National Archives of the Netherlands (Ministry of Education, Culture and Science)

Processing the Backlog of Archives from 1976

Aspects of the new methodology are currently being tested with the appraisal and processing of State archives dating back to 1976. This comprises around 800km of paper. As of 2010, all Ministries will work together on processing this mass of material. The proposal for this approach from the Director of the State Archives has in the meantime been taken up by the Ministries: Hoofdlijnen aanpak archiefachterstanden vanaf 1976

An important aim of the approach is that the archival records that are to be preserved must, within ten years, be processed and transferred to the Nationaal Archief. A fundamental aspect of this approach is that the State Archives Service can, at the earliest possible stage and on the basis of a contextual analysis, determine what absolutely must or must not be preserved. Records can be prioritised on this basis and with a view to their subsequent processing. Whilst the most and least important archives are processed, an initial principled appreciation of the records can be carried out, followed by further appreciation on the basis on social analysis. In the meantime, possible adaptations can be made to the existing retention schedules.

In order to properly implement the programme, it is important that the Ministries and the Director of the State Archives Service collaborate in a permanent ‘new-style triangular consultation’ on where and when resources can be employed for processing the archives. Only then can the information be made available to the public.