Importance of Archives

Contact Us:

Catherine Wright - Archivist
Wicklow County Council Archive,
County Buildings,
Station Rd,
Wicklow Town,
Co. Wicklow
Republic of Ireland

Tel: +353 404 20126

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Archives are generally described as the accumulated unique records of an individual or institution that warrant permanent preservation because of their value to their creator (Local Government) for their legal, administrative or fiscal purposes or to researchers because of their potential research value.

The majority of archival material is paper-based but archives also includes:

  • Parchment
  • Photographs
  • Slides
  • Maps, plans and drawings
  • Audio and visual material
  • Electronic formats

Why are archives so important?

Archives are the raw material of history, they are primary sources, they are unique.

  • Invaluable tools for the historian
  • They are a sign of transparency

They are an irreplaceable heritage, making up the history of the population at a local and national level.

Archives confer an identity to individuals and groups. Together they are the common inheritance of all humanity.

For the Local Government, records and archives are part of a ‘corporate memory’.

What are the duties of the Archivist?

We ensure that, through our work, that the records of today are preserved for future generations. The records can then be used to show the life, ideas and decisions of the original creators, linking the past, present and future.

We appraise records with the help of those who originally received, created or/and used them We arrange and describe these selected records in order to allow efficient and effective access and retrieval. The security of archival collections requires the provision of descriptive lists, the comprehensive numbering and sub-numbering of documents, the supervision of researchers using documents and the provision of security microfilm.

We preserve records and apply basic conservation techniques to those which are damaged or deteriorating. We provide expert advice on the care and management of specialized media, for example, electronic records. We facilitate the work of a variety of researchers with diverse topics of inquiry.

We meet legal obligations in areas such as copyright, patent protection, data protection and Freedom of Information. Where sensitive or confidential information exists in deposited collections, these will be identified by the archivist when processing the collection and appropriate measures will be taken such as statements of closure or restrictions in descriptive lists, and warning labels on boxes.

We offer records management advice to organizations, as required. We encourage public awareness of the cultural significance of archives through various outreach activities.