A key element of our Records at Risk project has been to develop a framework to support archive services throughout Wales in surveying and rescuing the records of private organisations. We have developed a number of resources and guidance documentation that provides information on risk monitoring and conducting records surveys, with a focus on remotely conducted work. We hope that the toolkit will help archive services to identify and support external organisations that may hold vulnerable records of archival value, whether by helping them to maintain an in-house archive, or through the acquisition of a collection at risk.

What kinds of resources are available?
The toolkit includes a range of resources relevant for archive services interested in monitoring archives and records at risk, as well as surveying the records of external organisations. This includes in particular:

  • A guidance document and accompanying video tutorial on carrying out remote records surveys. This provides information about both planning and implementing a survey of records-keeping practices among external organisations such as businesses and charities;
  • A guidance document and accompanying video tutorial on insolvency risk monitoring and rescuing business records. This follows each step of the process from researching and identifying insolvent companies with records of archival value, to contacting insolvency practitioners, and arranging for the donation of records to your service.
  • Guidance from the Crisis Management Team on rescuing records from insolvent companies, including information for both archivists and insolvency practitioners. This information has been reproduced and translated into Welsh with the permission of the CMT, and is also available in English on their website.
  • A collection development register which links to the current collection development policies of archive services across Wales. The register aims to provide a single point of access to policies in one place to ensure those involved in rescuing records, including archivists and potential donors, can more easily identify repositories that may be able to house an archive collection at risk.
  • A resource list and bibliography with links to resources produced by external organisations.

Where can I find the resources?
The resources will be published shortly on the Archives Wales staff toolkit webpages. Among other topics currently on the toolkit, you can find information and resources relating to the Digital Preservation Policy for Wales, the Saving the Bits Digital Preservation training programme, and marketing resources for the Explore Your Archive campaign.

Who can use the resources?
The Records at Risk resources are publicly accessible and available to all who would like to use them. They are tailored towards archivists and archive services operating in Wales but may be helpful for anybody with an interest in surveying and rescuing the archives and records of private organisations.

How can I find out more about the resources?
An introduction to the Records at Risk resources will be provided at our upcoming Archives and Records Council Wales Forum on Tuesday 22nd March. We will also welcome invited speakers to discuss their experiences in rescuing and surveying records, including contributions from representatives of The National Archives, The Ballast Trust, and Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives. Please email archives.wales if you would like to register for the event.

The Records at Risk resources produced on behalf of the Archives and Records Council Wales have been made possible due to the funding provided by The National Archives Covid-19 Archives Fund.

Gemma Evans,
Records at Risk Project Manager,
Archives and Records Council Wales

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