Identifying Records at risk

What are archives?

Archives and records are recorded information (documents) of evidential value, regardless of form or medium that are created, received, and maintained by an organisation, agency, institution or individual in pursuance of their work.  


Old archives

What are records at risk?

Any situation where archives and records face a risk of destruction, damage, or dispersal without action to prevent this.

Warning signs of archives and records being at risk

The following signs may indicate archives and records at risk: 

  • Records of any organisation that has closed, gone into liquidation, or facing collapse 
  • Records held by organisations who are downsizing, vacating, or selling their premises or offices 
  • Records that have been abandoned, such as left in a derelict building, dumped in a skip, or stored in a damp basement. 
  • Records of an individual who has recently died without close family or friends 
  • Records that are undervalued for their cultural and research value by their custodians or where their ownership is uncertain 
  • Electronic records held in an obsolete format and that is inaccessible through currently available technology, such as digital records using obsolete software or reel to reel recordings that cannot be played 
  • Sales of archive material either on-line or through a traditional auction this may suggest a collection is being broken up and so destroying the integrity of the collection. 

This is not a comprehensive list, and you may have other evidence of an archive collection at risk.