Records Preservation has been at the core of the Association’s activities since its foundation in 1932. The BRA has played a major role in raising awareness of the value of archives and threats to their survival. For many years, with external funding, the Records Preservation Section received records and organised their distribution to local authority, specialist and business archive repositories across the UK. An article in the Archives journal of the BRA (no. 136 April 2018) traces the history of the section.
The challenges to records preservation have changed over the last 80 years, particularly in the area of digital preservation, and the BRA is actively working to ensure the records we create today will still be available to researchers in the future.
In 2012, the BRA produced a report, Records at Risk highlighting the lack of capacity at a local level to survey and rescue records at risk and advocating a co-ordinated national response. The BRA is now an active member of the Records at Risk steering group, an independent advisory body for England and Wales, that is working in liaison with the other regions of the United Kingdom and The National Archives (TNA) to take appropriate steps to manage the risks and challenges faced by vulnerable archive collections.
The BRA is also working with partners including the University of London’s Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Legal Records at Risk (LRAR) project and TNA’s Crisis Management Team to identify and rescue records at risk.