Around 30 people were present at The Baring Archive in London on Wednesday 22 January for a training day run by the BAC and the ARA’s Section for Business Records.
Students enrolled on archive and records management courses at Aberystwyth, Dundee, and UCL, together with some other interested observers, learned about the various types of business records in general and how they can be used. A number of guest speakers were also on hand to address specific issues. Katharine Carter, Company Archivist at Marks and Spencer, described the impressive education and outreach work being done by M & S Heritage. The challenges of digital preservation were considered by Adrian Brown from the Parliamentary Archives. Issues of access and research in business archives were discussed by Justin Carvernelis-Frost and Natalie Broad in relation to the Rothschild Archive.
There were also a couple of breakout sessions which gave those in the audience a chance to debate some of points raised by the speakers. One of these involved groups making presentations to a Board of Directors (in reality some of the students) on the future options for a business archive which had been taken over by a rival company. These sessions along with the presentations gave those attending an insight into some of the challenges, peculiarities, and opportunities of being in a business archives.
The day was rounded off by ‘A day in the life of a business archivist’. Richard Wiltshire (London Metropolitan Archives), David Hay (BT Archives), and Lorna Williams (Bank of England Archive) spoke with great enthusiasm about what a typical day might be like. Tea was obviously an important factor, but what came across was the sheer variety of work undertaken by those working with business records.
The BAC would like to thank all the participants and speakers for attending, and also Emma Golding (Guardian News & Media Archive), James Mortlock (HSBC Archive), and Paula Togher (Baring Archive) for their help with the organisation of the event. Also thanks to The Baring Archive at ING Commercial Banking for hosting the day.