This page summarises the basic archive preservation that applies to multi-year subsidised organisations within the Arts Decree. It is both a yardstick for the arts organisations themselves, and a guide for government monitoring. For every guideline belonging to the basic preservation on TRACKS, the expected results and verifiable indicators are mentioned here.
Every organisation relates to the basic preservation guidelines using the 'comply or explain' principle. This means that, for every guideline, an organisation can choose to follow it or provide a very good reason as to why not. Arts organisations have the entire subsidy period within which to put these guidelines into practice and can therefore work in stages. Not every guideline needs to be allotted a place and implemented in the organisational plans right from the beginning. However, by the end of the subsidy period at least one action must be initiated for every guideline or an explanation given as to why this has not been done.
Within the basic preservation we make a distinction between guidelines that only apply to archive and collections developed during the subsidy period in question (A: active) and those that also apply to the past (R: retroactive). Every guideline contains a link that leads you to more information and context, as well as specific tools that you can use in the context of a guideline.
The basic preservation guidelines are intended to offer a verifiable framework for the arts organisation with a minimum of administration in order to enable internal (and where necessary external) re-use of the archive and the collections that an arts organisation creates in the course of its activities. Further questions and suggestions are always welcome via the contact form.
- Vision and policy
- Create a vision around the archive and/or collection(s)(R+A)
- Establish written objectives and actions for archive and/or collection preservation (R+A)
- Make agreements and determine who is responsible for what in archive and/or collection preservation
- Classification and description
- (Re)use and rights
- Sustainable preservation
1. Vision and policy
- What do you want to do with your archive?
- How are you going to do it?
- Who’s going to do it?
How do you get started? See the General introduction
1.1. Create a vision around the archive and/or collection(s)(R+A)
- You have developed your own vision of your archive and/or collection. This forms the basis for further objectives and actions which at the very least are related to the good, ordered and accessible state of your archive and/or collection. For multi-year subsidised organisations within the Arts Decree, this means that they relate to the basic preservation as formulated on TRACKS.
- The action plan of the first subsidy year includes a feasible vision concerning the preservation of your archive and collection(s).
- The vision describes how you envisage the maintenance, management and (internal/external) use of your analogue and digital archive and collection(s) and which services you want to organise around this. For multi-year subsidised organisations within the Arts Decree, this means that they relate to the basic preservation as formulated on TRACKS.
1.2. Establish written objectives and actions for archive and/or collection preservation (R+A)
- The established vision on archive and/or collection preservation gives rise to objectives and actions; see the tools in the section Vision.
- Arts organisations include both long- and short-term objectives and actions in action and policy plans.
- Time and resources are made available for the implementation of objectives and actions.
- A schedule is drawn up for the archive and/or collection preservation. This gives rise to agreements with colleagues and other parties involved (individual artists).
- Action plans and annual reports contain aims and actions resulting from the vision, such as integrated policy documents.
- The actions are set out in action plans specifying timing and estimated time invested by personnel, volunteers, interns etc.
- The expected costs (personnel, purchase of suitable packaging material, furnishing of archive space, digitisation, storage etc.) are included in the budget.
- From the first year of the subsidy period the action plan contains at least one action concerning archive and collection preservation. At least one vision is developed during that first year. Throughout the subsidy period actions are updated depending on this vision and the objectives.
1.3. Make agreements and determine who is responsible for what in archive and/or collection preservation
- There is at least one person within the arts organisation who is responsible for the archive and/or collection. He/she has the time and resources necessary to implement objectives and actions. When he/she is absent or leaves, another person can take over his/her responsibilities.
- The agreements are laid down in writing. That way, all colleagues know what and where the organisation's archive and/or collection are and they are aware of the agreements made and the policy that has been established.
- The established agreements and responsibilities result from a vision on archive and/or collection preservation (see Vision).
- The job description of the staff responsible for archive and collection preservation contains a description of their tasks and associated responsibilities. The personnel policy also ensures that these staff, where necessary, can improve their skills in this area.
- Written agreements about the extent to which you as an organisation are responsible for the preservation of the archive and collection(s) of the various artists to whom you offer support (commercial, production, distribution etc.)
- Written agreements with external parties who play a role in preserving your archive and collections or the archives of artists that you as an organisation support.
- A document that is accessible to all staff in which the actions regarding archive and collection preservation are recorded so that jobs can be taken over/continued by other staff when necessary.
- Do you know where all your archives and information are?
- It could be: a repository, cabinets, Google Drive, a server, external hard drives, with another organisation, at an employee’s home or archive institution…
- If you note this down, you have an overview document.
Survey your archive and/or collection (R+A)
How do you get started? See the 'Survey your archive and/or collection' tool.
- You have an overview of the various parts of the archive and/or collection, their location and their scope. Information about their condition and how they are arranged can also be included in the overview.
- A document that is accessible to the various staff and contains basic information about various defined parts of the archive and collection(s). The tool inventorise your archive and collection(s) can be a useful guide here.
3. Classification and description
- How do you classify your (paper and digital) documents, photos, audiovisual content...?
- Have agreements been made about how to classify?
- Has it been written down anywhere how everything is ordered, and can the people in the organisation who need it find this list/document easily?
Optimise your classification (A)
How do you get started? See the 'Create a filing plan/folder structure with a good naming system' tool.
- The classification used is documented and systematically and consistently applied.
- Documents and objects can be found and consulted with ease by the employees of the organisation.
- There is a document in which the classification of the analogue and digital archive is documented. This document is accessible to all staff.
- The digital and analogue archive is classified in accordance with agreements established about classification.
4. (Re)use and rights
- Is it clear for relevant employees how the copyrights, portrait rights and neighbouring rights… for all photos, image and audio content, sheet music, texts… are organised in your archive?
- This is primarily important for items published and used for shows and performances (website, brochures, posters…)
How do you get started? See the general introduction
Know what rights are associated with documents and objects in your archive and/or collection (A)
- The various sorts of rights are known by the staff involved.
- Note down the right-holders and the rights associated with items in your archive and/or collection.
- A declaration in the annual report confirming that the staff concerned have examined the tool sorts of rights.
- One or more documents describing which rights rely on newly created documents and who has the rights.
5. Sustainable preservation
- Are your paper documents (including posters, photos, brochures…) and your analogue audiovisual content kept somewhere dry, free of vermin, safe from fire and water damage, and protected from direct sunlight? Is this checked sometimes?
- Do you make regular backups of your digital files? How? Can you check that your digital files are still readable?
5.1. Preserve your analogue and paper archive and/or collection well (A)
- Your archive and your collection will remain in good condition. This means that your archives and collections can be consulted in the short and long term, their integrity will be preserved and they will continue to be legible and usable.
- Wherever possible, efforts are made to minimise damage by taking account of the following factors:
- Avoid physical damage through handling and storage
- Fire safety
- Avoid water damage
- Theft and vandalism prevention
- Protect from pests and mould
- Minimise exposure to light
- Protect from pollution
- Control temperature and temperature fluctuations
- Control humidity and humidity fluctuations
- The efforts undertaken, which are demonstrated in the event of a site visit by the Arts Division of the Flemish government's Department of Culture, Sport and Media in the context of the evaluation of the subsidy period.
5.2. Preserve your digital archive and/or collection well (A)
- Your digital archive and/or collection will be in good condition. This means that your archives and collections will remain physically intact, usable and able to be consulted, with no loss of essential functions or meaning.
- An error-free back-up is made at regular intervals, and is accompanied by a description of the method and frequency, while the recovery of the data has also been tested.
- As far as possible efforts are made to avoid foreseeable damage by taking into account the following factors:
- Focus points concerning analogue archive and collections also apply to hardware and physical carriers
- The following, among other things, applies specifically to data:
- handling and preservation (e.g. the accidental deletion, moving or changing of files, computer crashes, data loss during data migrations etc.)
- intentional harmful use of information technology by third parties (e.g. viruses, hacking etc.);
- obsolescence of, for example, hardware, interfaces, operating programmes, software, carriers, file formats and codecs
- loss of data as a result of inherent physical decline in the data carriers (so-called bitrot);
- loss of data as a result of successive migrations of digital files or systems, in particular generation loss of digital photo, video and audio material due to the use of lossy compression.
- There are error-free back-ups. There is a document outlining the back-up strategy.
- The efforts undertaken, as can be demonstrated in the event of a site visit by the Arts Division of the Flemish government's Department of Culture, Sport and Media in the context of the evaluation of the subsidy period.
- If your organisation can’t or doesn’t want to look after its own archive any more, do you know which institution you can transfer it to? Or who can help you with this?
Know where and how you can find a new storage place for your archive and/or collection (R+A)
- Possible and desired partners and collection-management institutions are known.
- A declaration in the annual report confirms that the staff concerned have read the tool Know how and when you can find a new storage place for your archive and collections.