As an SRG Committee member I can best answer this one. The SRG's membership
is currently in the region of 550, which is around a third of the Society.
Its membership consists of archivists from a variety of sectors. The largest
body represented are university archivists, the audience which the SRG was
originally set up to serve, and for which is still has an emphasis. As far
as I can tell, business archivists in the SRG number around 75. I do not
know how many others would be in the RMG.
The SRG's particular focus these days is on archivists working, often alone,
in small, poorly resourced repositories. Obviously, this does not account
for all its membership, and I have been wondering of late whether someone
from my environment is best suited to represent SRG members (there are,
incidentally, no archivists from the academic sector currently on the SRG
Committee, whereas until recently there were at least 3 business archivists,
including the Secretary and one of the two Chairs). Also, whether the SRG is
the best vehicle to represent me within the Society as a business archivist,
given the size and scope of its membership.
None of this is meant to be a criticism of the SRG. As a committee member
for the past few years I am hardly in a position to criticise. Susan Snell
and David Prior whilst co-Chairs have done a terrific job to promote the SRG
community and its wider concerns, most significantly perhaps in securing a
British Library grant to undertake a mapping exercise of specialist
repositories which would otherwise have been completely overlooked in the
similar surveys of national and local authority archives. Members surveys
that we have undertaken suggest that the SRG is widely appreciated, and the
fact that it is still growing confirms this. Quite simply, the SRG has come
to be seen as the natural home of archivists who do not work in the public
sector (this is again reflected in our feedback).
Recognising its increasing size, and concerned to better represent members
outside the south east, the SRG has recently set up a network of regional
representatives to feed back issues into the Committee. It has been
suggested that, rather than having a regional organisation, the SRG instead
should have one based around the sectors in which its members work. In this
scenario, there could be a Business Records Sub-Group of the SRG, and others
for universities, historic houses etc. I have been asked to raise this at
the SRG AGM, but I have to say that a distinct Business Records Group seems
to be the preferred option of most people I have spoken with. It would be
interesting to learn of others' views on this.
I have rambled somewhat, but in short I do not believe that the SRG would
unduly suffer by the setting up of a Business Archives Group (BRG),
particularly if some archivists from the universities put themselves forward
to serve on the committee (gentle hint). In any case, there is nothing to
prevent people from belonging to both groups, which would be my personal
intention if the BRG gets off the ground.
As to the geographical spread of members, London is inevitably a focus for
many people because of ease of access, even if they do not actually work
there. However, I would suggest that commercial pressures mean that there is
more likelihood of business archivists working outside London than those in
the public sector.
British Telecommunications plc
* 020 7492 8799
* 020 7242 1973
* [log in to unmask]
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Helen Osborn [SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Wednesday, February 09, 2000 3:13 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: RE: A Business Archives SIG for the Society of Archivists?
> I think in general this is a good idea and I like the idea of uniting all
> us who work with business archives in both public and private sectors.
> How denuded would the SRG be if all the business archivists left to join a
> new group? Would the new group have a majority of members in London to
> detriment of those further away? (I am thinking of travel to meetings,
> Helen Osborn
> Archivist & Records Manager
> Young & Co.'s Brewery, P.L.C.
> The Ram Brewery, Wandsworth, London SW18 4JD
> e:mail - [log in to unmask]
> Tel: +44 20 8875 7000 Fax: +44 20 8875 7100
> Reg. No. 32763 England
> Web site (including map): http://www.youngs.co.uk/
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Jeannette Strickland
> [SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> > Sent: Wednesday, February 09, 2000 11:33 AM
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: A Business Archives SIG for the Society of Archivists?
> > Dear Colleagues,
> > As business archivists we feel that we constitute a distinct and growing
> > community within the Society of Archivists whose views are currently
> > under-represented. Until now, archivists such as ourselves may have
> > attempted to find a voice within the Society through either the SRG or
> > RMG, both of which do sterling work within their specialised areas.
> > Neither, however, was originally set up to encompass business archives
> > and, as a result, our influence has been unfocused and muted.
> > We further believe that there are sufficient issues specific to any
> > professionals who care for business archives, including those in the
> > public sector, such that there is a need for a Specialist Interest Group
> > within the Society. In this way we can have an input into matters that
> > directly affect us and ensure that the problems and needs of our sector
> > are fully understood. This message, therefore, is a means of sounding
> > likeminded colleagues.
> > This proposal is not intended as a criticism of the Business Archives
> > Council or the Business Archives Council of Scotland. These bodies do a
> > splendid job for business archives in general and their owners, users
> > practitioners as a group. However, they do not provide a suitable forum
> > in which business archivists can meet to discuss their problems and
> > concerns, and neither should they. Such a forum should surely be within
> > our professional association, not an external body.
> > The proposed group should be seen as complimenting the work of the BACs
> > and other specialist interest groups in the Society, whilst providing a
> > vital plank in the development of the Society of Archivists and the
> > profession in general. It would provide a forum for all professionals
> > have business archives in their care, and thus unite archivists from
> > and central government, museums and universities, with core business
> > archivists.
> > Please publish expressions of interest or contributions on list, or send
> > to one of the following:
> > Jessie Campbell, Barclays Group Archives (e-mail
> > <[log in to unmask]>)
> > Helen Ford, BG Group (e-mail <[log in to unmask]>)
> > David Hay, BT Archives (e-mail <[log in to unmask]>)
> > Nigel Hardman, Alliance & Leicester Group Archives (Fax: 0151-966 2831)
> > Jeannette Strickland, Unilever Archives (e-mail
> > <[log in to unmask]>)
> > ***OUR APOLOGIES FOR ANY CROSS-POSTING***
> > << File: ATT00082.ATT >>