ICA meeting 2015 in Reykjavik

By Ryder Kouba
The International Council on Archives held its third annual meeting in beautiful Reykjavik, Iceland, on the 28th and 29th of September. Attendance was about 450 archivists from over 70 countries, including SAA President Nancy McGovern. The hashtag #ICAReykjavik2015 was active and resulted in good comments and links; the main conference website is also full of information on the presentations and presenters.
Archives graffiti in Reykjavik, 2015. Photo by Ryder Kouba.

Archives graffiti in Reykjavik, 2015. Photo by Ryder Kouba.

A key point of the conference was ICA’s Africa Strategy (currently document are only available to members), which was approved by the Program Committee, and which Elvis Otobo was interviewed about. The PERSIST program, supported by ICA and UNESCO, also had a strong presentation and informal meeting as it moves forward in its software preservation efforts.

Kouba4_Saga_of_the_People_of_Kjalarnes

Saga of the People of Kjalarnes from the The Saga Settlement Exhibition, Reykjavik, Iceland, 2015. Photo by Ryder Kouba.

Due to the short conference, there were many overlapping sessions, so I was unable to attend everything I wanted to see. However, the papers I did so were quite good, though as a small institution with limited resources, the applicability to us of some of the more impressive projects was limited. Having said that, the Aezel Projek (English description) was extremely interesting, and they made a interesting case for the value of archives in increasing home prices.

 

Americans were well-represented in an interesting session on how American universities document controversy, either in the past or contemporary. It was especially interesting as American working at a university filled with controversy since the Egyptian Revolution.

Icelandic 1703 census. Photo by Ryder Kouba.

Icelandic 1703 census. Photo by Ryder Kouba.

The Þjóðskjalasafn Íslands (National Archives of Iceland) was kind enough to take attendees on tours of their facilities, which consist of a repurposed dairy factory. They also showed off important documents in the archives, including most notably the 1703 census. There was also a small, but excellent, display of medieval Icelandic manuscripts, such as the Book of Settlements.

Inside National Archives of Iceland. Photo: Ryder Kouba.

Inside the National Archives of Iceland. Photo: Ryder Kouba.

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