A few months ago we shared what happens during our museum stocktake. This time we will share what goes on during an archival stocktake. During this time, our Archive team will be updating you on progress and any exciting finds. In this post, we introduce what we will be up to over the next two weeks and what ‘taking stock’ means.
An archive stocktake is part of a number of processes which ensure the good management of an archive and enable staff to preserve, document and make available records to users.
Closing the Search Room for a fortnight (12-23 May) enables all archive staff to get involved in these activities, and use the Search Room space to spread out material, sort it and check for duplication.
This year we will be rehousing negatives in POST 118. This material is currently loose on shelves, or in poor quality boxes and needs housing to appropriate standards to ensure its long term preservation. Records which have undergone second review and have been selected for permanent preservation will be sorted and put to one side ready for cataloguing. Alongside this we will audit and rebox the files still awaiting review and check our documentation to address any issues or inaccuracies.
Annual stocktakes are a part of good archival practices, but at present they take on additional importance as we prepare to move to a new home. By housing loose material such as the negatives, reviewing material for preservation or disposal, and auditing our collections, we ensure that material is adequately documented and housed ready to be moved.
Finally the stocktake period is an opportunity for all staff to take a step back from their day-to-day routines. They have the opportunity to work on tasks that may not form part of their daily duties and to think about our collections in a different way. Truly a chance to ‘take stock’.
-Helen Dafter, Archivist