Orkney Islands Council
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Much loved Orkney archive gains stamp of approval

Much loved Orkney archive gains stamp of approval
23 November 2017

Orkney’s much loved archive service has been applauded for a well-run and effective service, during a national accreditation process.

The 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.

In its feedback to the service, assessors noted that said they recognised the pride felt by the people of Orkney in their heritage, and praised the ‘valuable service’ the Orkney Archive provides.

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’.

The accreditation comes following a rigorous review of the service against the UK Archive Service Accreditation Standard.

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 replaced by Senior Archivist David Mackie.

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

Commenting on the accreditation, 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. See the Scottish Archives website for the official announcement.