Ignore me - filler


Ignore me - filler

Australian Science Archives Project
providing access to Australia's scientific,
medical & technological heritage

Archives and Records Services

The Role of Archives in Corporate Management
Requirements for a Basic Archival Records Program
ASAP's Consultancy Services
The ASAP Archives and Records Program Model
The ASAP Archival Data-management System
The Consultancy Process
ASAP's Record of Achievement
Further Information

The Role of Archives in Corporate Management

What is scientific memory?
What is corporate memory?
What is cultural memory?

ASAP believes that information about the people, context and history behind an organisation is vitally important. Without this knowledge, it is impossible to accurately trace the development of ideas, changes in practice, and institutional structures and organisation. Unfortunately, the survival of such knowledge cannot be assumed, and its loss may have an enormous impact on future organisational endeavour, along with broader cultural, legal and financial ramifications. The preservation of memory has to be tackled at all levels of society, from the individual, family, corporate, and government, to the broad national and international levels.

The management of archival records is an important strategic function of all modern corporations. If readily accessible, such records can be used to support the activities of an organisation, and a well-managed archival records program provides the tools for managers to readily locate the information they need to perform many key functions.

Archival records have been shown to play an important role in:

  • providing administrative continuity;
  • maintenance of corporate memory and identity;
  • corporate planning;
  • risk management;
  • organisational accountability, both internal and external;
  • provision of evidence for legal purposes;
  • public relations and product promotion;
  • provision of resources for historical analysis; and
  • provision of information on breakthroughs and dead-ends.

Requirements for a Basic Archival Records Program

A modern archival records program needs to:

  • control all the records of an organisation which have long-term continuing value;
  • be involved in the assessment of this value from an early stage;
  • be able to track the physical location of records;
  • ensure that records are not at significant risk from damage;
  • ensure that records are readily retrievable; and
  • provide straightforward access to information.

A poorly run or partial archival program can lead to selective corporate amnesia and an inefficient use of resources and staff time when trying to locate archival information.

ASAP's Consultancy Services

ASAP offers professional advice and project management across the full spectrum of archives, records management and information services.

Our consultancy services are flexible and responsive to specific client needs and include:

  • project planning and management;
  • surveying and assessment of records;
  • backlog processing;
  • appraisal and scheduling;
  • establishment of in-house archives and records programs;
  • imaging of records;
  • provision of software; and
  • on-going advice and support for clients.

The ASAP Archives and Records Program Model

ASAP's consultancy services are based on the ASAP Archives and Records Program model (ARP) and the ASAP Archival Data-management System (ADS). The ARP provides the conceptual and strategic framework that enables the systematic documentation of records. The ADS, a combination of methods and database software, provides the tools to implement an Archives and Records Program. This flexible methodology can be applied equally well to detailed descriptions of records of individuals or societies through to the management of records holdings within complex environments.

As a professional archival body, ASAP uses the latest in database and computer technologies to ensure that we work as efficiently and effectively as possible. Every collection is different and poses particular problems, so ASAP has evolved flexible processes that can handle both large-scale organisational collections (measured in linear kilometres) and small collections of personal records (measured in linear metres).

ASAP is an acknowledged world-leader in archival informatics and is offering services at the cutting edge of the profession. The hallmarks of its services are its ability to integrate documentation of records, artifacts and related materials to provide multiple access points for current and future use. All ASAP works stems from three basic principles:

  1. provide access to content;
  2. document context; and
  3. preserve integrity.
The ASAP ADS software and methodology unites these three principles to produce products and solutions that were only visions a few years ago.

The ASAP Archival Data-management System

The centrepiece of ASAP's processing services is ADS - the Archival Data-management System. ASAP ADS has been developed over a decade of on-site archival work for a wide variety of clients. It has the ability to process, catalogue and manage collections of any size, in a cost-effective and comprehensive manner, and it can provide as much (or as little) detail as the client requires. ASAP ADS is designed to document a variety of records, artifacts and related materials and is flexible enough to manage decentralised record sets.

At the core of ADS is information about:

  • the creators of the records (Provenance);
  • the sets or sequences into which the records fall (Series); and
  • individual items, files or filing units (Inventory).

Provenance and Series provide an overview of the collection and are used as the basis from which to create detailed Inventory descriptions of records.

ASAP has also developed flexible output from our databases so that the data can be easily transferred to the systems used by such bodies as the Australian Archives and the Public Record Office of Victoria; it can also be used to produce attractive and easy-to-use hard copy guides and multimedia publications. Conversely, ASAP's system has also been developed so that it can receive data from existing computer-based file registry systems or similar databases to ensure the integration of all archival records.

ASAP issues a licence to its clients to use the ADS for the management of their archival materials. This licence is usually provided to the client when they advance to the inventory phase of a project.

The Consultancy Process

The consultancy process begins with an initial survey to determine the scope of the project, the structure and condition of the collection, and establish the specific needs of the client in regard to their records collections.

Scoping Projects are an initial 'project' which allows ASAP to establish the amount and type of records involved in each full scale archival project. ASAP has developed a means of gaining control of records in situ, using archival methodology and the ADS tools. They may take from half a day to two or three days, or longer for larger or more complex holdings. Accession, Series and Provenance information is collected, usually by a team consisting of an ASAP Project Archivist and an Archivist. The records may be held in a variety of locations.

The information gathered by the scoping team is then collated and produced in report form for the client. This preliminary report provides an overview of any problems associated with the collection, possible solutions, a summary of long-term goals, and a detailed budget and project proposal. Costing for this work is done on a weekly or daily basis. The report also outlines the material in the scoped collection and ASAP's recommendations for the best methods of dealing with the records.

Following the initial Scoping Project, ASAP can provide a variety of services, including individual or teams of archivists to accomplish a detailed survey of the collection. ASAP is able to provide both system and specialist staff, or to train client personnel in the use of the system.

All work is carried out using ASAP's ARP methodologies and project management strategies to ensure that the data collected and services provided are of a uniformly high quality. The data will adhere to ASAP's high standards, which are also compatible with major official collecting bodies; while the structures set in place by the ASAP ADS allow the database to be continually upgraded according to clients' future needs.

ASAP issues a licence to its clients to use the ADS for the management of their archival materials. This licence is usually provided to the client when they advance to the inventory phase of a project.

In-house training is available to develop the skills necessary for the client to manage ASAP ADS and their archival collections.

ASAP's Record of Achievement

ASAP has successfully completed projects for archival repositories, scientific institutions, a variety of heritage organisations, families and individuals as well as some of the largest single archives and records projects ever attempted in Australia for the power and pharmaceutical industries.

The ASAP archives and records program model has been employed extensively, both in the description of the personal records of prominent Australian scientists - such as Albert Lloyd George Rees, Edwin Sherbon Hills, Michael James Denham White, and Nobel prizewinner Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet - and in large scale work for a number of scientific and technological institutions and corporations.

Successful projects have been undertaken for corporate clients and scientific organisations, including:

  • The State Electricity Commission of Victoria (now Generation Victoria), Herman Research Laboratories, SEC photographic collection, and Hazelwood Power Station;
  • The Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens;
  • RMIT Fashion and Textile Design Resource Collection;
  • Royal Melbourne Hospital Archives;
  • Australian Academy of Science;
  • CSL Ltd Parkville and CSL Bioplasma Broadmeadows;
  • Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research;
  • Baker Medical Research Institute;
  • Hazelwood Power Station Archives/Morwell Mine Archives;
  • Hazelwood Power Corporation Records Management;
  • Southern Hydro (including Eildon Power Station, Rubicon Power Station Administration, Mount Beauty Power Station, Clover Power Station and West Kiewa Power Station);
  • Loy Yang Power Ltd;
  • Loy Yang Project;
  • Newport Power Station;
  • Electricity Supply Industry Reform Unit;
  • Roche Product Pty Ltd;
  • Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Historic Places Section;
  • Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering;
  • Kew Asylum Museum/Archives;
  • Le Souef Family;
  • Pigment Manufacturers Association; and
  • Royal Australian Chemical Institute.

Further Information

Further information can be obtained by contacting ASAP's Head Office in Melbourne, or the Canberra Office. Details can be found in ASAP's Staff Directory.

ASAPWeb | About ASAP | Statistics
Search | Site Index | Site Map

Published by: Australian Science Archives Project on ASAPWeb, 9 September 1996
Comments or questions to: ASAPWeb (asapweb@asap.unimelb.edu.au)
Prepared by: Tim Sherratt
Updated by: Elissa Tenkate
Date modified: 25 February 1998