Record Management Of Archival Material

Project and Seminar Material for Library and Information Science

Record Management Of Archival Material


This work is aimed at identifying the records management of Archival materials. The purpose of this work is designed to identify the various records management of Archival materials in the management of the Imo State Archives Owerri and to find out the causes of records deterioration and its solution.

The data used for the research were collected by the use of questionnaire and interview method supplemented by literature search by the researcher, frequency/percentage tables were used for data presentation and analysis. The findings of the study revealed that people do not make proper use of the archives due to inadequate choice of materials, bad atmospheric conditions, inadequate staff, and lack of proper awareness on the use of archival materials time constraints etc.

In addition to all these, the study further recommended that the archives should embark on certain programmes like selective dissemination of information, current awareness services, etc. The study hopes that the recommendations would make or record the most effective use of archival materials.

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

Records management has been defined as a programme to control the creation, practical use, maintenance, storage, protection and disposition of documents.

Records management also means the care and administration of records from time of creation till such records are permanently preserved in the archives.

Records management programme deals with records throughout their “life cycle”. The records life cycle has three distinct phases:

  1. The active or current phase;
  2. The semi active or semi current phase;
  3. When the records go out of regular use with perhaps minimal or occasional referencing and the inactive, non-current, dormant or archives phase, when the records are due for permanent preservation.

“Archives” has been defined as those records of any public or private institution, which are adjudged worthy of permanent preservation and conservation for reference and research purpose and which have been deposited or have been selected for deposit in an archival institution. Records may be in the forms of books, papers, maps, photographs or other documentary materials, regardless of physical forms or characteristics, made or received by any public or private institution in pursuance of its legal obligations or in connection with the transaction of its proper business.

According to Maclean e.g. (1995:32), “A record is a collection of related data or words treated as a unit”. Records management first took place at the National Archives in the United States of American in an attempt to improve records keeping method which were in chaotic condition. In many government departments and agencies; viola (1992) stated that a voluminous records were created without any organized plan for their disposition after the Second World War.

Therefore, the National Archives, in order to improve management of records, inaugurated “Records Administration programmes” on records disposition in the Federal Government Agencies. It became the schedule for the retention and disposal of records. After the second phase of the programme, “Record Administration” changed to “Record Management” chatfield (1968).

Furthermore, record management spread from the United States of America to other countries like Great Britain, Canada, and Scandinavian Countries, according to Bissonetter (1975). In Nigeria, it started as early as 1914, when the colonial office issued some guidelines in the management of records.
Use of Archival Materials

It is not doubtful that many, including the educated ones, do not know what archives are and their values, let alone making use of them.

The concept of “users of archives” used to describe persons or categories of persons, institutions who benefit from the use of archival facilities or materials. The use of archival materials and services has been noted as the greatest recognition of the indispensability of history and of valuables.

The use of archives in their entirely, reflects not only the growth and functioning of a government but also the development of a nation. No people can therefore be deemed masters of their own history until their public records are gathered. The care which a nation devotes to the preservation and use of archives, serves as a true measure of the degree of civilization to which it has attained. Apart from their basic use, archives have additional value; they contain informational data which helps the users to develop complete knowledge and appreciation of the significance of historical events and records. In every society archives constitutes an unsurpassed Sources for research on virtually every aspect of human existence, past or present, regarding which record has been created and maintained.

It is in the area of establishing complete intellectual knowledge of archival materials for the purpose of contributing significantly to the need which modern information science and technology demand that make the use of archives services in Nigeria very important. Archives services are not limited to the literates alone, even traders do visit archives from time to times to find out one thing or the other. It is in this connection that Adeniran noted that “all the collections in the archives are for the use of researchers and other information seekers”. All professionals like lawyers, politicians, civil servants, businessmen, community elders, and traditional rulers, lecturers, medical professionals, historians, etc make use of them, so also do the research students in Nigeria.

Users of archives use archival materials/information as a medium of interaction and users of all levels are afforded the opportunity to interact with other scholars either in imaginary world or portrayed in collection or in the real world as they gather and share experienced in the archives. The foal identification also influences the extent archival users use the archival collection of their institution and this is for the fact that every use of data or information is goal oriented. It must aim at solving a problem or enhancing a better understanding of an already know situation. The purpose of seeking information is centralized to its demand and use. The use of records in Nigerian archives is not restricted to certain categories of people neither does it discriminate against sex, age, education or tribe. It is open to all to make use of.

1.1 Background Study of Imo State Archive Owerri

It was established under law No. 5 1981 with a total number of 12 staff. The department is charges with the responsibility of taking of all records and documents belonging to Imo State and to make such record/documents available for public consultations. It is also the preoccupation of the archives to protect the national/state records from destruction or theft. To make effective performance, the organization is divided into sections/divisions.

These are as follows:

  1. Repository section / conservation section
  2. Acquisition section
  3. Search room
  4. Documentations section
  5. Administration section

1.2 Statement of the Problem

One of the greatest problems in archives is the fact that most documents are received in unsatisfactory physical state. The tendency to neglect records which are no longer needed for the conduct of day today business is universal in all public and private institutions.

Another problem which is now facing records keepers are that of acquainting themselves with the various preservation techniques and processes of prolonging and restoring other records and documents produced on a wide variety of rare materials.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The basic aim of this study is to identify the various records management of Archival materials in Imo State Archives Owerri.

  1. To find out the causes of records deterioration
  2. To examine the impact of the use of archival materials in the dissemination of information
  3. To investigate the problems militating against proper records management
  4. To proffer solutions that would ensure effective management of records in the archives.

1.4 Scope / Limitation of the Study

The study focused attention on the records management of Archival materials and how records should be preserved for future uses and also ways by which records can be preserved. The study also focuses on how to handle those agents that affects the records in archival institutions and the provision for the tools that will guide those records in archival institutions. Finally, there was non availability of related informative materials for the study.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The importance of this research work cannot be over looked because archival records are very valuable. Since archives constitute the richest cultural heritage of any nation. Record serves as reminders of the past in a better way than, human memory and this document also provides precedents in administration and other business transactions. Such precedents may include mistake made in the past which could guide the present and the future. It also assists in the writing and rewriting of national history and constitutes rich legacies to future generation which stimulates patriotism and national feelings.

1.6 Research Questions

  1. Does the Imo State Archives Owerri have a definite system used in managing its records?
  2. What are the types of records available in this institution?
  3. Are there trained workers and professionals in the field of records management?
  4. How can these materials be acquired and presented for effective use?
  5. What are the storage facilities available to their records?

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Introduction

This chapter deals with the conclusions based on the findings as well as recommendations.

5.2 Conclusion

This section presents the conclusions that were based on individual objectives of the study. The conclusions were also reached resulting from the findings of the study and the researcher’s own interpretation of these findings. Effective records management systems is a key in any institution and therefore a lot has to be taken to ensure effective records management. Records management is a managerial tool for making information / records availability and usability. It should be noted that the physical environment of the records matters much and so records should be put in a safer environment. It is not until there is a realization that records form an integral part of an institution that the handlers will be more careful in their way of handling records. Well knowing that records mostly kept and created are paper based, it is evident that the rate of deterioration is high and so proper management of storage facilities is important. In addition, causes of deterioration like insects and rodents should be curbed with appropriate measures like fumigation and other relevant measures. It should be noted that various challenges are faced during effective records management systems such as untrained staffs challenges and so the challenges should be attended to, perhaps solutions may be got, as some are already being dealt with by the institution. However, various recommendations have been put together to generally improve the effectiveness of records management systems in the University.

5.2 Recommendations

The following recommendations have been put forward to enhance record management in the organization.

  1. Since the world has entered the computer age it is necessary that record management in the organization should be computerized therefore computers should be acquired for use in every office so that records can easily be retrieved when the need arises.
  2. Organizations should train their staffs on the nitty gritty of record management.
  3. Organizations should give more emphasis on proper record to achieve its plan and increase productivity.
  4. Organizations should try and equip and update their record departments to enhance smooth operations.
  5. All staffs involved in record management the executives and their office professionals should be properly trained on a modern (contemporary) record management and keeping. Workshops seminars and short courses can be used to do the training.

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