Prevention of theft from archives
Let’s set up a group to act upon the Quebec CITRA (2007) resolution about the prevention of thefts from archives, and subsequent discussions about security and archives. (The text of the resolution is at the foot of this message.)
The discussion group at the CITRA 2007 thought that our first action should be to discover what different countries and organisations have already done to try to prevent thefts as ICA should learn from them and seek to build upon that work rather than to duplicate it. I have listed below the major activities that I already know about and would be grateful if anyone involved in them could provide updates or improvements on my text. It would also be interesting to hear of any other relevant projects, including those carried out by libraries, museums and galleries as the challenges they face are very similar to ours. Once we know what is happening elsewhere, our next step could be to discuss possible routes forward for ICA.
EUROPEAN BOARD ON NATIONAL ARCHIVES
Working Group: Prevention against theft
Has published ‘Stealing from archives: a report on European theft’
EBNA has been working on reading room regulations which set out principles and best practice.
Association of European Research Libraries
LIBER Library Security Network
On 2 July 2002, the Executive Board of LIBER, in line with the Copenhagen Principles of 14 May 2002, endorsed the establishment of a Library Security Network to facilitate the exchange of confidential security information among European national, university and other important research libraries with valuable collections.
The objective is to create a safe information and communication network, based on email, for European Library Directors and Security Managers.
LIBER Quarterly 18/2, which includes articles from the LIBER Library Collection Security Conference and International Roundtable on Collection Security, is now online at http://liber.library.uu.nl/
THE NATIONAL COUNCIL ON ARCHIVES (UK)
Public Services Quality Group’s Security and Access Group
PSQG’s annual Quality Forum in 2007 was on the theme Balancing the Impossible – security and access in archives
At the Quality Forum, it was agreed that it would be beneficial to set up a Security and Access Group. The first meeting of this new group was held on 1 January 2008. It aims to consider ethical dilemmas, standards and develop rules and regulations, taking into account the work already done by EBNA.
THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
Has produced ‘Guidelines for the security of rare books, manuscripts, and other special collections’ and ‘Guidelines regarding thefts in libraries’
THE MUSEUM SECURITY NETWORK
The Museum Security Network has been online since December 1996. Its original aim was to be a source of information for cultural property protection professionals. On a daily basis information is disseminated about incidents with cultural property.
LONDON MUSEUM AND ARCHIVE SECURITY GROUP
Organised by Metropolitan Police Art and Antiques Unit. Meets quarterly. Circulates details concerning recent crime trends and information concerning stolen/recovered items and profiles of suspects.
THE ART LOSS REGISTER
This is a database of lost and stolen art, antiques and collectables. Its range of services includes item registration and search and recovery services.
MISSING MAP INDEX
The ‘Missing Map Index’ of the International Antiquarian Mapsellers Association (IAMA) has recently been completed. It is the result of collaboration between dealers, collectors, librarians and curators.
RESOLUTION PASSED AT THE QUEBEC CITRA 2007
Whereas the increasing commercial value of archival records and the increasing risks of thefts which ensue, in archival institutions as well as by users in reading rooms
• to create a working group on issues relating to security and to support projects developed in this area, in cooperation with all concerned professions, including IFLA and ICOM;
• to work with libraries, museums, art galleries and other relevant institutions to create standards of good practice likely to prevent thefts of archives;
• to cooperate with national and international organizations and projects likely to contribute to prevent thefts of archives;
• to encourage governments and the judiciary and police services to consider the theft of archival records is as serious as that of art works.