International Archives Day

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International Archives Day
International Archives Day


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On June 9th, International Archives Day is observed, commemorating the establishment of the International Council on Archives (ICA) in 1948. This significant event took place during a meeting of archivists in Paris, held under the auspices of UNESCO.

The formalization of International Archives Day occurred at the ICA's General Assembly in November 2007, with the date swiftly gaining approval and adoption within the archives community. This day serves as an occasion to celebrate and heighten awareness regarding the importance and value of archives and archivists. It also emphasizes the imperative to preserve archives for the long term and ensure access to them.

Origins and Purpose

  • Inception: International Archives Day was established by the International Council on Archives (ICA), a global professional association for archivists and archival institutions, to commemorate the founding of the ICA on June 9, 1948.
  • Purpose: The primary purpose of International Archives Day is to:
    • Raise awareness about the significance of archives as essential sources of information, evidence, and memory that document human activities, experiences, and achievements over time.
    • Promote the role of archivists and archival institutions in acquiring, preserving, organizing, and making accessible archival materials to researchers, scholars, policymakers, and the public.
    • Advocate for the preservation of archives as cultural heritage assets and the implementation of policies and practices that support the long-term sustainability and accessibility of archival collections.

Celebrations and Activities

  1. Open Houses and Tours: Archival institutions, libraries, and historical societies may host open houses, exhibitions, or guided tours of their archives, allowing visitors to explore archival holdings, learn about archival practices, and engage with archivists.
  2. Educational Workshops: Archival organizations and professional associations may offer workshops, seminars, or webinars on archival topics, such as archival management, preservation techniques, digitization, and archival research methods.
  3. Community Outreach Events: Archivists may participate in community outreach events, school visits, or public lectures to promote awareness of archives and encourage public engagement with archival materials.
  4. Digitization Projects: Archival institutions may launch digitization initiatives to digitize archival holdings and make them accessible online, expanding access to archival materials beyond physical visitation.
  5. Social Media Campaigns: Archival organizations and institutions may use social media platforms to share archival highlights, collections, stories, and resources, using hashtags such as #InternationalArchivesDay or #IAD to join the global conversation.

Importance of Archives

  1. Preservation of Cultural Heritage: Archives preserve and safeguard records, documents, photographs, audiovisual materials, and artifacts that document the cultural, social, political, and economic heritage of communities, nations, and humanity.
  2. Historical Research and Scholarship: Archives serve as primary sources for historical research, enabling scholars, historians, genealogists, and researchers to study and interpret the past, uncovering untold stories, perspectives, and insights.
  3. Accountability and Transparency: Archives provide evidence of government actions, decisions, and policies, promoting accountability, transparency, and good governance by documenting the rights and responsibilities of citizens and public officials.
  4. Memory and Identity: Archives contribute to the preservation of collective memory and identity, reflecting the diverse experiences, voices, and contributions of individuals and communities across time and space.
  5. Access to Information: Archives support access to information and intellectual freedom by providing public access to archival materials for research, education, cultural enrichment, and personal discovery.

Challenges Facing Archives

  1. Preservation and Conservation: Archives face challenges related to the preservation and conservation of physical and digital materials, including deterioration, obsolescence, and technological changes.
  2. Digital Preservation: The digital age presents challenges for the long-term preservation and access to digital records and born-digital materials, requiring strategies and investments in digital preservation technologies and standards.
  3. Access and Accessibility: Archives strive to balance the need for access to archival materials with concerns about privacy, confidentiality, and intellectual property rights, while ensuring equitable access for diverse users and communities.
  4. Funding and Resources: Archives require adequate funding, staffing, and resources to sustain operations, acquire collections, implement preservation measures, and provide access to archival materials.
  5. Legal and Ethical Considerations: Archives must navigate legal and ethical considerations, such as copyright laws, data protection regulations, and cultural sensitivity issues, in managing and providing access to archival materials.


International Archives Day is a time to recognize and celebrate the invaluable contributions of archives and archivists to society, culture, and knowledge preservation. By raising awareness about the importance of archives, promoting access to archival materials, and supporting efforts to preserve and protect our documentary heritage, we can ensure that archives continue to serve as vital sources of information, memory, and inspiration for future generations. So let's join together to celebrate International Archives Day and reaffirm our commitment to preserving the past for the benefit of the present and the future.