Wednesday, 24 August 2016

'Global Futures' for archives

Next week sees the gathering of archivists and conservators from all over the UK and beyond, to London, for the annual Archives and Records Association (ARA) conference. For the lone archivist working in the north of England, it’s a chance to travel to the bright lights of the capital city and mix with other like minded professionals. This creates an opportunity to share new ideas, receive advice from your peers and hear about some of the wonderful work going on in archive repositories across the country and beyond.



Thanks to the generosity of a bursary from the ARA, the Together Trust is able to be represented this year. This year’s theme of ‘Global Futures’ might seem unrelated to a small local archive collection but in a global world it’s important to recognize how we fit into a constantly changing sector. Plus, as regular readers to this blog will know, we have never been confined to just one area of the world. Although largely based in the North West of England for the majority of our 146 years of existence, we’ve also ventured across the oceans. The archives that have been so lovingly preserved over the generations, are accessed by genealogists from all over the UK. They’re also sought after in Canada and America, due to the charity’s presence in Ontario between 1872 and 1914.


Working the fields in Canada

Therefore the charity has a need for a global presence, so that individuals and organisations further afield are aware of the collection and its research opportunities for them. The charity may have a stronger interest to its local communities but its impact over the years on individuals has rippled across the country and abroad. It is important that we provide a globally accessible collection in line with other archives. Of course many collections have gone along the route of digitisation. The emergence over the last decade of easily accessible record sets online, makes research possible for all. From the genealogist who lives in the next village to the original collection, to the historian studying abroad, with access to a computer and the internet, any digital record can be seen from any place. Suddenly a small local archive can become an important resource across the globe.


Digital resources at the Together Trust
With the charity’s 150th approaching in 2020 (which will be here before we know it!), the chance to see what other archives are doing with their collections is an excellent way to stimulate new ideas for the future and open our collection even further. We hope it will create new ideas our supporters will enjoy.

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