Weekly News Roundup – December 30, 2016





Weekly News Roundup December 23, 2016


New resources:

  • (Publication about the research of Patricia Kennedy Grimsted on the Pan-European Cultural Valuables that got displaced during the Second World War and ended up in Eastern Europe after the war. On the occasion of her eightieth birthday Dr Grimsted reviewed her quarter-of-a-century archival research into where those valuables went to and how they got back to their place of origin … or not.)
  • The December edition of the PERICLES FP7 newsletter is out now: http://eepurl.com/ctfP39

    In this last issue of 2016 we celebrate a year of achievements with the final project conference and recent results.

Call for Papers:

  • Archives and Records Association, UK and Ireland

    Annual Conference: 30 Aug – 1 Sept 2017, Manchester, UK

    Call for Papers: ‘Challenge the Past. Set the Agenda.’

    The deadline for submission of proposals is Tuesday 31 January 2017.


    Full details of the conference call for papers is found at http://conference.archives.org.uk

Weekly News Roundup-December 16, 2016

Different formats are important to document underrepresented communities: Prague’s Jewish cemetery to go digital. The names from the 12,000 tombstones in Prague’s Old Jewish Cemetery are being catalogued on a digital database.

The municipal government of the Spanish city of Nigrán has invested 6,000 euros in two dehumidifiers to protect the city’s records. These are housed in the municipal building, under which runs an underground river. Despite the river, records from 2 centuries, still survive: La humedad daña documentos históricos en el archivo de Nigrán.

More on humidity and archives, the Historical Archive of Magdalena Grande (Colombia) needs help. Looters, termites, humidity, and the government’s lack of appreciation for archives have resulted in the deterioration of an archive that holds 1600 linear meters, approximately 4 million documents dating from 1787 to 1985: El moho y el olvido acaban con el Archivo Histórico del Magdalena

By mid-December 2016, 348 fonds have been transferred to 35 kilometers of the new building of Mexico’s National Archives: Al día de hoy, se han trasladado 348 Fondos Documentales equivalentes a 35 kilómetros lineales al nuevo edificio del #AGNMex

Report of a meeting of the Archives Portal Europe Country Managers’ in Slovakia, 30 November 2016, with some comments and views from the UK and Archives Hub perspective: Archives Portal Europe Country Managers’ Meeting

Seems this is a good moment to review ICA’s  Basic Principles on the role of Archivists and Records Managers in support of Human Rights

Gender, Slavery, and the Archive in Cuba: An Interview with Aisha Finch.  The role of marginalized, or seemingly invisible, slaves in this rebellion became important for me to think about early in the research process. In fact, I started to wonder about the hidden labor of rebellion partly because of what I was not seeing in the archives. It felt disconcerting to be reading through this massive trial record, with literally thousands of pages of testimony, and to be still encountering so many recurring silences. I had several experiences where my questions and problems with the archive ultimately became central to the argument of my book.

More on the New Archives Law in Mexico:

As a consequence of the activism of historians and library science professionals, the law will not be presented to the Mexican Senate during the next period of sessions. This gives time for more work, analysis, and proposals. The objective is to have a law that allows transparency and unrestricted access to archives. This way, the law will give way to an inclusive and plural historic memory. To achieve this, the Board of the Mexican Committee of Historic Sciences asks historians to continue the activism against the current initiative: http://www.h-mexico.unam.mx/node/18771


Weekly News Roundup – December 9, 2016

Our weekly roundup of archives-related news from around the globe

Conferences and CFPs

Weekly News Roundup-December 2, 2016


In past weeks, Mexican scholars, archivists, and LIS professionals have organized forums and issued declarations to make known their discontent with the new General Law of Archives that was presented to the Mexican Senate on November 17, 2016. This new law would supersede the Federal Archives Law which has been in place since 2012. Why is this new law troublesome?

The new law proposes the creation of a Ruling Council of the National Archives System. The Council would be under the supervision of the Secretary of the Interior. The law also states that the president of the country would designate the Director of Mexico’s National Archives. These provisions take away the technical and administrative autonomy of the National Archives and the National System of Archives, and thus eliminate the checks and balances that such institutions should provide.

Although this law is supposed to guarantee transparency, it does not guarantee access to public and historic records. For this reason, scholars and LIS professionals request that the new law sets standards to regulate the transfer of government records to the National Archives and to prevent the restriction of access, the deaccession, or the destruction of such records.

Enrique Chmelnik, President of the Association of Mexican Private Archives and Libraries (AMABPAC) and Director of the Center of Documentation and Research of the Jewish Communities in Mexico (CDIJUM) participated at the SAA’s 2016 Annual Meeting in Atlanta. There he explained two concerns that Mexican private LIS institutions have about the new law. The first is that the new law did not set up a democratic procedure to select the representative of private archives and libraries to the Ruling Council of the National Archives System. The second is that the new law gives the Mexican state the power to expropriate private archives, but does not set up a transparent and accountable way to exert such power, such as the creation of interdisciplinary and autonomous councils that might supervise and advise on the expropriation.

On November 28, 2016, scholars and LIS professionals met with the Mexican senate to discuss the new law. They demanded that the new law be modified to meet the needs for transparency, access to information, and accountability. These needs are especially urgent because in the last years, human rights have been constantly violated in Mexico.

For the petition by scholars and LIS professionals see: http://www.h-mexico.unam.mx/node/18666

For a summary of the meeting see: https://youtu.be/w1x_3h-ZDGQ

For Enrique Chmelnik’s petition to the Mexican senate see: https://youtu.be/kHUjFJGnhEc


This week, the IAAS posted a report from the International Association of Labour History Institutions meeting in Helsinki by Jennifer Eidson: https://iaartsaa.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/report-from-the-international-association-of-labour-history-institutions-ialhi/

The call for proposals to participate at the ICA/SUV Conference (ICA Section on University and Research Institution Archives) is now open: https://www.arhivi.gov.lv/news.aspx?groupId=7&id=121&y=2016&m=11

Call for Scholars and LIS professionals to discuss the invisibility of research from Africa at the 7th European Conference on African Studies, Basel, 29 June-1 July 2017: http://www.nomadit.co.uk/ecas/ecas2017/panels.php5?PanelID=5104


Black holes in the recent national memory of Morocco: Why Silences Matter

The importance of providing access to records in the UK: Commonwealth War Graves Commission opens archives to the public

My slides ‘Why do we digitise? 20 reasons in 20 pictures’ for #AGM2016 closing keynote http://www.slideshare.net/miaridge/why-do-we-digitise-20-reasons-in-20-pictures … #musetech

In Bolivia, the government opens archives related to the dictatorships that took place between 1966-1979: http://correodelsur.com/seguridad/20161122_cancilleria-abre-archivos-clasificados-de-dictaduras.html

Archives in Europe regarding Fidel Castro: http://www.archivesportaleurope.net/ead-display/-/ead/pl/aicode/NL-HaNA/type/fa/id/2.10.26/unitid/2.10.26+-+2290/search/0/Fidel+Castro



Report from the International Association of Labour History Institutions (IALHI)

By Jen Eidson, Assistant Labor Collections Archivist, University of Maryland

The International Association of Labour History Institutions (IALHI) held its 47th annual conference in Helsinki, Finland from September 7-10, 2016.  Attendance was around 60 participants, from Finland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, United Kingdom, Japan, Greece, Russia, Namibia, and United States of America.  A reception was held the first day in the Finnish Labour Archives (Työväen Arkisto).  The rest of the conference took place across the street at The Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors (JHL).  Coffee and lunch was served in their cafeteria!


The conference started out with the business of the IAHLI General Assembly.  A good portion of this time was an update on their Social History Portal which was developed within the project HOPE – Heritage of the People’s Europe (co-financed by the European Commission). The portal gives access to digital collections of fifteen IALHI members – over 900,000 digital objects (archives, books, brochures, leaflets, photographs, posters, prints, cartoons, sound, films and videos).  They hope to bring in new data providers each year.  In 2016 they added new records from Greece, Sweden, Belgium, and UK, in addition to updating their aggregator software to MINT (Metadata Interoperability Platform).

ialhi5The theme of the conference was “Heritage of Social Movements in a Global Perspective: Collecting and Preservation of Sources.” The main part of the program took part over two days –20 presentations in 5 sessions, including two keynotes.  The conference did not have overlapping sessions, so all could attend the entire program.  Many presentations discussed current projects and initiatives such as oral history projects, online exhibits, mapping historical buildings.  Other presentations discussed their organization’s efforts to collect born digital records, create digital archives, and work with digital humanity projects.

ialhi6The two keynote presentations on Friday were very interesting as well.  The first was a University professor from University of Namibia; she discussed her research for her book Historical narratives of five village women in Namibia.  The second keynote was given by a professor at the University of Helsinki about her book The river has a memory, and so do we: struggles for water justice in Mexico.

For more details about the conference:



Flickr Photo Album

I attended this conference because I work with a large labor history archive at the University of Maryland, and several of our collections and record groups have strong international ties.  I was happy to make new contacts with other labor archives.  Some of the attendees have visited my archive to do research for articles and books, so it was good to talk to them again in person.  I also appreciated learning about current projects and new collections and resources at these international archives.  My presentation was about digital archives at University of Maryland and I was interested to hear about others’ efforts with digital archives – we’re all in the same boat!  Sharing and learning in such a diverse setting is invaluable.

Tours, sightseeing, and dining were also fun experiences.  I discovered my hotel was across the street from a famous bakery “Ekberg” and I explored the city and waterfront by a light rail system and on foot.