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Monday, June 3, 2013

International Archives Day 2013 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 in 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. About 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 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 9th

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 the weblog of Ask Archivists and summarize.

Hopefully our attention and support can help #savearchives!

Storify #IAD13 and #savearchives made by Karen du Toit, senior archivist at SABC in South Africa.