This part of our site is devoted to a Manual designed to assist with the development and operation of a local church or small organisation archive. It based on professional principles and uses traditional paper documents and processes which were the standard when it was first written in the 1990s.
Since then, of course, the digital world has appeared, and this means that archiving procedures and policies have to make the transition. As far as archives are concerned, the new digital world is the same only different - the same because the end process is still to preserve records for as long as they are needed in such a way that they are well kept and accessible to those who will use them. However the records themselves are different, the processes used to create, manage and retrieve them are different, and the media on which they reside and means of managing them are different. There are other differences too, but that gives a simple outline of the situation.
There are at least two aspects to going digital - one is to manage the documents now being created digitally (they are “born digital”), while the other is turn existing paper records into a digital form (so they become “re-born digital” documents), and then of course, to manage them in the same way as those born digital.
For some information about —
Creating and managing a digital archives - click here
Because virtually every new document (including video and graphic material) is now born digital, the pressure is on to handle them efficiently from an archival perspective. On the other hand, the advantages of digitising existing documents is that they can be handled as one collection with the new documents; also they are able to be stored more efficiently, and can be be searched and reproduced much more easily.
We are in the process of producing some guidance on these new developments to supplement the Manual which is currently the main focus of this section of our website, so watch this space for more information. (Many large libraries, archives and professional associations already have a great deal of information readily available on the internet and in other forms, so you can find a great deal of guidance already which can be adapted to your local situation.)
In the meantime, we suggest that those organisations with a good IT system and support move as soon as possible to a full digital record system. They can also begin to digitise their existing paper records and then make a policy decision as to whether they will retain the paper ones or dispose of them.
Those organisations which do not have access to a good IT system and support should maintain their records according to the traditional paper system until they can move to the full digital environment. This means producing hard copies of all important documents and continuing to process them according to the principles in the Manual on this website.