1.1 The Definition and Role of Archives was given by Archives for the 21st Century, (The National Archives, 2009) as follows: “Archives are the record of the everyday activities of governments, organisations, businesses and individuals. They are central to the record of our national and local stories and are vital in creating cultural heritage and supporting public policy objectives. Their preservation ensures that future generations will be able to learn from the experiences of the past to make decisions about the present and future”.
1.2 Archives provide rich and vital sources of evidence about past and present life. This evidence is unique in its ability to foster and inspire a sense of place, time and belonging. Archives help to bring the past to life, help us to understand why our present world is as it is and support the role of today's citizen. They provide authoritative evidence of past events for everyone to use, for educational, and academic, social, legal, business, medical and other uses. Archives may be used to solve problems and defend rights, and to cultivate pride in individual and community identities.
1.3 Archives are created as documentation to accompany human processes of many kinds. As time passes these records are often the sole survivors of organizations, institutions and individuals, and provide unique evidence, however flawed, of past events and previous generations.
Archives and documents in all media (including paper, parchment, maps, plans, photographs, films and electronic) provide unique evidence of the historical development of places and people’s daily lives.
1.4 Ceredigion Archives (and its predecessor body Dyfed Archives, Cardiganshire Area Record Office) has protected the archival record since its creation in 1974, safeguarding irreplaceable information assets for current and future use by means of correct management of the archives to professional standards. We collect, protect, preserve, manage, share and promote the archival legacy of the county of Ceredigion and Cardiganshire for the use of current and future generations.
We also contribute to the modern county of Ceredigion achieving its priorities especially with regard to sustainable development, a strong economy, better education and skills and independent healthy living; and we act, with our Information and Records Management Service, as the corporate memory of the authority and its predecessor bodies.
1.5 Statutory framework for the archive service is provided under:
• Local Government Act 1972 and Local Government (Records) Act 1962
• Local Government (Wales) Act 1994 section 60
• Parochial Registers and Records Measure 1978
• Public Records Acts 1958 and 1967
1.6 Access to collections complies with:
• Freedom of Information Act 2000
• Data Protection Act 1998
• Environmental Information Regulations 2005
2. Mission Statement
To preserve, manage and make available evidential material (both historic and contemporary) relating to the county of Ceredigion through our Archive Service, and to support the local authority through our Information and Records Management Service. To make the information in our care available to all who need it, within a framework of legal compliance and a good understanding of our user’s needs. To provide training in Information Security and Data Protection to the authority and to have responsibilities for, and an advisory role in the responses to Subject Access Requests for the authority.
3. The Purpose of this Policy
3.1 The collections management policy aims to communicate our strategic and integrated approach to collections management through our policies, procedures and forwards plans, directing the service’s work on all aspects of collection development, conservation and preservation, collection information and access.
4. Collections Management
4.1 Ceredigion Archives’ collections are managed in accordance with its own approved policies, within the Archive Service Accreditation Standard, and following the International Council on Archives Code of Ethics as expressed through the Code of Conduct of the Archive and Records Association.
4.2 We select and acquire unique and irreplaceable archive material of enduring historical significance in accordance with our Collections Development Policy and plans. We accept transfers of material from the Information and Records Management service of Ceredigion County Council and offer facilities for organisations and individuals to deposit or donate archive collections for safekeeping and for the benefit of research. Our collections development planning aims to ensure that our archive collections continue to reflect the community we serve.
4.3 We accession, catalogue and provide information about the archive collections in accordance with our Collections Information Policy and plans. All cataloguing is managed and moderated by the senior archivists. We document our collections in accordance with appropriate professional standards and make the catalogues available on our website following the International Council on Archives General International Standard of Archival Description [ISAD(G)].
4.4 We preserve, care for and procure archive conservation work on the archive collections in accordance with our Collections Care and Conservation Policy. We follow the guidance in PD5454: 2012, Guide for the storage and exhibition of archival materials and the Specification for managing environmental conditions for cultural collections PAS198:2012. Conservation is essential to the long-term survival and accessibility of the archive collections. Ceredigion Archives does not have an in-house conservator but all conservation is procured from trained and qualified and/or accredited conservators.
4.5 We provide access to Ceredigion’s archival heritage in accordance with our Access Policy and Standards and with respect to the Equality Act 2010, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Data Protection Act 1998, Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and current and relevant Copyright legislation. We provide direct public access, free of charge, in our search-room, which is staffed to assist researchers in their work and to interpret the archive collections. We belong to the County Archive Research Network (CARN) which operates a nationally recognised system of reader's tickets to support the security of collections in local authority record offices.
5.1 Our policy statements refer to relevant legislation, professional standards and codes of practice for cultural collections where appropriate. In particular our policies have been written with reference to the principles and guidelines laid down in the following:
• PD5454:2012 – Guidance for the storage and exhibition of archival materials
• PAS197:2009 – Code of practice for cultural collections management
• PAS198:2012 – Specification for managing environmental conditions for cultural collections
• BS4971:2002 - Repair and allied processes for the conservation of documents.
• ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description
• Data protection Act 1998
• Freedom of Information Act 2000
• Environmental Information Regulations 2004
6.1 New deposits of records arrive through passive activity, routine accrual, and legal requirement. Analysis of catalogued and uncatalogued records has highlighted areas of weakness within the collection and it is planned to further identify gaps and as a result actively develop the collections in these specific areas.
6.2 All new accessions are assessed for preservation and conservation needs, and prioritised for cataloguing. The catalogue backlog is actively managed, seeking opportunities for external funding, project cataloguing posts and supervised volunteers. Cataloguing and preparation of finding aids is a priority in order to sustain and improve accessibility to the range of our collections. The provision of surrogates will be utilized to enhance access to certain collections or parts of collections.
6.3 User demand and interest helps to determine cataloguing priorities. User demand, preservation assessment and cost-benefit analysis helps to determine conservation and digitisation priorities.
6.4 Ceredigion Archives will record the information required to ensure digital materials are preserved and can be retrieved and used. A separate Digital Preservation and Digitization Strategy will be developed as part of the Archives and Records Council Wales all-Wales Digital Preservation developments.
6.5 The service maintains a Disaster Plan which provides the strategy and procedures for dealing with the various risks associated with records storage, their rescue and preservation.
7. Related Policies
• Access Policy (CA)
• Collections Development Policy (CA)
• Collections Information Policy (CA)
• Collections Care and Conservation Policy (CA)
• Disaster Plan (CA)
• Welsh Language Policy (Ceredigion County Council)
8. Review of Policy
This policy will be reviewed at least every five years. The policy was written in October 2017 and will be reviewed in October 2022 or sooner if circumstances dictate.