Business archives provide a valuable insight into the social and economic activity of a country and its people, containing a wealth of information and evidence that cannot be found elsewhere. However, business collections at-risk can only be saved if their existence and status is known. The objective of the National Archives’ Covid-19 Archives Fund is to provide support to secure vulnerable analogue and digital records across the archives sector from premature destruction or prolonged neglect.
FIELDWORK will identify business archive collections of local and national significance in Scotland which are at risk as a result of the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. Special attention will be paid to underrepresented sectors of the economy and those which have been particularly hard hit by Covid-19 to identify and discover new collections of significance. Where such collections are identified, a records survey will be carried out and recommendations on the future management of the collection made.
In this way the FIELDWORK project will compile and share data to improve sectorial knowledge of business archive collections across Scotland and support collections planning at a local and national level. A ‘State of the Nation’ report on Scottish business records held in private hands will be published as a key output of the project.
Dr Kenneth Chrystie, Chairman of the Trust said:
The Ballast Trust is delighted to receive funding from The National Archives for our project FIELDWORK: Mapping Scotland’s Business Archives. It will allow the Ballast Trust and its Surveying Officer to deliver a project that is ambitious in scale and will enable a strategic response to the unique challenges of Covid-19 for the business archives sector.
FIELDWORK will address the risks to business archives by building a comprehensive picture of the status of business archive collections across Scotland. We will work with colleagues across the heritage sector to identify records at risk and understand what the Scottish business sector looks like in 2021. The Surveying Officer will be joined by a Business Archives Cataloguer from the University of Glasgow’s Archives & Special Collections to work on the project and we’re excited to bring our combined decades of experience in working with business archives and records at risk to this project.
The first project update from July 2021 is available here.