MESSAGE ON THE OCCASION OF INTERNATIONAL ARCHIVES DAY
The 6th International Archives Day will be celebrated next Sunday, 9th June. The International Council on Archives was created on the 9th of June 1948 under the auspices of UNESCO.
The International Archives Day is an excellent opportunity to promote a better understanding of archives. Unfortunately, the public perception of the archives is sometimes not very clear. Often confused with libraries, archives tend to be perceived as documents for internal use only, which are difficult to access and are of interest only to historians.
In reality, archives safeguard the records and documents, created, received and maintained as evidence and information by an organization or person in the transaction of their business. These records are preserved by their creators, successors or archive institutions because of their legal value or enduring historical significance. Thus, archives constitute a major cultural heritage and information resource.
The Maltese rich archival heritage is a valuable testimony about the economic, political and social development of our country. In fact, our legislation, Act V of 2005, entrusts us at the National Archives with the mission “to preserve the collective memory of the Maltese nation through the protection and accessibility of all public archives.”
Obviously, we cannot do this alone. This day provides us also with the opportunity to state our appreciation for the valid work being undertaken within the Maltese archives, both public and private. On this day, I would like to thank all our collaborators, including the private archives, public entities and our volunteers.
Several events are being organised to commemorate this year’s International Archives Day, including school visits to the Repositories in Gozo and Mdina.
The main event will be a lecture about ‘The Archivist in the Digital World: importance of continuous professional development’ by Dr Gillian Oliver, from the School of Information Management, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Dr Oliver will discuss the archivist in today’s information management society dominated by information technology and the continuous professional development that may equip archivists with the skills required in today’s society. Everybody is invited to attend this talk, that is being organised in collaboration with the Malta Library and Information Association (MaLIA), that starts at 6 pm on Tuesday 11th June 2013 at the National Archives Head Office in Rabat.
Charles J Farrugia