Communication survey

The International Council on Archives Section on University and Research Institution Archives wants to make sure that it communicates with you effectively. We would be very grateful if you could complete this very short survey which will ensure that we send news and information to you in the most appropriate way. Please respond by 31 January.

La Section des Archives des universités et des institutions de recherche (SUV) du Conseil International des Archives souhaite communiquer avec vous de manière pertinente et efficace. Nous vous serions donc reconnaissants si vous répondiez à cette courte enquête [en anglais] pour que nous puissions developer nos outils de communication pour partager avec vous les nouvelles et informations tels que vous souhaitez les recevoir. Merci d’avance. Veuillez répondre avant le 31 Janvier.


APPEL A COMMUNICATIONS: conférence, Dundee, Ecosse


Photo by Lucas Peng on Unsplash


La conférence annuelle de la Section des Archives des universités et des institutions de recherche du Conseil International des Archives se déroulera à Dundee en Ecosse du 1er au 3 juillet 2019.

Le thème de la conférence sera :


Les interventions peuvent aborder n’importe quel aspect de la sélection archivistique, mais le comité d’organisation propose les pistes de réflexion suivantes :

  • le but de la sélection
  • les méthodes de sélection
  • la collecte et le traitement des archives numériques : est-elle différente de celle des archives papier ?
  • l’inclusion et la diversité dans la sélection des archives définitives
  • l’évaluation, la révision, la restitution et l’élimination

Il est prévu que les interventions durent 20 minutes et souhaité qu’elles soient analytiques, plutôt que purement descriptives.

Veuillez noter que la langue de la conférence est l’anglais et que les propositions en d’autres langues ne pourront être acceptées. Il n’y aura pas d’interprétation simultanée ou de traduction disponible.

Envoyez votre proposition (250-300 mots) à Caroline Brown ( avant le 25 janvier 2019. Merci d’inclure :

  • le titre de votre intervention
  • le(s) nom(s) et prénom(s) du/des intervenant(s)
  • l’intitulé de poste et institution de rattachement
  • la proposition de 250-300 mots avec une bibliographie d’au moins 2 titres
  • une courte biographie du/des intervenant(s)

Veuillez noter que les frais d’inscription et de voyage des intervenants ou participants ne seront pas pris en charge par le comité d’organisation, qui fait son possible pour minimiser les frais d’inscription.

La ville de Dundee est située à 1 heure 20 minutes d’Edimbourg en train.

Dundee figure sur la liste des 10 meilleures destinations Européennes de 2018 selon le guide Lonely Planet et a été nommée la ville la plus sympathique d’Ecosse par le Wall Street Journal.


Call for Papers: Conference 2019, Dundee, Scotland


Photo by Lucas Peng on Unsplash

The International Council on Archives Section on University and Research Institution Archives (ICA/SUV) is pleased to announce its annual conference in Dundee, Scotland from 1st to 3rd July 2019.

We welcome proposals on the following theme:


Papers can relate to any aspect of appraisal but we particularly encourage proposals which address:

  • The purpose of appraisal
  • Appraisal methodologies
  • Appraisal of digital records and whether this differs from analogue appraisal
  • Inclusiveness and diversity in appraisal
  • Re-appraisal and de-accessioning

Papers are likely to be 20 minutes long and should be analytical rather than purely descriptive. Please note that unfortunately there will be no translation facilities at the conference so only English papers will be accepted.

If you would like to submit a proposal please include the following:

  • Paper title
  • Name of speaker(s)
  • Job title and institution
  • 250-300 word abstract with bibliography of at least two items
  • Short biography of speaker(s)

Click here to read the Proposal Submission Guidelines.

Proposals should be submitted to Caroline Brown, by 25th January, 2019.

Please note that registration, travel and accommodation costs of speakers will not be covered, although registration costs are kept as low as possible.

Dundee is 1 hour 20 minutes from Edinburgh by train and is the only UK destination to be included in the Lonely Planet’s list of top 10 destinations for 2018. It was also listed in the Wall Street Journal as Scotland’s coolest city and one of the top 10 places to visit.


“Where has the Time Gone?!” The 30th Anniversary Since the Early Beginnings of the ICA-SUV

A special blog post by Shelley Sweeney, University Archivist and Head of the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections, and one of the founders of the ICA-SUV

Shelley SweeneyI remember when I was in Paris for the ICA Congress in 1988 that Alan Ives from Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, Australia, approached me about forming a section on University and College Archives. He was very enthusiastic about it and I was immediately swept up into his vision of a section of the ICA that would be dedicated to those whose archives were based in academic institutions. In those days we were not communicating through lengthy emails, and though I might be misremembering, I believe I spoke to Alan a number of times over the phone.

In the end, 41 Archivists from 13 countries attended the founding meeting during the 12th Congress in Montreal in September of 1992. The group elected a nine member provisional steering committee of which I was one member. Marjorie Barrett of the USA was the chair and various members from Belgium, Niger, the UK, and Sweden among others helped to direct the section’s activities. Over time, Marjorie became a major force, and led the first projects of the section: a compilation of a directory of university and college archives in all the member countries of the ICA, and an inaugural seminar that was held September 20, 1994 in the UK.

You may wonder, since the International Council on Archives was formed in 1948, why it took so long for a section to have been created that would cater to the needs and interests of academic archives? Especially since two sections, one for professional archivists associations (now SPA, the Section of Professional Associations) and the second for international organizations, were established in 1976. I can only speculate, but I think it might reflect the fact that the original membership of the ICA was made up primarily of national archivists or their representatives, and that individual members did not grow in sizeable numbers until much later. You have to think that it would have cost a great deal of money in the early days for individual archivists to travel to international destinations. The costs associated with travel and the time it takes to get to international destinations and back continue to be barriers for many individuals to participate.

I would like to say that I was heavily involved in the advancement of the section from that point on after I was elected on to the steering committee, but that sadly was not the case. There was no financial support and active resistance from my institution for me to take the time to attend SUV meetings in other countries. However under Marjorie’s capable leadership, and with the contributions from a number of members, the section was able to thrive and by 1994 the official membership had risen to 66 members. Given that only a few archivists have the opportunity to attend successive annual meetings, the section has been very lively. It is really a small number of dedicated individuals who have been able to coordinate the intermittent participation of other archivists to complete a variety of activities. Many of the annual conferences in particular have been outstanding, and I can honestly say that a few have been among the best that I have ever attended. Although I still do not have the amount of time I would like to devote to the ICA-SUV, I believe it is a valuable organization and in these days of rapid professional changes, more necessary than ever.

While in Salamanca for the ICA-SUV October 2018 Conference, Shelley Sweeney was interviewed for the podcast, The Archivist’s Tale. Click here to listen to Episode 36: Yearning to Understand (shared with permission, further sharing is encouraged).

Los documentos históricos en los archivos universitarios, un valor añadido

Os presentamos la foto de familia de la Conferencia realizada entre la CAU/CRUE e ICA/SUV, que se celebró en la Universidad de Salamanca durante los días 3, 4 y 5 de octubre de 2018, bajo el lema “Los documentos históricos en los archivos universitarios, un valor añadido”.

La Conferencia, que incluía la celebración del XXIV Jornadas de la CAU y la Conferencia Anual del ICA/SUV, empezó con la lección inaugural “Los archivos en la universidad: Reflexiones en torno al archivo de la Universidad de Salamanca” pronunciada por nuestro colega Miguel Ángel Jaramillo Guerreia, director del Archivo de la Universidad de Salamanca. Este encuentro en la Universidad de Salamanca que se celebró, al mismo tiempo que cumple los 800 años de su creación, en dos sedes, la Facultad de Traducción y Documentación y la Facultad de Geografía e Historia en el centro histórico de Salamanca.

Los contenidos que se trataron en la Conferencia fueron “La identidad delos documentos históricos universitarios”, “Los archivos en la comunidad universitaria”, “La gestión de los documentos históricos universitarios” y “La difusión del patrimonio archivístico universitario”. En total se presentaron 51 comunicaciones y 15 paneles, donde participaron archiveros y gestores de documentos de universidades españolas y extranjeras de diferentes países como Dubái, Colombia, Hong-Kong, Australia y Estados Unidos, así como se contó con la presencia de diferentes empresas que presentaron y debatieron sobre los asuntos archivísticos relacionados con nuestro trabajo, cuyo resultado fue la inclusión de las diferentes tradiciones, y como estos documentos históricos son una parte esencial del patrimonio y memoria institucional de la universidad.

Además en el transcurso de la Conferencia, se celebraron tanto la Asamblea anual de la Conferencia de Archiveros de las Universidades Españolas (CAU/CRUE), así como la Asamblea Anual General del ICA/SUV.


What Value Do Historical Records in University Archives Add to Universities?

The image shows participants at the combined conference of CAU and ICA-SUV 2018, held at the University of Salamanca from October 3-5, 2018. The conference theme was: “What Value Do Historical Records in University Archives Add to Universities?”

The conference began with the inaugural lecture “The Archives in the University: Reflections on the Archive of the University of Salamanca” by Miguel Ángel Jaramillo Guerreira, Director of the University Archives of Salamanca.  Meeting at the University of Salamanca at the time of its 800th anniversary, the conference was held at the University of Salamanca (the Faculty of Translation and Documentation and the Faculty of Geography and History) in the historical center of Salamanca.

The conference topics included: the identity of the university archives, the archives in the university community, management of university historical records, and the dissemination of university archival heritage. In 51 presentations and 15 panels, participating archivists and records managers from Spanish and international universities (ranging from Dubai, Colombia, Hong Kong, to Australia and the US) as well as companies presented and discussed archival issues related to our work, including different national and cultural traditions, and how these historical records are an essential part of the heritage and institutional memory of the university itself.

Both the Annual Assembly of the Conference of Archivists of the Spanish Universities (CAU/CRUE) and the ICA/SUV Annual General Business Meeting were held during the conference.

For more information, please visit:

Attendees at ICA-SUV & CAU 2018 Conference

ICA/SUV 2018 Annual International Conference in conjunction with XXIV Jornadas de la Conferencia de Archiveros de las Universidades Españolas


“What Value do Historical Records in University Archives Add to Universities?” Salamanca (Spain), 3rd to 5th October 2018

It is with great pleasure that the Section for Research and University Archives (SUV) of the International Council on Archives (ICA) in conjunction with the Conferencia de las Archiveros Universitarios Españoles (CAU) invite you to attend their 2018 Annual International Conference.  This Conference caters to archivists and records practitioners working in academic institutions around the world. It focuses particularly on the use of historical documentation that academic institutions retain as an important part of the heritage and institutional memory of the university itself.  Meeting at the University of Salamanca at the time of its 800th anniversary, the 2018 ICA-SUV Conference-XXIV Jornadas CAU will bring together university archivists from very different countries and cultural traditions to reflect on their own work in relation to the historical documentation they manage.

There are seventeen exciting panels including over 50 papers on topics such as:

Deepening Institutional Identity through the University Archives

Developing a university archives through skill, perseverance, and spirit

The administrative and public confidence building even through improbable documents and artifacts

Enhancing Our Value: Indigenizing the University Archives

South African Universities and  community archives

Design for the curation of digital learning objects

The role of oral testimonies in university archives

Personal archives in Universities. A comparative look at different archiving

University Archives in India

Customization of the AtoM  software for digitalcCuration of heterogeneous collections

Importance of the reference archivist in online system design

Place-based instruction in archives

Blurring the lines: a holistic approach to university records and archives

For the full conference programme, please visit:



Ethics in Archives: Blogging for Transparency

Despite only having six letters, ethics is a pretty big word, and can be a tough subject to talk about or explain. When coupled with explaining archives, the task grows, especially when the audience of that explanation is the general public with likely minimal understanding of how the two fit together.

At North Carolina State University (NCSU) Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center, we believe it’s vitally important to have those conversations and establish a standard of transparency about archival work. For the past year, Jessica Serrao and Taylor de Klerk have published blog posts on what archivists think about as they face ethical decisions.

The series supports the department’s goal to use its blog as a tool to provide behind-the-scenes access to Special Collections and increase transparency. It also provides an opportunity to spark a broader conversation about ethics and archival practices.

The series consists of six posts and each post relates to a different area of archival work. These are described in more detail below:

Ethics in Archives

NCSU Libraries' Special Collections Research Center Reading Room

NCSU Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center Reading Room

As the introduction to the series, this post discusses how and why ethics are important in archival work, and the various topics that the series will cover. It provides a foundation for the discussion based on the Society of American Archivists’ Core Values Statement and Code of Ethics.


Ethics in Archives: How Special Collections Protects Your Privacy

Shelves of restricted boxes from NCSU University Archives

Shelves of restricted boxes from NCSU University Archives

This post discusses issues of confidentiality and how NCSU Libraries’ Special Collections protects the people documented in our collections. It includes visual examples of how we redact personally identifiable information and references laws relevant to the archives.



Ethics in Archives: Discoverable Description and Accessible Arrangement


Written description on folder label

Describing and arranging archival collections is an ethical act because it is easy for inherent biases to creep into finding aids and arrangement schemes. This post covers how some of the decisions archivists make affect ethical and fair archival description and arrangement, resulting in improved discoverability and access.


Ethics in Archives: Preservation Despite the Odds


Degraded tape and a micro spatula

This post tackles how archivists’ preservation decisions can affect an object’s fate. It argues that preservation decisions prioritize certain items over others, and that archivists should consider the ethical consequences of their decisions on the historical record and on user needs.


Ethics in Archives: Conscientious Collection Curation

A sea of tubes containing architectural drawings awaits pickup by NCSU Special Collections staff.

A sea of tubes containing architectural drawings awaits pickup by NCSU Special Collections staff.

Curators have to consider many ethical decisions when acquiring new materials. From building strong donor relationships and managing donor expectations to understanding how acquisition decisions affect which stories are preserved and which are silenced from the record. This post points out some of those ethical considerations that arise when curating collections.


Ethics in Archives: Diversity, Inclusion, and the Archival Record


Brickyard Diversity Project, 2013, Edward T. Funkhouser Photographs

Archives have a significant amount of social responsibility on their shoulders. This post covers several approaches for upholding that responsibility, including making records available for institutional accountability and incorporating diverse voices in the archival record.



Keep an eye out for the next post in this series–it will address digital collections and the ethical aspects of acquiring, processing, and providing access to digital archival materials.

This blog series works to positively complicate understandings of what archivists do by turning a spotlight towards the tough ethical decisions archivists make. Ultimately, these posts are intended to further spark discussion about archival ethics and how others address similar issues at their institutions.

By: Taylor de Klerk and Jessica Serrao, Library Associates, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries

Poster from the First Workshop on Scientific Archives in 2016. (c) EMBL

Introducing the Committee on the Contemporary Archives of Science and Technology (C-CAST)

The archives of science and technology document some of humankind’s greatest achievements and adventures. Scientific discoveries have revealed to us the layout of the universe, the chemistry of life and the equations of nature. Technological advances have allowed us to observe the inner workings of cells, create increasingly powerful computers, dig tunnels under the sea and build bridges spanning continents.

What is more, science and technology rely on the continual critical appraisal of past discoveries and experiments. Discoveries or inventions are all part of a longer story of exploration or innovation. Or, as Isaac Newton put it, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.”

The continued and reliable access to scientific records is therefore essential to keep on building on the work of previous generations of scientists. Yet, it seems that scientific records are not as systematically managed or archived by professional recordkeepers as records in other areas of human creation and endeavor. Instead, the care and custody of such records has tended to remain unclearly defined, and scientists, engineers, their institutions and archivists have not always provided viable solutions to ensure their coherent capture and archiving.

How can this be addressed?

In order to effectively capture contemporary scientific and technological records during or soon after their creation, and preserve them as archives for all, archivists need to collaborate with scientists and ensure that they have a place within scientific institutions.

To bring together different ideas and perspectives about how this might be done, 2017 saw the founding of a new committee within the ICA-SUV. The Committee on the Contemporary Archives of Science and Technology (C-CAST) thus seeks to explore ways in which archivists can better support recordkeeping in science and technology, and in so doing help preserve and share this valuable human heritage.

Poster from the First Workshop on Scientific Archives in 2016. (c) EMBL

Poster from the First Workshop on Scientific Archives in 2016. (c) EMBL

The primary activity of C-CAST will be to organize workshops on scientific archives which bring together different actors involved in the creation, capture or preservation of such records. This could be scientists, archivists or data curators, to cite a few, each of whom have different professional backgrounds and sometimes divergent understandings of what should be archived and why. By addressing these differences, perhaps we can together find common tools and languages to better capture these fascinating records, without getting in the way of the fundamental carrying out of scientific and technological work. In essence, by enabling a general conversation about scientific and technological archives, and bringing together different experiences and perspectives, C-CAST hopes to develop guidelines that can help ensure these records are persevered and accessible.

The founding members of C-CAST represent different fields of the hard sciences – life sciences, physics, chemistry – as well as engineering and biotechnology. They furthermore currently span two continents and are located in 4 countries, each of which have their own structures and archival traditions.

The next workshop will take place in Washington, D.C. on 13-14 August. More information and a registration link is available here:

C-CAST founding members:

Bethany Anderson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA)

Anne-Flore Laloë, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (Germany)

Brigitte van Tiggelen, Science History Institute, Europe Office (France)

Melanie Mueller, American Institute of Physics (USA)

Jonathan Pledge, British Library (UK)

By: Anne-Flore Laloë, Archivist, European Molecular Biology Laboratory

Call for Papers: Second Workshop on Scientific Archives (Washington, D.C., 13 & 14 August 2018)


Venue: Carnegie Institution for Science, Washington, D.C.

Organized by: Committee on the Contemporary Archives of Science and Technology (C-CAST) of the International Council on Archives/Section on University and Research Institution Archives (ICA/SUV)

Proposals are now being accepted for the Second Workshop on Scientific Archives. The aim of the workshop is to explore topics in the area of the contemporary archives of science and technology.

Possible themes for papers include (but are not limited to):

  • Collaboration between scientists and archivists to best capture contemporary material
  • Appraisal of science and technology archives
  • Curating and making accessible science and technology archives to support both humanities research and scientific reuse
  • Describing specialist collections from a non-scientific perspective
  • Archives and scientific data management and usage
  • Public outreach and communication: who are scientific archives for?

The First Workshop on Scientific Archives was hosted by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg (DE), 1-2 November 2016.

The organizing committee welcomes proposals from (but not limited to) archivists, historians, scientists, engineers, data specialists and curators.

Papers are to be 20 minutes. Please submit a 400-word abstract using the following form: by Thursday 29 March 2018.

Papers will be selected by the organizing committee by Friday 20 April 2018, at which point selected speakers will be notified. The full program will be published in early-May 2018.

A limited number of travel bursaries will be available for students, new professionals and international presenters. These will be distributed by the organizing committee. For more information, see: If you have any questions, please contact Melanie Mueller,, or Bethany Anderson,