Cultural heritage institutions and their employees all over the world are facing harsh lockdown measures responding to the coronavirus outbreak. Archives in particular are experiencing a difficult time, as they were forced to close, and do not know when they can open their doors again for the public and grant access to their physical collections.
In order to help cope with the crisis situation and to promote, at the same time, preservation and research activities and the use of archival collections, the International Council of Archives (ICA) has developed a digital map. By joining this map, archives and records communities can enhance their online presence by sharing online exhibitions, catalogs, specific collections, or crowd-sourcing projects that involve people as they are #stayinghome.
One can find prominent archival institutions being part of the global ICA network. To name a few: London Metropolitan Archives, Oxford Brookes University – Special Collections and Archive, Archives Nationales, Archives Diplomatique, Bundesarchiv Koblenz, Stasi Records Archive, State Archives of Poland, ICARUS Croatia, Budapest City Archives, National Archives of Hungary, National Archives of Estonia, University of California San Francisco, University of Toronto Scarborough Archives and Special Collections, JF Kennedy Presidential Library, National Archives and Records Administration, Smithsonian Institution Archive, and many others.
ICA defines archives as institutions that "constitute the memory of nations and societies, shape their identity and are a cornerstone of the information society. By providing evidence of human actions and transactions, archives support administration and underlie the rights of individuals, organizations and states. By guaranteeing citizens' rights of access to official information and to knowledge of their history, archives are fundamental to identity, democracy, accountability and good governance." The COVID-19 pandemic endangers these important activities, especially if research is obstructed and scientific knowledge cannot be continuously and systematically produced. Hopefully, ICA’s global map will contribute to fulfilling archives' mission.
You can browse the map on the ICA website, or below: