1. Strategic alignment

The first step is to understand the strategic priorities or values of your parent institution or funders and be clear on the contribution the archive makes to them.


  • Ensure you and archives staff understand the strategic priorities and values of your division/department, parent institution, and funders (e.g. University/Department Strategic Plan, operational plans, department roadmaps, Vice-Chancellor’s circulars).
  • Identify how the archive contributes or could contribute to these strategic priorities and values. Consider using an outcomes framework or logic model to develop this.
  • Create a strategic or operational plan that articulates this contribution. Alternatively, ensure the archive is part of the plan for its division/department.

Guidance and resources

Reviewing and developing your strategy – our resource on strategic planning.

A guide to developing an outcomes framework for archives – our guide to using an outcomes framework to show how the outcomes that the archive delivers align with the parent institution’s strategic priorities. Some of the context is aimed at local authority services, but the principles remain the same. An example of an outcomes framework for an HE archive can be found below.

Get your house in order: advocating for the profession by advocating for your archives. This paper by E. Lawrimore was presented at the 2013 Society of American Archivists Meeting. It places a strong emphasis on aligning the work of the archive with the institution’s goals.

Case study

In case study 1, the archive worked collaboratively with library management and other stakeholders to develop a vision for the archive.

Example outcomes framework

Overarching strategic outcomes (parent institution)

  • World changing research
  • Fulfilling the potential of students
  • Improving the lives of people locally/regionally)
  • Environmental sustainability

Intermediate outcomes

  • Excellence in research
  • Higher quality teaching
  • Improved employability of students
  • Improved skills and confidence of local residents
  • Better wellbeing of students and people

Service outcomes

  • Archives inspire and inform research
  • Archives inspire and inform teaching/learning
  • Students develop skills from archives
  • Local residents develop skills from archives
  • Improved wellbeing of archive users
  • Outstanding student experience