I would wholly support this proposal. As I am now working in an
institution which is, in effect, a national business archive but in the
public sector and attached to a museum (!) I would welcome the opportunity
to join a special interest group in our professional body which would allow
me to re-connect with discussions of the current PROFESSIONAL issues in the
sector (ethics, job gradings, your place in the organisation, making the
case for business archives to an employer and to an industry, etc.) and
which could campaign (if that is not too strong a word) clearly and
unamiguously on a platform of representing the concerns of professional
archivists working in this sector.
This is a distinct area for which support is currently lacking - the BAC
perspective being (or supposed to be being) one of a joint association for
business archives users, business historians, owners and custodians whether
amateur or professional. The lack of such a special interest group in the
Society is, I believe, one of the reasons why the BAC has drifted in recent
years towards taking on the air of a professional body representing
business archivists and records managers, to the detriment of the interests
of other elements in its constituency. It seems to be a disese peculiar to
our small profession that we like to form numerous separate bodies all of
which try to take bites out of the same small cake. There is room for only
one governing body dealing with professional issues and ethics, and the
place for employment sectors to be represented is within that body.
The recent emails which reveal just how few (relatively) business
archivists are in the SRG, and that the SRG was founded initially to
represent university repositories is a useful reminder that, over 50 years
since the foundation of the Society, it still remains at its heart, the
Society of Local Archivists. SRG has come to be defined negatively in
opposition to a perceived norm - it is the home for "all archivists who are
not working in local government", and discussion of matters affecting only
local government archivists at a professional level (Best Value, local govt
reform) is still presented as automatically the main business of the
Perhaps it is time to leave this behind, and clearly to move towards a
matrix structure of "employment special interest groups" working alongside
less formal "subject area groups" where members get to belong to one of
each type of group free (and more if they pay). This chimes with the
Society of American Archivists' structure of "Sections" and "Roundtables",
where I am a member of the "Business Archives" and Museum Archives"
sections, and also a member of the "Archives Management" (= repository
management issues, not arrangement & description) roundtable.
Interestingly, in the US "local government records" are a roundtable, not a
We could then have what we should have had for a long time - a clear
Special Interest Group for "Local Government Archivists".
Best wishes with this proposal - I am willing to help.
Curator, Archive Collections
National Railway Museum
YORK YO26 4XJ
Tel +44 (0)1904 686 289
Fax +44 (0)1904 611 112
Email [log in to unmask]