and heritage to charitable organisations and highlights eight factors which charitable organisations should consider in relation to the archives. These include the importance of charitable and voluntary sector archives for helping to demonstrate the long term impact of an organisation whilst highlighting the organisation’s commitment to a particular issue, group or community over time. Charitable archives can also be seem to have an impact in informing the organisations ongoing work whilst placing in context the work of the organisation undertaken in the past. Archives of charities and voluntary organisations can also be utilised to highlight the importance of the voluntary sector in general to a wider audience, and as Dr. Brewis argues,

“The archives of UK voluntary organisations are of great significance for social, political and cultural history; they can enhance knowledge and understanding of British society and relations with the wider world.” Reference: G. Brewis, Eight reasons charities should be interested in their archives.

Full details of the project can be found by accessing the links below:

Blog Posting by Dr. Georgina Brewis – Eight reasons charities should be interested in their archives.

British Academy Website, Project Details – Digitising the Mixed Economy of Welfare.

NCVO Blog – NCVO reminds charities of the importance of historical archives.

Campaign for Voluntary Sector Archives.

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We are delighted to announce the launch of the online catalogue of the British Red Cross Museum and Archives. The collection provides a fascinating insight into our humanitarian work from our beginnings in 1870 as the British National Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded in War, to our continuing vital contribution in today’s society. 



New catalogue entries will be added at regular intervals but please could you let your readers know that this resource is now available.


For access to the catalogue or for more general information about the Museum and Archives including our research services, historical factsheets and online exhibitions please visit the following site:



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Re-blog from the Guardian Online – The cost of historical research: why archives need to move with the times

The cost of historical research: why archives need to move with the times

The variable fees charged to access original documents risk putting archival research out of general reach, says Nell Darby.

Should researchers be charged additional fees to take photographs of archived material? Photograph: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images

As county archives face continued financial pressure on their services, history researchers are facing increasing difficulty in accessing original archival documents. Reduced and often complex opening arrangements, fewer staff and closures over lunch periods makes pre-planning an inevitable part of the archival research process.

Archives appear to be using fees to plug gaps in their finances – and these can often be idiosyncratic. Day passes are issued for users to photograph documents to transcribe later from home or university. These can vary in price from £2 at Birmingham to £25 at North Yorkshire County Record OfficeBerkshire Record Office charges £1 per image and for those needing access to long documents, the cost can become prohibitive. This includes me. I am researching 18th-century magistrates’ notebooks, which can run to hundreds of pages of dense text.

These fees matter. Archivists are not the only ones under financial pressure – researchers are too. Research students have limited budgets and are increasingly time-strapped. Transcribing documents in record offices is time consuming and taking photographs to access documents in our own time is invaluable. It means less time spent using record office resources, yet we are being charged inconsistent amounts to use our own cameras.

The costs and difficulties in accessing archival documents is having an impact on history researchers who may feel that it is too hard to access these documents, and instead rely on more limited sources or digitised resources. In doing so, they miss out on a wealth of information and the quality of research suffers.

I raised this subject on Twitter where it received a significant response among professional researchers, academics and students. My own supervisor at the University of Northampton, Drew Gray, criticised the charges at Berkshire Record Office, pointing out that “even the British Library’s copying service is better value”.

Gray added: “There should be a standard charge and it should be fair and reflect costs, otherwise it penalises researchers without considerable funding behind them, which is elitist.” This was also a point raised by Cathryn Pearce of Greenwich Maritime Institute, who argued that it was “very elitist to only allow the rich or funded to take photos for research. Many of us doing good work … can’t afford that”.

Louise Falcini, an 18th-century historian based at the University of Reading, pointed out that the National Archives allows all researchers to photograph documents for free. She said: “I took almost 500 photographs at the National Archives – all for research purposes. £500 wouldn’t have been an option.”

Lucy Bailey, another PhD student at the University of Northampton, had hoped to photograph a Victorian shop account book on her visit to Berkshire Record Office, in order to transcribe it in her own time from home. Surprised at the £1 per image cost, Bailey queried the reasoning behind it with a county archivist who responded: “We charge a unit rate rather than a daily rate simply because we believe that it better reflects what a user is acquiring. It seems to us analogous to making printouts from microfilm or from a digitised image and to the supply of photocopies, where the charge is directly related to the number of copies supplied.”

What Berkshire’s price structure fails to recognises that a researcher photographing documents costs the archive less than if they requested copies or spent days sitting in the archive transcribing material. Using your own camera and asking an archivist to photocopy documents are simply not analogous.

A survey conducted by Lucy Bailey looking at self-service photography costs levied by county archives across England, showed a striking lack of consistency. Hampshire Archives charge £12.50 for a daily camera pass, and East Sussex £15, second only to North Yorkshire’s £25. Conversely,Herefordshire ArchivesDevon Heritage Centre and North Devon Record Office charge only £3 per day. Yet some other regional archives, including Northumberland and North East Lincolnshire, continue to let researchers photograph documents for free.

Archivists argue that photograph fees should be seen as separate to research fees – one pointed out on Twitter that “research is still free even when photography is not”. Luci Gosling, historical specialist for theMary Evans Picture Library, says researchers should bear in mind that many archive charges are funnelled back into maintaining or improving the resources or facilities of the archive itself.

It is the age of the digital historian. Technology gives researchers the means of carrying out their work more effectively and quickly, and archivists need to respond positively to these changes. Without encouraging researchers to use and disseminate their material, archive buildings risk becoming populated only by those with the incomes to be able to indulge in research – and we will all be poorer for it.

Nell Darby is a doctoral research student in history at the University of Northampton – follow her on Twitter @nelldarby

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Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) yesterday passed a motion condemning the UN system for failing “to prevent the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi despite having received reports to that effect.”

The motion, moved by MP Abubakar Zein Abubakar [Kenya], also declared the Assembly’s support for “the decision of the Council of Ministers to ensure that all the archives of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR ) be transferred to Rwanda.”

While addressing the lawmakers on Tuesday, President Paul Kagame, called for deepening of regional integration across Africa to boost the continent’s ability to stand for its rights.

Yesterday’s sitting was the actual plenary business for the fifth meeting of the first session of the third Assembly that runs from Tuesday until April 26 in Kigali.

The motion was seconded by MP Abubakar Ogle [Kenya], before it got the House’s unanimous approval.

Apart from expressing profound disappointment with the failure of the UN to prevent the Genocide, EALA declared “its solidarity with the people and Government of Rwanda especially now when they are commemorating the 1994 Genocide.

The Assembly appreciates the resilience of the people and Government of the Republic of Rwanda in copying with the legacy of Genocide on their own for the last 19 years, the legislators said in a statement.

The resolution demands the Council of Ministers to designate April 7 of every year as the EAC Day of Reflection on the Genocide against the Tutsi.

It calls on EAC Partner States to commemorate the Genocide; and act in accordance with the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of genocide by putting in place necessary mechanisms to track and bring Genocide fugitives to justice.

In addition, it calls on the EAC to enact laws punishing and negating the crime of genocide denial and propagating hate speeches embodying genocide ideology.

The resolution calls upon the EAC Summit (of Heads of State) to urge the UN to adopt a Resolution establishing an International Trust Fund for Survivors of the Genocide against the Tutsi and that the EAC do organise a Regional Conference to address the issues of Genocide as part of the 20th commemoration of the Genocide, next year.

via allAfrica.com: Rwanda: EALA Backs Rwanda’s Quest for ICTR Archives (Page 1 of 2).

via allAfrica.com: Rwanda: EALA Backs Rwanda’s Quest for ICTR Archives (Page 1 of 2).

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On Wednesday East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) parliamentarians passed a motion declaring their institution’s support for the decision of the Council of Ministers to ensure that all the archives of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) be transferred to Rwanda.

It is extremely unfortunate and frustrating that Rwandans are still being forced to agitate for this essential part of our own history. Make no mistake; those archives are our history.

They document the planning, execution and aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. They reveal the legal process in which the architects of the more than a million deaths faced justice.

They document the crimes that monsters like genocidal regime Prime Minister Jean Kambanda, Jean Paul Akayesu and the virulent Theoneste Bagosora committed.

It is simply mind-boggling that the archives would find another home. Where else would they be as valued? Where else would they provide such a lesson to the citizenry?

Placing the archives in any other hands would be a slap in the face of all Rwandans. The EALA realises this and so does the East African Community. The United Nations system must not betray Rwandans the way it did 19 years ago.

via allAfrica.com: East Africa: The ICTR Archives Belong to Rwandans.

via allAfrica.com: East Africa: The ICTR Archives Belong to Rwandans.

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Two recently published news articles further investigating the discovery of the Archives of the former Tunisian Government’s secret police.

Links to the News Stories as follows:

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