My journey to Archives
My name is Carleen Dekarski and I began working within the quality management field for a French multinational in Australia. During this time I managed the quality management system while working with our branches around the country producing the policies, procedures, guidelines and conducting compliance audits to successfully achieve ISO9001 certification. Little did I know that the skills gained within an ISO9001 environment would lead further. The transition from a quality management role into information management was incredibly easy.
In 2007 I moved to the United Kingdom where I worked and travelled for a UK “watchdog” organisation providing support and training to their 1500 users who were transitioning from using servers to store the information they were producing. The users were now required to create and store their information within a newly acquired electronic document and records management system. This was a steep learning curve for the users and the organisation alike. Gone was the need to transfer miles and miles of information where someone else would decide what happened to it. Instead a new journey of creating and managing vasts amounts of digital born material was being discovered along with what was and wasn’t classed as a record that should be kept permanently.
From the UK I transitioned into the archive profession in New Zealand when an opportunity arose in a local government organisation.
The previous Archivist had already left so the process of gathering knowledge and up skilling from an information management perspective to an archive perspective was intense but thoroughly interesting. To me the role as an Archivist was the information management process come full circle.
During my time working with archives I have observed that there are many community groups, businesses and individuals that are increasingly understanding the historical, cultural or evidential value of the information they hold. Identifying the need is one task, another is to undertake the challenge.
Here in lies the issue. The need is identified but often the skill set is not available in-house and sometimes neither is a suitable budget.
My hope is that this website works to share with you the experiences and knowledge that I have acquired through my transition into archiving and that you are able to take away some pointers that will assist you in your journey. It is intended to identify the archival principles, encourage them to be maintained but also to address how we can best achieve these principles within the confines of resources available. My fear is that we lose access to an incredible wealth of archives because people are too scared to undertake the task as it seems too daunting or costly. My aim is that you strive to at least achieve the core archival principles to the best of your ability and resources available. Surely this is better than no one having attempted anything and facing valuable archives lost forever?
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