Orkney Archive Recognised Nationally for its Valuable Service

Orkney ArchiveThe Orkney Archive service, run by Orkney Islands Council, has today been issued with the industry stamp of approval by the Scottish Council on Archives and the National Records of Scotland.

The service was said to provide a valuable service.

They urged the service to look now to putting the archive catalogue online, which they felt would ‘significantly improve the visibility of collections to remote users’.

David Mackie, Senior Archivist, Orkney Archive said: “Everyone involved with Orkney Archive is thrilled and excited at becoming an accredited archive service. It has taken a lot of work to reach this stage but it has all been worthwhile, and the policies and procedures developed as part of the accreditation process mean that the archive service can continue to develop with clear aims and goals.

“The award is a credit to the archive’s small but dedicated workforce, who provide a level of service which frequently surpasses expectations. We will not rest on our laurels for too long however, but will strive to continue to improve in the future.”

Orkney Archive was created in 1973. It was the first local archive to be created outside Scotland’s major cities, a demonstration of the value placed on Orkney’s history and heritage by the then County Council, and was largely thanks to the work of the Chief Librarian at that time Evan MacGillivray.

The original collection was small, comprising of the collection of the Orkney Antiquarian Society which had been stored within the library. The collection has grown to its present size of over 70,000 catalogued items.

The first archivist, Murdo Macdonald, was in post until 1975 when Alison Fraser took over as Principal Archivist until her retirement in 2011. She was then replaced by Senior Archivist David Mackie.

Nowadays, the Archive has a strong international following and online presence through its ‘Get Dusty’ blog community.

Peter Diamond, Head of Leisure, Lifelong Learning and Inclusion at Orkney Islands Council said:

“The service was commended for its work developing access to the collection and broadening its volunteer base, for example the current project harnessing volunteer power to help catalogue mentions of service men and women who served in Orkney during the world wars.

“We’ll now look to implement recommendations for putting the archive catalogue online, to better serve the Orkney community and those from around the world who come to us to research their Orkney connections.”

Accredited Archive Services ensure the long-term collection, preservation and accessibility of Scotland’s archive heritage. Accreditation is the UK quality standard which recognises good performance in all areas of archive service delivery. Achieving accredited status demonstrates services have met clearly defined national standards relating to management and resourcing; the care of its unique collections and what the service offers to its range of users.

Accreditation lasts for up to six years, with two-yearly reviews.

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