Mission Statement (1st draft)

Archivists without Borders International

Archivists without Borders is an international organization, the primary objective of which is “cooperation in the sphere of archives work in countries whose documentary heritage is in danger of disappearing or of suffering irreversible damage, with particular emphasis on the protection of human rights.”

Archivists without Borders, United States Chapter

The United States Chapter of Archivists without Borders (AwB-United States) is a member of Archivists without Borders International.  AwB-United States is aligned with the goals and principal actions of Archivists without Borders International, which encompass:

  • Assurance and defense of human rights through the protection and conservation of archives produced by public and private bodies.
  • Ensuring access to public documents in democratic political systems.
  • Supporting and involvement in cooperative projects within the sphere of archives administration.
  • Preservation, conservation, and dissemination of the world’s documentary heritage.
  • Training archivists, records managers, and affiliated professionals to assure preservation, conservation, and dissemination of archival materials.
  • Collaboration with other archivists and cultural heritage professionals.
  • Promoting the development of relationships with human rights organizations.

17 responses to “Mission Statement (1st draft)

  1. “Ensuring access to public documents in democratic political systems.” = will part of the mission include educating/making the public aware of the accessibility to this documentation for research and educational purposes? Or is that outside the scope/mission?

  2. Anne-Marie Viola

    Will AwB-US organize and put on trainings/conferences/workshops? Or is the chapter more an advocate of on-going professional education (i.e. – showing support for and communicating those opportunities)?

  3. The goal/principle action “Ensuring access to public documents in democratic political systems.” leaves me desiring a bit more. That statement may be the only realistic one, but it would be great if we could strive a little more. Perhaps, something like, “Working to make accessible all political system documents.” Maybe that is too much, but sense that is really where we would want to be.

  4. Jennifer Johnson

    Minor grammatical quibble with bullet 3, suggest editing to read “Support and involvement in…” rather than Supporting.

  5. Jennifer Johnson

    I agree with John in regards to bullet 2, aren’t we aiming for access to public docuemnts in all political systems? In which political systems are documents the most at risk? Would an edit possibly be, “Ensuring access to public documents created by political systems.” That’s not perfect. Perhaps simply, “Ensuring access to public documents,” isn’t that our ultimate goal?

  6. Jennifer Johnson

    One thing I like from the AwB Spain objectives, http://www.arxivers.org/en/quisom_objectius.php, is the phrase, “Protect the identity and historical memory of nations in the context of cultural diversity,” which I think is missing from this document. The phrase “protect the identity and historical memory of nations” ties the mission back to the citizens, and that’s who I think we’re working for. We’re concerned with saving the documentary heritage of a nation, because it benefits the citizens, documents their culture, provides identity and context, and this portion seems to be missing from the mission statement as it currently stands. The cultural diversity part may be a different bullet.

  7. I wish there were a “Like” button for comments – concur with all above.
    Would like feedback on Anne-Marie’s comment – if training is offered, will the chapter have a hands-on role, or more of an oversight/organizational role?
    I think there could be a great deal of discussion around bullet #2, which will be interesting to follow. I understand the inclusion of the phrase “democratic political systems” to be intentional here, in order to delineate from non-democratic systems (which obviously pose restrictions/hurdles regarding access)?
    I like the point made by Jennifer to tie the mission back to the citizens – whether here or in another bullet point, perhaps aligned with cultural diversity.

  8. Jill Flowers

    On bullet point 5, in the same vein of Jennifer’s last comment, it is necessary to consider the juridical context of the archival materials in both education and treatment. Some records, when created, may have been intended for general and public consumption, but others may have been restricted. In saving the heritage of a nation, we cannot disregard their purposeful intent of dissemination and documentation. Cultural reliability and authenticity must be maintained in order for the materials to remain within the culture’s documentary heritage and not our interpretation of it instead.

  9. These are all really great comments.
    I am also confused about bullet point #2. I’m just not sure what it means.
    I love the language around advocacy and independence from other professional organizations on the home page, and would love to see some of that make it into the Mission Statement. I think those are both really key attributes of this organization (and ones that make it really attractive to me personally).

  10. As mentioned in Angela’s first comment, the relationship between AwB-US and the public perhaps should be established here. Is outreach to citizens, and enabling/empowering them to understand and access archives, part of the mission?

  11. I agree with all statements here. Is it possible–desirable to add a bullet point under #2, retaining the language in #2, but then adding as a separate bullet John’s suggestion: “Working to make accessible all political system documents.” In this way we state what we know is possible, but also include the ideal.

  12. In regards to bullet point 5: “Training archivists, records managers, and affiliated professionals…”, I think it would be good to include para-professionals as well as other concerned non-professionals in this statement. Especially if we are talking about places where there may not be many or any “professionals” of any type but interested citizens who care and have a stake and want to learn. I would like to see the language more inclusive rather than exclusive.

  13. Everyone has a quibble with bullet #2 … mine is that the statement seems to me to be contrary to the mission of the group. I am not saying that democratic political systems are perfectly transparent, but they are far more likely to provide access to documents than non-democratic polticial systems. If I am reading the intention correctly, then I agree with Debra’s suggested change in wording, but would suggest that it replace #2 entirely.

    I also propose an additional bullet point: “Encourage comprehensiveness of the historical record by seeking documents generated by underrepresented groups.”

  14. I understand Debra Kimok’s comment to encourage our going beyond democratic countries to encourage access in all countries. I would suggest altering the word order slightly to say “working to make accessible documents of all political systems.” Jennifer Johnson earlier commented on the phrase, “protect the identity and historical memory of nations.” I think here we need to clarify that “the nation” should include all peoples within it of whatever differing ethnicity, cultural heritage, religion, or linguistic heritage, since many nations are made up of diverse populations and the histories of all should be safeguarded.

    Jennifer also made a “minor” grammatical correction. I would go further. The bullet points should all be grammatically parallel for clearer understanding and reading. That is, make each entry of the same grammatical construction, whether that be complete sentences, noun phrases, verb phrases, or participial phrases. Choose one type of construction and alter the wording of the others to be grammatically parallel. This should certainly be done within each bullet point. Note that #3 mixes constructions: “Supporting and involvement in cooperative projects within the sphere of archives administration.” This could be corrected with “Support and involvement.;…” or “Supporting and being involved in….”

  15. Nicole Roberts

    A great start and wonderful comments so far!

    The sentence “AwB-United States is aligned with the goals and principal actions of Archivists without Borders International, which encompass:” is pretty much implied with the previous sentence “The United States Chapter of Archivists without Borders (AwB-United States) is a member of Archivists without Borders International.” Would we be a chapter of the international organization if our goals and principal actions did not align with them?

    Also, the wording of this sentence makes it ambiguous as to whether we are simply re-stating the goals of the international organization or stating our own goals which align with the international organization. For these two sentences maybe it would be better to write “The United States Chapter of Archivists without Borders (AwB-United States) is a member of Archivists without Borders International. The AwB-United States goals and principal actions encompass:”

    I agree with James that the bullets need to have consistent grammatical construction.

    I also agree with John and Debra on bullet point 2. Is the specification of “democratic” political systems necessary? I realize this text is directly from the international charter but, if possible, wouldn’t we want to ensure access to all political systems?

    Instead of bullet 5, maybe “Continuing Education to promote archives administration through specialized training of the persons managing archives and documentary holdings in order to assure the preservation, conservation, and dissemination of the knowledge.” This would help to alleviate Renee’s concern of it being exclusive and avoid the need to list the various types of persons possibly responsible for or managing holdings.

  16. Should there be mention of facilities or brick and mortar institutions? As in the creation, maintenance, support or interaction of specific or multiple institutions, locations etc.

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