From the Sector

Here you will find links to useful guidance and information produced by organisations across the heritage sector in response to the current COVID-19 lockdown, as well as details of some of the funding and financial support available for those affected by the pandemic.

DPC RAM 2.0 now available!

The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) relaunches an updated version of its Rapid Assessment Model (or DPC RAM) this week.

Designed to enable rapid benchmarking of an organisation's digital preservation capability, the DPC RAM is a digital preservation maturity modelling tool applicable to organisations of any size in any sector, and for all content of long-term value.

Originally developed in conjunction with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in the UK and first launched in 2019, the DPC RAM uses existing good practice to offer a model which is easy to understand, quick to apply and freely available for anyone to use.

Version 2 of DPC RAM retains its existing structure of 11 sections and 5 maturity levels and the examples provided within the model now cover additional areas such as user needs, ethics, environmental sustainability, accessibility, organisational strategy and continuity planning. Other changes to the model have focused on ensuring consistency and clarity.

Click here to find out more.

NUI Galway project to digitise letters from emigrants over hundreds of years

Archivists in Galway are starting work on a project to digitise thousands of letters sent home by emigrants to America, featuring transcripts of material sent from the late 1600s to the mid-1950s. Click here for further details.

Register by 9th April to take part in UK Distance Enquiry Services Survey 2021

The UK Distance Enquiry Services Survey 2021 will open on Monday 19th April. To take part you will need to register to by Friday 9th April.

The past year has been hugely challenging for everyone, but a common theme has been how people have continued to get in touch with their enquiries and to explore collections. In fact, many services have said that they have had many new enquirers, drawn to find out what we do because of lockdown generally or campaigns like History Begins at Home.

Because of this, the ARA's National Surveys Group has decided that it would be much more helpful to run the Distance Survey this year rather than the Visitor Survey and we have adapted the questionnaire to reflect the times we are living through.

If you haven't taken part in the survey before, it is run for the ARA's National Surveys Group by CIPFA and aims to capture the feedback from people who contact archive services by email or letter.  Questions cover the purpose of the enquiry, satisfaction with various aspects of the service and demographic information. The survey is online and takes no more than 5 to 10 minutes to complete.

Even if you only have a relatively few of these enquiries in your service, it is still worthwhile taking part as you will also get access to the full national report and information on other participating archives, which will help with planning, advocacy and benchmarking.

This year's survey window opens on Monday 19th April and closes on Sunday 25th July. This long window will give flexibility on when you run the survey and to be able to achieve sufficient numbers for the purposes of statistical validity.  To find out more about the costs, how to run it etc, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

New web-based resource for community archives launched

Are you a community or family archivist who would like some friendly guidance and support? If so, the new web resource created by archive professionals at Gloucestershire Archives could be just what you‘re looking for. There are plenty of areas to look at, including non- technical, down to earth advice on how to keep digital records safe into the future. Click here to access the new resource.

UNESCO News on Memory of the World Programme

The UNESCO Documentary Heritage Unit is pleased to share two pieces of news on the Memory of the World (MoW) Programme.

  1. MoW Global Policy Forum: 21st-22nd September 2021 in Paris.

The 2nd MoW Global Policy Forum will take place from 21st to 22nd September 2021 in Paris. Subject to Host Country rules governing Covid-19, the event is scheduled to be held as a hybrid, incorporating physical and virtual participation. It focuses on disaster risk reduction and management for sustainable preservation of documentary heritage. For details and to register, please visit this UNESCO web page.  

2) ‘Documentary Heritage at Risk -A Pilot Survey’ report is now available.

This pilot survey by UNESCO aimed to assess the extent of disaster risk to which memory institutions had been exposed, and how they had addressed them as a matter of emergency preparedness. The report includes various key findings and recommendations not only for memory institutions but to all stakeholders, including the policymakers and the international community. We hope that the survey report will inspire your activities and policy-making. For details, please visit this UNESCO web page.

Business Archives Council Announce 2021 Cataloguing Grant

BAC is excited to announce that this year’s cataloguing grant for business archives is a one-off bumper grant! This year a single grant of £7,000 is available. Funding has been provided by BAC and the former Archives and Artefacts Studies Network (A2SN).

BAC is delighted to have the support this year of the Community Archives and Heritage Group. The decision on the award of the grant will be made by a Cataloguing Grant Panel established by BAC which consists of two executive committee members, one non-executive member and a member of the Community Archives and Heritage Group. Panel members will not judge applications where they have a research or employment affiliation.

The Cataloguing Grant for Business Archives (2021) launches on 12th April 2021. The deadline for applications is 25th June 2021.  Further information, including guidance notes can be found here.

Any questions about The Cataloguing Grant for Business Archives should be addressed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Free Funding Resource Pack

TownsWeb Archiving has released a Funding Resource Pack. If you are the holder of an archive collection then you have no doubt embarked upon, or considered embarking upon, a digitisation project. You will also be aware that this comes at a cost. Securing funding is often where most projects fail to get off the ground and it is the primary reason for our annual TWA Digitisation Grant.

You can sign up for TownsWeb Archiving’s free funding focused resources by following the link below whereupon you will be directed to Debbie Cooper’s (Manager for PCN, Producer for FORMAT Festival, previous Fundraising Manager for Museums Sheffield and Artist and Photographer) successfully tried and tested advice on ‘How to Write When You’ve Got a Need’. You will also receive, direct to your email, TownsWeb Archiving’s funding pack, which consists of three downloadable resources that have been heavily informed and developed by industry experts. You will then continue to receive free focused resources over the coming weeks, to make the whole process that bit easier.

Grants are a really prudent and practical way of overcoming what has become one of the most significant barriers to digitisation. However, applying for funding can often feel a bit ‘hit and miss’ and can take an awful lot of time and focus. TownsWeb Archiving wanted to open up the process to make it more accessible, securing guidance from those who have themselves achieved success. 

Click here to opt in and receive all of the above.

Pragmatic Audiovisual Preservation: DPC releases new Technology Watch Report

First released to its members on World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) is pleased to announce the public launch of its latest Technology Watch Report, Pragmatic Audiovisual Preservation by Ashley Blewer.

A specialist in video, digital preservation workflows and infrastructure, Ashley currently works for Artefactual and acknowledged that the preservation of audiovisual materials remains a challenging topic, saying: "Moving beyond the complexity of audiovisual materials and the urgency around digitization, concepts related to significant technical characteristics and the impact each has on digital audiovisual files can be very daunting."

Her report for the DPC, Pragmatic Audiovisual Preservation, aims to provide easily digestible - and pragmatic - guidance for practitioners with a basic knowledge of digital preservation concepts and archival practices, but without expertise in audiovisual materials.

Click here to read the report.

DPC releases new Technology Watch Guidance Note – Which checksum algorithm should I use?

The Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) has launched the next in its series of Technology Watch Guidance Notes entitled ‘Which checksum algorithm should I use?’ by Matthew Addis today.

As the title suggests, Which checksum algorithm should I use? is intended to help answer one of the perennial questions in digital preservation. Starting by defining key terms, the report goes on to identify the reasons for using checksums and the algorithms which could be applied, before providing practical advice on where to store checksums as well as some of the tools available to create checksums and perform fixity checks.

This new Technology Watch Guidance Note and the rest of the series complements the DPC’s popular Technology Watch Reports and is designed to be a ‘bite-sized’ paper that might contain information about a problem, a solution, or a particular implementation of digital preservation and will provide a short briefing on advanced digital preservation topics.

Click to:

  *   Click here to read the story in full

  *   Click here to read ‘Which checksum algorithm should I use?

  *   Click here to discover the whole Technology Watch Series

  *  Click here to find out more about joining the DPC  

SCA guidance on creating online exhibitions

The Scottish Council on Archives has produced resources about creating online exhibitions. There is an introductory ten-minute video and two recorded webinar sessions on this subject. Click here for more information.

New Cleaning and Disinfecting Guide

Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) is a global library cooperative that provides shared technology services, original research and community programs for its membership and the library community at large. As part of its Reopening Archives, Libraries and Museums project (REALM), OCLC has published a Cleaning and Disinfecting guide containing advice for when services reopen to the public. The guide can be downloaded here.

The UK National Archives’ latest COVID-19 guidance

The UK National Archives has updated its guidance in response to the latest national lockdown. Its latest COVID-19 update can be found here and its updated checklist for planning short-term service changes can be found here.  The business continuity checklist is designed to support services at a point when access is being reduced during the pandemic.  

The (UK) National Archives: TNA updated useful resources webpage can be found here:  

https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/archives-sector/our-archives-sector-role/coronavirus-update/other-useful-resources/

Archives Unlocked Strategic Priorities 2020-22

The Strategic Priorities 2020-22 of Archives Unlocked, the UK National Archives’ collaborative vision for the UK archives sector have been announced.  To adapt to this year's challenges, an online version of this publication has been created so that anyone can refer to the strategic priorities, wherever they are.

Our Strategic Priorities 2020-22 build on our previous one-year action plans and outline the work that we are doing to deliver the Archives Unlocked vision. We have arranged each of the priorities under the three ambitions of Archives Unlocked: trust, openness and enrichment.

In previous action plans, our actions for each ambition focused on the themes of digital capacity, resilience and impact. While these themes remain as relevant as ever, we are now widening our focus to include the themes of diversity and inclusion, innovation and risk, advocacy and reputation, and health and wellbeing. This will allow us to give greater attention to issues affecting us all, both within the archives sector and beyond.

Please visit our Archives Unlocked web page to see the progress that we've already made since the last action plan in late 2019.

The (UK) National Archives (TNA) has released a series of advocacy resources to convey the value of digital archives and the need to act now to preserve them. The new resources are part of TNA’s Plugged In Powered Up digital capacity building strategy.

The first resource is a short video which introduces the digital challenge and explains how TNA is here to help. It highlights the impact that small steps can make and the importance of developing digital preservation, access and engagement skills.

TNA’s leaflet for decision makers complements the video and explains why organisations must invest in the digital management of archives. It also warns of the risks of failing to preserve digital assets.

A second leaflet is for archive professionals themselves and lists the ways in which TNA can support archive professionals with advice and free skills training. 

Museum Freelance survey findings now out

Museum Freelance – the organisation which delivered freelancer training for the ARA in March 2020 – has unveiled the findings of its survey into freelancers and freelancing with museums, galleries, heritage sites, libraries and archives.

The findings cover who freelancers are, their day rates, their motivations and challenges, as well as the Museum Freelance’s recommendations for organisations and freelancers, its next steps and much more.

You can view the full survey report, watch a recording from a presentation highlighting the findings the Museum Freelance gave to sector organisations and read a news release about the survey.

From Survival to Sustainability – support for the heritage sector during the COVID-19 pandemic

Rebuilding Heritage is a free support programme, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, to help the heritage sector respond to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. It aims to build confidence in a time of crisis by supporting individuals and organisations to overcome immediate challenges and plan for a sustainable future. It will provide training, advice, and support through:

  • one-to-one and group coaching and training sessions
  • opportunities for knowledge sharing
  • open access webinars
  • online guides and case studies

The programme is coordinated by The Heritage Alliance and will be delivered through a partnership with Clore LeadershipCreative United, the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, and Media Trust. It is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

REALM Project Test Results: Longevity of Coronavirus on materials

As part of the REALM Project’s research, Battelle has conducted four natural attenuation studies to provide information on how long the Coronavirus may survive on materials common to archives, libraries, and museums. The studies were conducted by applying the virulent SARS-CoV-2 virus on five materials held at standard room temperature (68°F to 75°F) and relative humidity conditions (30 to 50 percent). The materials were a hardback book cover, a softcover book cover, a plastic protective cover, a DVD case and expanded polyethylene foam.

Results show that after six days of quarantine the SARS-CoV-2 virus was still detected on all five materials tested.

Click here for full details of the test results.

Open Preservation Foundation (OPF) publishes digital preservation community survey results

The findings report and raw data from the OPF digital preservation community survey are now available on the OPF website - https://openpreservation.org/news/digital-preservation-community-survey-results-published/

With responses gathered from 98 organisations in 31 countries, the results provide an interesting snapshot of the digital preservation landscape today.

Community archives toolkit

The Norfolk Record Office is running a ‘Community Archives: Skills, Support and Sustainability’ project to enable community archive groups to preserve, manage and provide access to their historical collections through guidance, training and resources. The project has created a Community archives toolkit that explains how to collect, catalogue, digitise and preserve archive material.

The project also monitors the Norfolk Archives Network Forum, where community archive groups can promote their collections, network with their peers and request professional help. The Norfolk Record Office would like to thank the National Lottery Heritage Fund for their valuable role in funding the Community Archives project and would also like to thank National Lottery players for making this project possible.

#NationalLotteryHeritageFund

@HeritageFundM_E

www.archives.norfolk.gov.uk

Follow @BLSoundHeritage on Twitter or visit http://www.bl.uk/projects/save-our-sounds.

Historic England: latest guidance from Historic England on cleaning and disinfecting historic surfaces https://historicengland.org.uk/coronavirus/historic-places/cleaning-disinfecting-historic-surfaces/

Arts Council England are administering a separate portion of the DCMS funding to arts and cultural organisations (both non-profit and for-profit) based in England. More details can be found here.

The British Film Institute are also administering the Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas in England, on behalf of the UK Government. Details can be found here

The (UK) National Archives: TNA updated useful resources webpage can be found here:

https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/archives-sector/our-archives-sector-role/coronavirus-update/other-useful-resources/

ICOM and UNESCO’s COVID-19 reports findings for museums and museum professionals

To gather information on how the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak is affecting and will affect the cultural sector in the short and long term, ICOM launched a global survey to analyse the impact of lockdowns. The survey covered five themes: the current situation for museums and staff, predicted economic impact, digital and communication, museum security and conservation of collections, freelancer museum professionals. The report has analysed almost 1,600 responses from museums and museum professionals, in 107 countries and across continents, which were collected between 7 April and 7 May 2020.

In parallel, UNESCO Report ‘Museums Around the World in the Face of COVID-19’ (May 2020) contains the results of UNESCO’s world-wide survey conducted on the impact of COVID-19 on museums. The report provides new insights into the numbers and key trends of museums around the world, the measures museums have taken in response to the pandemic and actions proposed for the aftermath of the crisis. The report underscores the resilience of museums, as well as the challenges they face in their efforts to continue to promote access to culture.

Read the full ICOM report on the ICOM website.

Read the full UNESCO report on the UNESCO website.

 
ICON Conservation and care of collections during the coronavirus pandemic: Guidance produced by the UK Heads of Conservation Group for museums and other organisations trying to care for collections during the coronavirus lockdown.
 
ICO Data protection and coronavirus information hub: Regularly updated advice and guidance.
 
The following 'Covid-19 Resources Roundup' spreadsheet has been compiled to help small and medium sized institutions access the most useful advice and assist the response to lockdown and reopening.  Covid19 Resources Roundup V8 compiled by Victoria Stevens ACR
 
Dealing with FOI enquiries during the coronavirus crisis: guidance from the FOIMan blog.
 
Scottish Natural Heritage
 
Historic Environment Scotland
 
Historic England
 
SSE Enterprise: Guidance from SSE Enterprise on the ways in which building services can be used to reduce the spread of COVID-19, with a particular focus on ventilation and air conditioning.

https://sseenergyoptimisation.co.uk/stay-safe-with-sse-how-to-use-building-services-to-help-prevent-the-spread-of-covid-19/

CADW: the Welsh Government's historic environment service
 
Arts Council England’s Emergency Funding Package
Details of the Arts Council’s emergency funding for National Portfolio Organisations, organisations outside the National Portfolio, and individuals. There is also information for organisations that are currently in receipt of funding from the Arts Council and details of further support available from government and non-government sources.
www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid19
 
Arts Council of Northern Ireland
The latest guidance for the arts sector in Northern Ireland on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
 
The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Details of the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Emergency Fund, providing short-term funding for organisations delivering heritage projects or running previously funded projects, and safeguarding heritage sites that the National Lottery Heritage Fund has previously invested in.
 
The Heritage Council of Ireland
 
Canadian Conservation Institute: Caring for Heritage Collections during the COVID-19 Pandemic
 
Canadian Association for the Protection of Cultural Property: Detailed guidance on caring for heritage collections during the COVID-19 pandemic, including specific advice against using disinfectants when cleaning collections.
 
The Yale University COVID-19 Contingency Planning Public Health Committee has reviewed the most recent research into how long the SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes the disease, COVID-19) is active on surfaces for a certain amount of time and has concluded that the virus is no longer infectious on surfaces after 36 hours. It should also be noted that the likelihood of getting infected with the virus from an object or surface is low in a non-healthcare facility setting when practicing good personal hygiene. Click here for further information (link to PDF).
 
Museum Freelance Network - dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak as a freelancer: Emergency resources for freelancers.
 
Arts Council England Guidance: Closed venues and sites – advice on meeting security and environmental conditions for GIS and general collections purposes.
 
Taylor & Francis (ARA Journal publishers): COVID-19: free-to-access novel coronavirus content. This new microsite provides links and references to all relevant COVID-19 research articles, book chapters and information in support of the global efforts in diagnosis, treatment, prevention and further research into COVID-19.
 
Europeana - supporting galleries, libraries, archives, and museums: Supporting cultural heritage professionals in advice for the time of COVID-19.
 
The Digital Repository of Ireland - COVID-19: Playing our Part: The Digital Repository of Ireland has identified several key areas for support.
 
The Oral History Society: The society gives advice on the practicalities and ethics of remote interviewing, as well as some technical guidance.
 
Mass Observation Archive: advice and guidance from the Mass Observation Archive for community archives who might wish to collect material on their own community’s experience and diaries of the pandemic. They could either participate in or take example/guidance from this project.
 
The Society of American Archivists: a resource kit and guidance on documenting in times of crisis.
www2.rchivists.org/advocacy/documenting-in-times-of-crisis-a-resource-kit
 
Historic England: guidance from Historic England on how to clean historic surfaces

https://historicengland.org.uk/coronavirus/historic-places/cleaning-historic-surfaces/

An article about how to treat books during COVID-19: http://blog.bne.es/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/How-to-act-with-books-in-the-face-of-the-risk-of-COVID-19.pdf

The Institute of Museum and Library Services: Details of a COVID-19 Research Partnership to inform safe handling of collections, reopening practices for libraries, Museums: https://www.imls.gov/news/covid-19-research-partnership-inform-safe-handling-collections-reopening-practices-libraries
 
Explore your Archive: useful toolkits including guidance on using social media to promote archives and records: https://www.exploreyourarchive.org
 
Naomi Korn Associates: useful copyright and data protection resources, including one on social media, from Naomi Korn Associates who specialise in copyright, data protection and licensing. www.naomikorn.com/resources
 
Reopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM): Sign up for updates from a US-based project, Reopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM), which is testing how long the Coronavirus remains active on collection material: https://www.webjunction.org/explore-topics/COVID-19-research-project.html
 
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA): This IFLA document summarises different responses internationally to the question of how long to quarantine books. See the section on 'Handling Materials'. For example, in France it's 72 hours for paper but 10 days for plastic-coated materials. https://www.ifla.org/covid-19-and-libraries#handling
 
Library of Congress: The findings of a research project on the impact of hand sanitisers on collection materials. https://www.loc.gov/preservation/scientists/projects/sanitize.html
 
International Council On Archives: A statement from the International Council on Archives entitled ‘COVID-19: The duty to document does not cease in a crisis, it becomes more essential.’  https://www.ica.org/en/covid-19-the-duty-to-document-does-not-cease-in-a-crisis-it-becomes-more-essential
 
British Standards Institution (BSI): Building on formal guidance issued by UK Government, BSI has developed a new Safe Working Guidance set of guidelines to assist organisations as they adjust the way they work, and protect workers and other people in their workplace from the ongoing risks related to the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.  This document will be revised frequently to reflect the dynamic situation, considering comments from users, government guidance, the level of risk and emerging knowledge. https://www.bsigroup.com/en-GB/topics/novel-coronavirus-covid-19/covid-19-guidelines/?utm_source=pardot&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=SM-STAN-PRM-COVID19%2FGuidelines-2005