Nearly one fourth of all individuals in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) have a migration background. It's time for archives to consider how to more accurately reflect the diverse realities of life today. Since April 2013, DOMiD has been developing a documentation profile to aid in this process. The goal is to help archivists to more effectively represent the multi-facetted topic of migration through administrative records and documents from private collections and estates. The project is supported by the Rhineland Regional Association (LVR) and is being developed in cooperation with the Municipal Archive of Düren, the Archive of the Rhine-Erft District and the City Archive of Hürth. The project will be completed in December 2013.
It is the responsibility of public archives to preserve administrative records and documents and to make them available to the public. However municipal administrations produce far too many records for archives to absorb completely. Therefore, one of an archivist's most important duties is the appraisal of documents. The archivist must select from the mass of administrative records those documents which should be preserved in the archive. Often, these decisions are made for one administrative division at a time. The process is typically led by a question such as: "Which of these files from the youth welfare office have archival value?"
Rethinking Public Archives
However, archives – especially at the municipal level – are experiencing a paradigm shift. Standard practices are being rethought. Topics related to everyday life are once again being emphasized. The goal is to provide citizens with archival records that reflect their town as faithfully as possible. So, the reimagined question may be: "Which topics related to children and youths should be featured in the archive?" A central resource for such collection process is the documentation profile. It defines what should be documented for one realm of local life, identifies suitable resources within the administrative structure and from external sources, and aids document appraisal.
The results of the project are now available for download (in German).
Photo: DOMiD Archive
Slide frame photo: Presentation by Nasrin Saef at the Rhineland Archives Day 2012 in Kleve. LVR-Archivberatungs- und Fortbildungszentrum, C. Hartmann