New coordinated approach to acquiring private archives proposed by the National, Provincial and Territorial Archivists Conference

Today in Montréal, the members of the National, Provincial and Territorial Archivists Conference (NPTAC) agreed to a declaration that will contribute to collectively safeguarding the nation’s documentary heritage.

Through the proposed “Statement of Guiding Principles for Identifying ‘Best-Fit’ Repositories for Private-Sector Archival Records,” NPTAC members have envisioned a more coordinated approach to acquiring private-sector archival records by their respective institutions. Included in the eight guiding principles is NPTAC’s shared respect for the regional importance of records.

Once finalized, this statement will allow present and future generations of Canadians to benefit from greater collaboration among memory institutions both regionally and nationally.

Group picture of the NPTAC members present at the event. 
Front (left to Right)
Leslie Latta (Provincial Archives of Alberta), Jill MacMicken-Wilson (Public Archives and Records Office, Prince Edward Island), Ian Burnett (Yukon Archives), Guy Berthiaume (Library and Archives Canada), Linda McIntyre (Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan), Lois York (Nova Scotia Archives)
Back (Left to Right)
Greg Walsh (The Rooms Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador), Fred Farrell (Provincial Archives of New Brunswick), Edward Atkinson (Nunavut Archives), John Roberts (Archives of Ontario), Scott Goodine (Archives of Manitoba), Ian Moir (Northwest Territories), Marissa Paron (Library and Archives Canada)
  • Vision Statement

    The NPTAC’s vision for collaborative acquisition involves all members of the Canadian archival community at the national, provincial and territorial levels working cooperatively to acquire archival material in a manner that effectively preserves and facilitates public access to Canada’s documentary heritage.

    Statement of Guiding Principles for Identifying ‘Best-Fit’ Repositories for Private-Sector Archival Records

    Acquiring, preserving and providing access to Canada’s documentary heritage is the foundation of Canadian archival community. We, the members of the National, Provincial and Territorial Archivists Conference, are cognizant that the nation’s documentary heritage includes private-sector records of national, provincial and territorial significance, for which we collectively share stewardship responsibilities. In order to advance the objectives of providing long-term preservation for, and facilitating public access to, these records, we are agreed that the federal, provincial and territorial archival institutions will work collaboratively with all members of the Canadian archival community, in identifying ‘best-fit’ repositories for the potential acquisition of significant private-sector records. It is understood that ‘natural-fit’ private-sector records that clearly reside within the mandate of NPTAC institutions will continue to be acquired in the manner determined by the particular institution. We are further agreed that final acquisition decisions arrived at within our network will be guided by the following principles:

    1. Inclusivity: All NPTAC institutions, regardless of size or geographic location, are encouraged to initiate and participate in discussions regarding ‘best-fit’ repositories for significant private-sector records of any scope or form.
    2. Respect for archival principles: Decision-making will reflect adherence to the fundamental archival principles of provenance and respect des fonds, including the integrity of the fonds.
    3. Respect for regional importance: Decision-making will recognize and give preference to the regional importance of the records under consideration. Retaining private-sector archival records according to territoriality--i.e., in an archival institution located within the region in which the records were created and accumulated, and where it is anticipated they will be most frequently used--acknowledges ‘best-fit’ and encourages ‘best use.’
    4. Respect for donors: Identifying a ‘best-fit’ repository for private-sector archival records will take into consideration, and if appropriate will to, the individual donor’s wish to gift records in his, her or their legal possession to a specific institution.
    5. Respect for partner institutions: This includes respect for collection mandates, acquisition policies and existing collections of participating NPTAC institutions; acknowledges that ‘best-fit’ for private-sector records is normally within the federal, provincial or territorial jurisdiction in which the records were created; and recognizes that, while all NPTAC members are encouraged to participate and, if appropriate, to acquire the records under consideration, the level of support that each partner can provide is proportionate to their resources and capacity.
    6. Respect for external stakeholders: Identifying potential repositories for private-sector records entails consideration of researcher needs, the existing external partnerships of institutions participating in the discussion, and the acquisition policies of other archives external to those represented by NPTAC members.
    7. Cooperation: The acquisition of documentary heritage by any one archival institution in Canada contributes to the development of the nation’s collection as a whole. Long-term preservation and access goals will outweigh individual ownership goals (i.e., competition) by NPTAC members in identifying potential repositories for archival material, and will warrant consideration of the interest of other members of the Canadian archival community in acquiring private sector records. Identifying ‘best-fit’ repositories for private archives will therefore result from open communication among Canadian archival institutions and associations, information sharing, and strategic alignment at all jurisdictional and regional levels.
    8. Accountability: NPTAC members will endeavour to demonstrate consistency and transparency in their approach to collaborative acquisition.
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