In the Headlines

Call for nomination of candidates to the National Archives Advisory Council

Deadline for submission of nominations: 30 June 2015

State of the Archives: an analysis of South Afrca’s national archival system - EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Archival Platform’s State of the Archives: an analysis of South Africa will be launched on 25 March 2015. Here is the Executive Summary and Introduction to the document.

State of the Archives: an analysis of South Afrca’s national archival system

This comprehensive report details dysfunction and distress in the state’s record-keeping across a wide variety of sectors, from local government records to historical archives. This has serious implications for a range of essential processes in South Africa that depend on records, such as land claims, local governance, infrastructure development and corruption prevention. The report also notes the disappearance of important historical documents and a disintegration of many existing archives.

Archive of Constitution making available online

Approximately 13,000 documents historical records relevant to the development of South Africa’s constitution and the founding of its constitutional democracy have been digitized and made available through the Constitutional Court Trust’s Archive of Constitution making.

The Five Hundred Year Archive Online Project

The aim of this project is to develop and promote understandings of the archival possibilities of materials located both within and outside of formal archives and to facilitate their engagement. It does this in order to stimulate interest, research and enquiries into the southern African past.

Digital Archive series on Africa is a Country

Africa is a Country is publishing a fascinating series of posts on Digital Archives. Written by Liz Timbs, a PhD Candidate in African History at Michigan State Univeristy, the series focuses on digital projects, based on the continent and elsewhere, that are working to make more resources about Africa’s past and present available.

SAHRC launches report on the challenges affecting land restitution

Amongst the many challenges identified in the Report of the SAHRC Investigative Hearing: Monitoring and Investigating the Systemic Challenges Affecting the Land Restitution Process in South Africa are several that have to do directly with records and record keeping.

Court ruling puts public’s access to court documents in jeopardy

A recent ruling by the Western High Court has put access to court documents, previously available to the media, in jeopardy.

R2K’s Secret State of the Nation Report

The Right2Know Campaign’s 2014 ‘Secret State of the Nation’ report offers a snapshot study of trends, patterns and challenges with secrecy in South Africa.

Correcting Long Walk to Freedom

Twenty years after it was first published, the Nelson Mandela Foundation turns to the archive to correct Long Walk to Freedom

JOINT STATEMENT: R2K & SAHA welcome ruling on National Key Points list

The South Gauteng High Court has given the Ministry of Police 30 days to release a public list of National Key Points. Well done to SAHA and the R2K Campaign!

UN calls on member states to release records relating to the death of Dag Hammarskjöld

Chris Saunders asks whether South African authorities will give effect to the United Nations Resolution calling for the release any relevant records in their possession that relate to the death of Dag Hammarskjöld in September 1961.

NMF comments on the ICA HRWG Basic Principles on the Role of Archivists in Support of Human Rights.

In their comments, the NMF point to three ‘profoundly flawed assumptions underpinning the principles: the document embraces a concept of the archivist as an impartial custodian; the document assumes that is is addressing the contexts of a stable, mature and well functioning democracy and; the uncritical assumption of ‘the law’, ‘the state’ and ‘the profession’ as sources of authority.

The UNESCO PERSIST project: survey on digital content selection

Collecting and preserving born digital heritage is a major challenge. Tthe UNESCO PERSIST project, a cooperation between UNESCO, the International Council on Archives (ICA), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), LIBER, the National Library of the Netherlands and the Digital Heritage Netherlands Foundation (DEN), is now setting out to collect and share worldwide best practices and guidelines on selecting policies and digital strategies.

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