| Access to archival records: A review of current issues: A RAMP study |
Archives have always been concerned with memory and the present. Although archival records are evidence of past occurrences and transactions, they remain a living instrument of today's society. As a witness to human thoughts and actions, and a compendium of the underpinnings of societal rules and mores, they provide reference points for our daily lives and enrich our collective memory. This has been evident in recent years as archival information has been used to bridge the previously severed historical continuum of many nations. Never before have archives been so sought for evidence of past wrongs against indigenous or aboriginal peoples, ethnic minorities, and wartime victims. Never before have they so helped citizens face an uncertain future where technology and increasing deterritorialization question the traditional foundations of community life and values.
Technological advances also challenge our traditional archival practices and provide opportunities for improved archival service. The future of archives will be determined, in many ways, by the extent to which they are able to display their expertise in interacting with both information providers and users within a technologically driven "information society."
This RAMP study will focus on the need for archives to review their approaches and practices in the provision of researcher access services. It will address the social and technological changes that are prompting a transformation in archival work, and propose strategies for the delivery of access programmes that render records more readily available, usable, and understandable.