The starting point for taking care of your archives is a vision statement from your organisation on the subject. What are your goals? Why are they important? How do you want to reach those goals?

The importance of having a vision

A vision statement makes it clear what your organisation’s intentions are for your archive or collections. These intentions can be modest (e.g. make documents with evidential value easily findable) or very ambitious (e.g. organise the archive as a source for research and artistic reuse). Whatever you want to achieve with your archive or collections, it’s important that you take the time to consider your vision and write it down.

Your archive or collection consists of administrative and business documents (contracts, grant applications, invoices...), creative documents and items (sketches, models, photos...) and subcollections (books, magazines, costumes...) that are produced as you carry out your work activities. Good archival management starts with the intention to keep your archives and collections in a good, well-organised and accessible condition. This way, your documents do not lose their reliability and usability.

As a person or organisation under private law, with the exception of a number of legal obligations that need to be taken into account, you can largely determine the composition and value of your archive or collection yourself. Organisations that are structurally funded within the Arts Act must be responsible for their archive. It is of course in everyone’s interest to be as well-informed as possible when managing their own archive or collection. The structure of your organisation becomes more transparent, you can find documents and objects more easily and show external parties what you have.

You can then use your written-down vision as a basis for setting your objectives and determining what you need to do to achieve them. These goals and actions are included in the policy and action plans. You can then work on these actions if you’ve allocated a small amount to archive and collection care in your annual budget.

The most important thing to do is to make concrete agreements with your employees and co-workers. THis way, it becomes clear for everyone what the intentions for the archive and collection are, where people can find the necessary documents and objects, and how they can manage them correctly. Allocating responsibilities also helps with good archive and collection care.


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