Reminder: Corporate Archives & the Production of History

The Unit for Economic History organizes jointly with the Regional State Archives in Gothenburg an International Workshop the following workshop

Private Interests or National Heritage? Corporate Archives and the Production of History in a Global Perspective

Venue: Regional State Archives in Gothenburg

Date: November 24th–25th 2016

Keynote speakers:

Elizabeth Shepherd, Ph D, professor and director of research at Archives and Records management studies, UCL. She is author of Archives and Archivists in 20th Century England (Ashgate, 2009) and serves on the editorial board of the journals Archival Science: Journal of the Society of Archivists and the Record Management Journal.

Charles Harvey is Professor of Business History and Management at Newcastle University Business School. In a distinguished career he has published numerous highly regarded articles on a wide range of topics in business history, management and organization studies. He was a long time editor of the journal Business History.

Rationale:

Corporate archives are preserved for a variety of reasons. Likewise they are preserved in a multitude of different places and under a multitude of different conditions. These variations might reflect differences in how corporate records are viewed and valued, to whom they are seen to belong, and in the uses to which it is believed they can be put. Sometimes companies retain records out of habit or inertia. Others have a more active interest in preserving their history and perhaps in preparing for writing that history. The archive can be used for branding and marketing purposes, for image creation by the companies, for change management, or for other strategic purposes. Some corporate archives are collected and organized to the highest standards of the archive profession, while others are merely a result of requirements to keep specific records. Other companies, whether purposefully or otherwise, rarely retain archives or regularly destroy their records and documents. The fate of an archive when a company dies is another important question, as is the fate of the archives of state-owned enterprises experiencing privatization. Another question concerns the archives of multinational corporations, who often cross multiple borders.

At the same time, it is not only corporations themselves who sometimes collect, store, and make accessible corporate archives – a range of private, quasi-public, and public organizations and institutions might become involved. As in many fields of social life, history has seen a turn to a transnational or global perspective, asking questions about the patterns and variations across and between rather than simply within countries. However, the very largest unit at which archives are organized tends to be the nation. As a result, the differences – and similarities – in the ways in which corporate archivization takes place across nations has tended to go unexamined. Simply stated, we know that corporate archives are preserved in many different venues, by many different bodies, and for many different reasons and this become even more apparent when we adopt a global perspective.

Our sense is that choices around the institutions and practices of the archive have real implications for the kinds of history generated. Are we correct in this? Our aim in organizing this conference on corporate archives in global perspective is not simply to gain an overview of patterns and differences between countries but also to enquire as to what consequences these patterns and variations have for the production, dissemination, and reception of history. The international perspective will, it is intended, throw these issues into sharper relief.

For more information and preliminary program, see:

http://es.handels.gu.se/avdelningar/avdelningen-for-ekonomisk-historia/workshop-in-economic-history–private-interests-or-national-heritage–

The workshop is free of charge (lunches etc on own expenses), but in order for us to know the number of participants, kindly register to Susanna Fellman

susanna.fellman@econhist.gu.se

Welcome

Professor Susanna Fellman  and professor Andrew Popp (VPP at Economic History)

 

Corporate Archives in Global Perspective

Corporate Archives in Global Perspective: Preliminary Timetable

Thursday 24th November 2016:

10.00 Opening of workshop, words of welcome, practical information

10.15-11.00. Key Note I Professor Elizabeth Shepherd (UCL, London) TBA

11.00 -12.00 Session I: Voice vs Silence in the Corporate Archive:

Mats Jönsson (University of Gothenburg): “From Private Silent Imagery to Counterfactual Audiovisual History: Causes and Effects of Digital Compilation by A Commercial Film Archive”..”

Andrew Smith (University of Liverpool) & Maki Umemura (Cardiff Business School), “Why We Need a Transparency Revolution in Business History.”

Lunch: 12.00-13.00

13.00-14.30 Session II: National vs. International Perspectives on Preservation of Corporate Archives

Karl-Magnus Johansson (Landsarkivet I Goteborg), “Short Introduction to Swedish Corporate Archives and their Preservation.”

Anders Houltz (Centre for Business History, Sweden), “Private Interests and National heritage: A Swedish Model for Preserving Corporate Archives.”

Diego Coraiola (University of Victoria, Canada) & Stephanie Decker (Aston Business School), “International Archives and National Institutions.”

Coffee: 14.30-15.00

15.00-16.30: Session III Public needs vs Private Interests? Competing Models for Preserving Corporate Archives

Neill Forbes (University of Coventry), “New connections for the BT Archives?

Inte Fintland & Torkel Thime, “The Potential and Possible Problems in Combining Private and Public Archival Material.”

Jarmo Luoma-Aho (Central Archive for Finnish Business Records): “The state subsidy system for private archives and the Central Archives for Finnish Business Records.”

16.30-17.30: Panel Discussion and Closing of Day 1
Friday 25th November:

8.30-9.15 Key Note II: Professor Charles Harvey, (Newcastle University Business School) “History, Archives and the Pursuit of Competitive Advantage: Upside and Downside”.

9.15-9.30 Coffee:

9.30-11.30 Session III: Business Archives and the Control of the Past

Diego Coraiola (University of Victoria) & Wim van Lent: “Creating the Ultimate History: Archives, Memory and Control at the Dutch East India Company.”

Hans Hulling (Karlstads Universitet), “Histories in the Principality of Uddeholm: Corporation, Trade Union and local Community narrating History at times of Transformation and Crisis, ca 1870-1990.”

Andrew Popp (University of Gothenburg) and Susanna Fellman (University of Gothenburg), “A Stakeholder Perspective on Corporate Archives.”

Roy Suddaby (University of Victoria), TBA

11.30 closing of seminar, lunch.

Transparency and information management in financial institutions From the inside out — The Past Speaks

Reblogged from The Past Speaks:

Conference: 14 Sep 2016, Madrid, Spain European Business History Association in cooperation with Banco de España. Transparency is becoming an increasingly important theme, and mode of operation, in today’s financial institutions and global financial markets. This year’s eabh summer school will provide training on the latest developments in financial transparency and how financial archivists can serve their […]

via Transparency and information management in financial institutions From the inside out — The Past Speaks

Event: Business history and digital records

 

Please accept our apologies for any cross-posting.

How will business histories be written from digital records?

MON, 9 MAY AT 09:30, EDINBURGH

Organized by:
Tim Gollins and Michael Moss

Free Event

The National Records of Scotland, in collaboration with the University of Glasgow’s Centre for Business History in Scotland (CBHS), is hosting a one day conference on the theme of using digital records for business history research. The conference will be held in Edinburgh on Monday 9th May 2016, and is an exciting opportunity for archivists, historians and technical experts with an interest in business records to meet and discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by the shift of records from the physical to the digital.

This one day conference will bring together interested parties from a variety of backgrounds, including businesses, archives, academics and technology. Speakers will present short papers aimed to provoke debate and discussion from panel members and delegates. The day will be an opportunity for collaboration and idea sharing and we anticipate some lively discussion! We hope that the event will produce a new network of professionals across a variety of disciplines, who will be persuaded to bid for funds to conduct further research.

Although the day will focus primarily on business records, the hope is that lessons learned from the business archive community will be used to inform wider debate about the issues surrounding use of digital records for research.

There will be four segments to the day, as follows:

Business archives: two archivists’ perspective

  • the paper world
  • the digital world
  • panel discussion

Business history: two historians’ perspectives

  • the paper world
  • the digital world
  • panel discussion

Digital technology: two experts from the field

  • insights and innovation
  • panel discussion

Conclusions: consortium speed dating exercise and funding streams.

The event is free to attend and tea/coffee and lunch will be provided. Places are limited so please book your ticket via Eventbrite soon.

WHEN: Monday, 9 May 2016 from 09:30 to 17:00 (BST)

WHERE: New Register House – 3 West Register Street, Edinburgh EH1 3YT, United Kingdom

Organiser:

Tim Gollins is Head of Digital Archiving at The National Records of Scotland and as programme director leads their Digital Preservation Programme. Prior to joining the NRS Tim was Head of Digital Preservation at the National Archives, where he led work on digital preservation and cataloguing. Tim was also a Director of the Digital Preservation Coalition for 6 years and is a member of the University of Sheffield I-School’s Advisory Panal.

Michael Moss has been a professor of archival science at Northumbria University since 2013 and holds a fellowship at the University of Melbourne’s e-Scholarship Research Centre. Michael was archivist of the University of Glasgow from 1974 until 2001, and research professor of archival science at the University of Glasgow between 2001 and 2013. He also has a long standing interest in business archives.

Please register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-will-business-histories-be-written-from-digital-records-tickets-24394826583

Please contact Jo Dixon at Josephine.Dixon@nrscotland.gov.uk for further information.

 

CfP: Corporate Archives & the Production of History

CALL FOR PAPERS
Private Interests or National Heritage?
Corporate Archives and the Production of History in a Global Perspective

An International Workshop organised jointly by the Unit for Economic History at Gothenburg
University and the Regional State Archives in Gothenburg
Venue: Regional State Archives in Gothenburg
Date: November 24th–25th 2016

As in many fields of social life, history has seen a turn to a transnational or global perspective, asking questions about the patterns  and variations  across and between  rather  than simply within countries. Corporate archives are preserved for a variety of reasons. Likewise they are preserved in a multitude of different places and under a multitude of different conditions.  These variations might reflect differences in how corporate records are viewed and valued, to whom they are seen to belong, and in the uses to which it is believed they can be put. Sometimes  companies  retain records out of habit or inertia. Others have a more active interest in preserving their history and perhaps in preparing for writing that history. The archive can be used for branding and marketing purposes, for image creation by the companies, for change management or for other strategic purposes. Some corporate archives are collected and organized to the highest standards of the archive profession, while others are merely a result of requirements to keep specific records. Other companies,  whether purposefully or otherwise, rarely retain archives or regularly destroy them/their records and documents. The fate of an archive when a company dies is another important question, as is the fate of the archives of state-owned enterprises experiencing  privatization.  In general, corporate owners of archives do not always recognize the contemporary  value or historical importance of their records.

Nonetheless, it is increasingly acknowledged that corporate archives can provide important material which enable new perspectives and alternative histories to be written and that they are useful not only for business historians and those commissioned to write corporate histories, but that they can also provide rich material and valuable sources for political and economic historians, and for social, labour, and cultural historians. Private archives in general and the corporate archives in particular, can, moreover, also be valuable for wider groups of users and many stakeholders have interest in the archives. Apart from owners and historians, the corporate archive can be valuable for museums, local communities and the public in general.

However,  private corporate archives are not always considered important to either national heritage or to historical writing. State archives are often charged with preserving what might be thought of as the public history of the nation. Private corporate  archives might be seen as having an inferior status to official governmental archives. Moreover, not even national archives have unlimited resources. There is then very little consistency or consensus about how, where or why corporate archives might be preserved and made available. This inconsistency  poses a potential threat to our understanding of the relationship between corporations, enterprise, and society.

Thus, as we have noted, corporate  archives are preserved in many different venues, by many different bodies, and for many different reasons. Besides private corporate archives stored in-house by the companies themselves, they can be preserved in large private organisations,  which retain private collections,  they can be deposited in museums or in national or regional public archives, in libraries, and in university collections. But if there is considerable variation and inconsistency at the national level then how much truer is this at an international or global level? What patterns can be observed? What are the implications of such patters, and what can they tell us? This is the focus of our workshop.

Our sense  is that choices around the institutions  and practices  of the archive have real implications for the kinds of history  generated. Are we correct in this? Our aim in organizing this conference on corporate  archives in global perspective is not simply to gain an overview of patterns and differences between countries  but also to enquire as to what consequences  these patterns and variations have for the production, dissemination, and reception of history. The international perspective will, it is intended, throw these issues into sharper relief.

We are delighted  to announce a two-day conference, to be hosted by the Regional State Archives in Gothenburg,  Sweden (organsied jointly with Unit of Economic History at Gothenburg University), with the aim of beginning to consider and address these questions. We are seeking the participation  of historians, archivists, and business owners and managers.

Questions that might be considered include but are not limited to:

  • What patterns and differences in the handling of private corporate archives can be observed from an international perspective?
  • How do these patterns and differences impact what is preserved and stored, how it is organized, who has access to it, and how (and by whom) it is used?
  • What is the role of public archives for private ones? Have models of organizations of material in public archive ‘spilled over’ on how private archives are organized?
  • What challenges and opportunities are created in this area by the rise of Multinational Enterprises and other forms of transnational organization and institution?
  • If there are variations to be observed, then can we see any sign of convergence on international norms and standards, as is happening in other fields of social life?
  • How might observed variations be explained? How important  are legal contexts, for example through variation in legal requirements for record keeping and corporate reporting?
  • Do observed patterns reflect deep across societies and cultures in terms of their relationship to history and the historical record? In other words, what might a society’s archiving choices tell us about its relationship to and use of history? Such variations might also alert us to variations in socio-cultural  attitudes towards private interests versus the public good.
  • Similarly, we are interested in the implications of any variations that might be observed have for the kinds of history that is preserved and for the kinds of histories (that might be textual or take many other forms) that are produced, from one country to another?

We invite paper proposals dealing with any of these topics.

Deadline for proposal is June 1, 2016.

Please address the proposals and all expressions of interest to either Susanna Fellman (susanna.fellman@econhist.gu.se) or Andrew Popp (andrew.popp@liverpool.ac.uk)

Report on the Digitisation of Cultural Heritage

Love it or loathe it, digitisation and digital humanities are becoming and increasingly important area for anyone interested in historical research on organizations. Yet the report by eNumerate, formerly an EU funded project aimed at creating statistical data about the digitization, of cultural heritage in Europe, shows that there is still a long way to go for most archives:

“On average 23% of European collections have been digitised, with Museums leading the way with the highest proportion (31%) up from 24% in the 2014 survey (Core Survey 2- CS2). However at the other end of the scale, only 13% of record office/archive collections and 19% of library collections have been digitised. This is possibly down to the vast amount of records these institutions hold, which could result in a longer digitisation process.”

As this infographic shows, digitisation remains a major area that the UK government and the EU are investing in. Yet the impact this is likely to have on research practices or the availability of documents from private organization archives remains unclear.

Infographic: Digitisation landscape in 2015 from eNumerate

You can read the summary and the full report here: eNumerate Digitisation in Cultural Heritage 2015 : Key findings | TownsWeb Archiving.