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LINS 210: Archives Administration

Course objectives
By the end of this course the student should be able to:

Describe archives
Explain how archives are acquired, accessioned, arranged and described
Explain legislations involved with archives administration
Demonstrate skills for automating archival records
Utilize management skills to manage a archival repository
Discuss archival practices in Kenya

Course outline
1.0 Introduction to archives

Value and use of archives
Characteristics of archives
Internal structure and organization

2.0 Archives Legislation

3.0 Appraisal and Acquisition of Archives
4.0 Accessioning of archival materials
5.0 Arrangement of archives

Principle of providence
Principles of the sanctity of the original order
Record group concept
Evolution of archive group concept
The five levels of arrangement

6.0 Description of archives

Levels of description
Categories of finding aids
7.0 Preservation/conservation
8.0 Security Measures
Administration access
Security Measures
9.0 Automation of archival records

10.0 Archives building

General Plan
11.0 Repository management
12.0 history and development of archival practices in Kenya
1. Roper, M & Millar L (Ed) (1999) Managing Current Archives. London: IRMT
Kallaus, J (1987) Archives Management 4th edition. Cincinnati: South Western
ISO 15489-1:2001 Information and documentation- Archives management.
Cook, M (1993) Information Management and Archival Data. London; Library

Association Publishing
Emmerson Peter (1989) How to Manage Your Archives. Britain: ICSA


Lundgren Terry & Lindgren Carol (19890 Archives Management in the


Computer Age. Boston: PWS-KENT

Roper, M & Millar L (Ed) (1999) Managing Public Sector Archives.




Mbembe, A (2005).The power of the Archive and Its Limits.


Cox R J &Wallace D A (ed)(2002) Archives and the Public Good; Accountability


and Records in Modern Society. USA: Greenwood

McKinnon (1994) Records Management and Accountability of Governance.


Society of American Archivists. (2005). A Code of Ethics for Archivists.

1.0 Introduction to Archives Administration

1.0.1 Definition of terms
Archives: Records, usually but not necessarily non-current records, of enduring
value selected for permanent preservation. Archives will normally be preserved in
an archival repository.
Record: A document regardless of form or medium created, received, maintained
and used by an organization (public or private) or an individual in pursuance of legal
obligations or in the transaction of business, of which it forms a part or provides
Archival institution: The agency responsible for selecting, acquiring, preserving,
and making available archives. They are also known as an archival agency or
archives. Note:To avoid confusion, the term archives is used to refer to an
institution only in formal titles such as records and archives institution or National
Archival administration: Refers to the professional management of an archival
facility through the application of archival principles and techniques.

1.0.2 Value and uses of archives

The values of archives can then be thought as research value, evidential value and
preservation of institutional and societal memory.

Research Value
Archives embody and re-live societys collective memory and experiences. Records
enable scholars and the general public to use records for all manner of research
including historical, cultural, sociological, demographic, scientific, medical and

Evidential value
One other greatest value of archives is the fact that they provide evidence of past
events. For example archives have proved useful to solve land disputes among
individuals, organisations and even countries. Indeed in Kenya now, they are the
archives which are heavily being relied upon to solve the dispute between Kenya
and Uganda regarding Lake Victorias Migingo Island.

Archives have also been

previously used to solve boundary issues between Kenya and Sudan (Daily Nation,

Preservation of history/institutional memory

Archives help preserve the history of a society and an organization. They document
the genesis of an organization. They show the transition an organization has gone
through. This kind of information is essential especially when developing strategic










informational value. When archives are selected and preserved, a whole societys
way of life is preserved. Archives have information that can assist the society to
reclaim its lost values through identification and redesign of traditional practices
and even resurrect languages. They can assist reconstruct cultural values.
Archives in Context of Society

Archives play a crucial role in fostering society well-being. Archival documents are the
foundations of our collective understanding of who we are. any thorough examination or
exploration of our identity, our history and our future would flounder without archives.
Mckemmish and Glenda (1999) note that archives play the following roles with
regard to society: facilitating good governance; underpinning accountability
mechanisms; constituting corporate, national and societal memory; constructing
individual, community and national identity; providing authoritative sources of
Archives and Good governance
Records are required for developing and implementing policies, planning, keeping
track of actions, achieving consistency in decision making, providing effective
service to citizens and achieving greater efficiency. The national archive for instance
is a public trust on which a nations democracy depends. It enables people to
inspect for themselves the record of what government has done. It enables officials
and agencies to review their actions and help citizens hold them accountable.

In Kenya for instance, archives served a critical role in unravelling issues around the Goldenberg
Scandal that led to irregular payments or siphoning out of the country of billions of shillings
through a dubious trade in gold, between the government and individuals.
Archives were also useful in handling land issues between the Maasai community of Kenya and
white settlers, where the Maasai were demanding their land back after 99 years of leasing. The
documents held in the Kenya National Archives were instrumental in resolving the conflict.

Archives and Human Rights

The absence of records impacts upon transparency and accountability of
government. The baseline of this argument is that where there are no records, there
is no transparency and accountability. Where there is no transparency and
accountability, there is no good governance and human rights will be undermined.
Archives support education of generations. Archives provide materials for even
writing historical books for the education of present generations. Today in the Kenya
National Archives, school children pay visit to be educated on some of the
traditional and cultural practices of Kenya communities courtesy of the Murumbi
collection that has a huge collection of artefacts across Africa including weapons,
clothing, artilleries etc.
Cultural Preservation
A very important use of archives is preservation of culture. Archives document
cultural practices of communities which can then be transferred to subsequent

For instance in the Kenya National Archives, the Murumbi collection

provides a rich source of cultural information on various communities cultural

practice through the various artefacts preserved by the collection.
1.0.3 Characteristics of archives
The following preservation characteristics have been put forward to help preserve
the legal integrity of a business record while stored and archived.

authentic: the measure of the reliability of a record (i.e., its ability to remain
unaltered, unchanged, and uncorrupted)

encapsulated: the measure of the self-referential linkage of logical

components in a record

identifiable: the measure of the specification of unique identification

boundaries in a record

intelligible: the measure of the integrity of the bit stream represented in a


readable: the measure of the integrity of the bit stream device processing of
a record

reconstructable: the measure of the quality of rebuilding the same structure

and intellectual content of a record

retrievable: the measure of the capability to locate objects and parts of a


understandable: the measure of the quality of the context of creation of a


1.0.4 Internal structure and organization

Normally, an archival institution will divide its activities into four discrete groups,
which can usefully be linked in the departmental structure. These are:
Repository: activities connected with the reception of new archival material into
custody; the preservation of this material in storage; provision of equipment for this
purpose; maintenance of the storage areas (the repository itself); administrative
control of materials, especially arrangement of the materials, movement of
materials into and out of the repository and from place to place within it; security of
the repository.
Search room or reference area: provision of facilities for users and maintenance
of the search room as a suitable environment for the consultation of archival
materials; control of registration and conduct of users; procedures for ordering,
issue and return of archival materials; provision and management of copying
Finding aids and publications: intellectual control of the holdings; preparation
and publication of a guide to the holdings; research and analysis; preparation of

lists, indexes and other finding aids; other publications; exhibitions and outreach
Preservation services: maintenance and monitoring of the environmental
conditions in the repository; conservation and repair facilities and programmes;
copying and photographic equipment and programmes.
2.0 Archival Legislation
The archives law should include the following provisions.

Establishment of the archival facility as a public institution: The law should

grant it the necessary powers and duties. These include a definition of the
jurisdiction of the institution over records generated in the government
service and over any other records of importance that are included in the


remit of the archival institution.

A public right of access to the holdings of the archival institution: This
legislation will include a policy on the regular opening of government records
under clear conditions, usually lapse of time, and a workable procedure for
sensitivity review and declassification. Public rights of access should be
clearly defined and, as far as possible, follow the best models for this kind of
legislation. Where there is freedom of information legislation, this usually
takes precedence, but efforts should be made to ensure that it is compatible


with both the letter and the spirit of archival legislation.

Protection for the rights of individuals and organizations that may have
provided information held in the records, under terms of confidentiality. These
provisions should also conform to the best models. Again where there is
privacy or data protection legislation, this usually takes precedence, but
efforts should be made to ensure that it is compatible with both the letter


and the spirit of archival legislation

Provision for public scrutiny of the archival institution and its success in
achieving its targets: This provision should ideally include the establishment
of structures whereby advice, consultation and co-ordination with parallel
services can be obtained in the formulation of policy and the execution of
programmes and activities.