International Archives Day dedicated to archives in need


On of the first pictures of the destroyed city archives of Cologne. Author: F. Domahs, 2009.

Archives are a fantastic resource for us all. They help us grow in knowledge and understanding of past and present. They empower us to investigate the history we need and the stories we care about. Archives are necessary.

But not all archives are well

On March 3 2009, the city archives of Cologne, Germany collapsed, and with it thousands of documents belonging to one of the oldest city archives in Europe. Holdings reached back to 1408/09 and the oldest document stored was from 922. A huge part of the archives was buried by the collaps. Aabout 40.000 charters, collection of photo and film as well as some of the iconic medieval documents and a collection of seals were saved.

To rebuild or not to be rebuild?

But although part of the collections have been saved, the municipality has recently decided to freeze the build of a new city archives. A decision, which has been critized by both the German Association of Archivists (VdA) as well as ICA, the International Council on Archives.

The archives in Cologne can be supported in different ways, among others this petition.

Let’s support all archives in need

But we are almost certain, that there are a lot of archives in the world, which also need attention. Archives threatened by for instance consequences of climate change, lack of appropriate facilities or other negative influences.

#savearchives on June 9

So, on June 9th support the archives in Cologne – and all other archives in need. Tweet about them using the hashtag #savearchives, include blogposts, articles and petitions. We will gather links on this blog and summarize.

Hopefully our attention and support can help #savearchives!

Posted in SaveArchives, World Archives Day | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Googledoodle for International Archives Day 2013?



In 2011 and 2012 we celebrated International Archives Day on June 9th. by doing an #AskArchivists / #FollowAnArchive event on Twitter. We would like to do it again – if archives and archivists support the idea.

But this year we would like the day to be extra special. During the past years, Google has used variations on their logo to draw attention to people and causes worth noticing. Among the doodles are little works of art highlighting things as different as New Year, Chaplins Birthday, Opening of the Arcropolis Museum, Singapore Art Festival and National Library Week. But it seems, that there has never been an doodle on archives.

So why should archives deserve a place on the worlds largest search engine?

1) Archives contain the unique written memories of the world. Our collections are diverse, and contain records on paper, electronic records, sound, pictures and much more. But regardless of form, they are a vital part of our heritage.

2) Archives play a vital part in democracy. Without archives, the world would face immense  difficulties in reconstructing our political, economic, social, national, local – or personal – history with a sufficient credibility.

3) Archives are for all. When conducted in accordance with the ICA code of ethics, archives ensure, that our history becomes diverse and open to a variety of interpretations:  “Archivists should promote the widest possible access to archival material and provide an impartial service to all users.”

4) Archives provide resource for academic researchers and students, but they are also a fountain knowledge for all, and support livelong, self-directed learning. Whether driven by interest in local history, genealogy or other topics, archives are a place, where thousands of non-scholars gain new knowledge, skills and competences.

5) Google itself is in many ways related to archives, providing access to informations and helping people search and find what they need to grow in knowledge.

So please Google, help us celebrate the content and mission of archives all over the world on June 9th which is the International Archives Day.


We all can help Google with ideas for an archives doodle!
What do you think are specific ingredients for an archives doodle? Draw them, make a picture of them or write it down.
Tweet your ideas from June 1 untill June 8 with the hashtag #archivesdoodle.


Yes! We think archives earn a googledoodle on International Archives Day, June 9!


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Beasts in your collections?!

Zeeuws Archief : Asian and African animals, 1770-1780. HTAM-H-104.

Zeeuws Archief : Asian and African animals, 1770-1780. HTAM-H-104.

“NO!”, is our first response when people ask: Do you have beasts in your collections or your depots? Of course not! We keep our depots very clean and take very good care of our heritage collections! No mice, no spiders, no flies, no rats, no silverfishes, no fleas, no bookworms, we don’t give them any chance to creep in our collections and depots.

World fauna in our collections
That’s what we think. But… we DO have lots of beasts in our collections and depots! Think of the huge seamonsters on oceanmaps, the very precise drawings of insects in fauna books, the sweet pictures of cats in albums amicorum, the loyal dogs at the feet of our rulers on paintings and sculptures. We have the entire fauna of the world in our collections!

World Animal Day, October 4th
On October 4th each year, we celebrate World Animal Day. Let’s dive into our collections to search for colourful fishes. Let’s make a safari tour through our depots to catch wild animals. Let’s have a stroll through all the bookshelves to discover beautiful insects that hide there. Let’s have a great flight through our storagerooms and catch up with some amazing birds. Make a silent tour at night to spot the very rare unicorn. And let’s show all the animals we found in our depots and collections to the world on World Animal Day!

Twitter event #heritagebeasts
On October 4th, World Animal Day, Follow An Archive and Ask Archivists will organize a Twitter event: #heritagebeasts.
We invite all heritage institutions to join us! So we ask the organizers of Follow A Museum, Follow A Library, Ask A Curator and Follow Heritage, to join in and spread the word about #heritagebeasts to your followers!

Join #heritagebeasts at October 4th!
Of course all people are welcome to join the Twitter event #heritagebeasts on October 4th! Create a Twitter account and tweet the beasts in your favourite collection!

Let’s have a beastly good World Animal Day on October 4th with the Twitter event #heritagebeasts!

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Let´s celebrate International Archives Day on June 9th!

It´s allmost there again! The greatest day of the year – International Archives Day!

We know it´s on a saturday – but let´s celebrate anyway! Let´s show off our archival holdings, knowledge and services this year. We invite you to tweet your most precious document, your best online services and finest webcontent, the coolest pics of users socializing and using the collections.  Show us – and the whole twittersphere –  what you´re proud of in your archives!  Let us know if you´re in – and if you will answer questions from users again.

We´re looking forward to another great Archives Day on the tag #archday12 🙂

Posted in World Archives Day | Tagged , | 43 Comments

Video-warm up for #valentinesday and #loveheritage

Love is all around us, and on Valentines Day 2012 we spread documents, pics, recordings… Everything from our collections, which documents the sweetest emotion of them all. Not just the love for ones beloved – but love for friends, parents, children, pets … everything we hold dear.

Join by adding the twitterhandle of YOUR archive to the list

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Valentine’s Day 2012 in archives

Archives are full of love stories. So let´s share them for Valentine’s Day!

We can find romantic stuff about deep and eternal feelings. Some may involve famous people and some convey the emotions of the everyday man or woman, others could be documents about love, that has gone bad. And the documents probably comes from all parts of society, high and low alike.

When we examine the collections, some of the greatest stories of love may not even involve a man and a woman. “Love” could also be the love of ones children, parents, God, siblings – or the love of a cause, that brings passion and great emontions into the life of an individual.

We believe, that YOUR archive has a lot of amazing stories about one of the most amazing human feelings in its collections. And we encourage you to share them on February 14th.

Put some of your documents of love on Flickr or Picasa, make a video for YouTube, create an album on Facebook… use any platform you like, just tweet about it, using the hashtag #loveheritage.

We hope you will play along – for the love of archives – and invite our colleagues in museums and libraries to join as well. We bet, that they have collections full of love as well!

If you´re joining us and want to share a romatic find or loving item from your collection please use the comment box to write the name and country of your institution, as well as your Twitterhandle:

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#AskArchivists Day great success!

Archivists: the coolest people ever
Archivists are so cool! Again we saw it in tweets, just the same as people said during the Twitter event Follow An Archive in November 2010. So now we know for sure: Archivists are basically the coolest people ever 🙂, as @emilyg155 tweeted.

Preparations for #AskArchivists Day
June 9th 2011, on International Archives Day, the worldwide Twitter event #AskArchivists Day took place. About 140 registered (by the organisation of Ask Archivists) archives and independant archivists all over the world joined te event and answered questions of tweeps and other archives and archivists. 900 Followers of the Twitter account @AskArchivists followed the event, and at 22.00 hours European (summer)time there were 1,000 of them. Lots of people followed the event via a Twitter stream of the hashtag #AskArchivists.

In preparation for the day we gave information on this blog. Some great blogpost in English were written by @archivesnext on her blog and @archivesinfo on her blog and also 23 Things for Archivists promoted #AskArchivists Day in their newsletter. Archives and archivists also used their Facebook pages and their own blogs and websites to announce #AskArchivists Day. We were happy to see so many people used the poster, banner, tutorials and video’s! Several nings of archivists communities reported on #AskArchivists Day on their forum. And ofcourse archives and archivists drew the attention of their followers on #AskArchivists Day by their Twitter accounts!

#AskArchivists Day, June 9th 2011
#AskArchivists Day started in Australia at 07.00 hours local time. In The Netherlands and Denmark the local time was 23.00 hours (June 8th). The archive in New Zealand started earlier. We also had a participant from Japan who started around Australian time. Lots of questions were asked, lots of answers were given. Many questions were about immigrants records and who to find names of immigrants on the web. The organizers of #AskArchivists had a little sleep between 04.00-06.00 hours European (summer)time and took the lead of the Twitter conversation again in the early morning. In the meantime Dubai and South-Africa had joined and lots of archives and archivists in Europe appeared on Twitter. Questions went at a furious tempo, it was so great! It was hard to follow, but we hope we retweeted most of the questions with the hashtag #AskArchivists. Later on the America’s, Alaska and Canada joined, it realy was a great worldwide event for archives and archivists and people who wanted to ask questions to them!

Lot of questions were asked about digitization, digital born archives and preservation of digital records. Questions were asked about preservation and storage of special collections, like maps, or, very delicate: lipstick-kissed letters from your mistress. People wanted to know how to become an archivist and asked a lot about our fantastic and exciting job! So nice to be able to share our awesome job with the world, @gbrannanarchive tweeted.

There were very specific questions asked directly to archives and archivists about their collections and how to search and find in the archives and on the web. Also about their most oldest, valuable or precious document or most weird object in their collections. A question about the oldest archive in the world, produced during the day various answers about the oldest archival collection or document as well as the oldest archives building whether specialy built for archives or just an old building. One of the answers to a question about the most extraordinary document about the Second World War, came from @NIODamsterdam. To the question if they own the original of the world famous diary of Anne Frank, NIOD tweeted: yes and no, we are the curators, not the owner and the original diary of Anne Frank is exhibited in the Anne Frank House.

The two questions about the most wonderful and most annoying part of being an archivist provided many answers. Lot of similarity between archives, especialy how people react upon archives. It’s world wide the same! ‘Is this a library?’ ‘Why aren’t copies for free?’ ‘Why can’t I take documents home with me?’ And about our profession: ‘Are you something like a librarian?’, ‘Can you tell me more about the job of an activist?’, and @WellcomeLibrary tweeted: One of our Archivists was introduced at a talk as an Alchemist. Most given answer to the question about most frequent misunderstanding about archives was: that we are a library, as @Aalb_Stadsarkiv tweeted, and lots of other archives all over the world could confirm that.

Many archives like to work on education. They asked eachother how to start archives education, asked for good exemples of education projects and education programs.
Lots of answers came up from all over the world. We can learn so much from eachother, not only on subjects like preservation and storage, but also teaching various groups about archives, and how to search, to find, to interpret, how to draw conclusions. And ofcourse we can learn so much from our users! Crowdsourcing was an important subject during #AskArchivists Day.

#AskArchivists Day inspired people not only to ask questions but even to bake a tasty #AskArchivists cake! @elmissey: Check out our Happy #AskArchivists cake!! on Twitpic: That was on Thursday and was tasty!

1,000 followers for @AskArchivists
At 22.00 hours European (summer)time we were happy to announce that @AskArchivists could welcome his 1,000st follower. And that was a very special someone: @AskACurator! We were so happy to welcome the organization of @AskACurator as 1,000st follower, because they inspired us to organize #AskArchivists Day!

I’ve been wanting to ask questions for ages!
Archives, archivists, and all people who joined on June 9th were excited about #AskArchivists Day. A few quotes:
@naagovau: Finding & following archives, libraries & archiving individuals; Building relationships in the name of #askarchivists
@haleylynn08: Wow, thank you all so much for responding! I’m so glad I stumbled upon #AskArchivists — I’ve been wanting to ask questions for ages!
@RandomArchivist: Ooh, neat resource for reading old handwriting! Discovered during #AskArchivists Day on Twitter. |
@gbrannanarchive: Well played! What a fab day. So nice to be able to share our awesome job with the world. See you next year! #AskArchivists
@queensarchives: Thanks to @AskArchivists for an incredible #AskArchivists Day! Remember all – Archives do this all year, so ask your questions any time!
@IAmtheArchivist: I hope this #askarchivists trend continues! Definitely should not be limited to one day right @AskArchivists #archives
@townsweb: A big thank you to @AskArchivists and all those who answered our many questions yesterday – we found the day very useful! #AskArchivists
@lostinlit: @AskArchivists Thanks much for this day! I can’t wait to start my MLIS program and become a fellow archivist #askarchivists
@Brooklynology: @AskArchivists: great event yesterday. We love answering reference questions–one of the most fun parts of our job.

Survey: Let´s do it again!
We have also conducted a little survey (which is now closed), and 100 participants from 21 countries answered. The message from the survey is clear, since a large majority was interested in doing #AskArchivists again next year – same day.

The main outcome was considered being able to connect with other archive professionals, finding other archives to follow and to interact with users. Another tendency is, that archvists are dedicated to their profession, and thus tweeted both as part of their job as well as in spare time.

It was great fun to be with you during #AskArchivists Day. We enjoyed all of it! Thanks everyone for your participation, questions and answers. Thanks to all of you #AskArchivists Day was great success!

Charlotte and Anneke

Posted in #AskArchivists | Tagged , | 15 Comments