For ARA Conference 2017 in Manchester, the Conference Committee decided on a modest investment in videoing selected speaker sessions. The resulting seventeen videos covered notable sessions from the conservation, digital and archives/records streams plus stimulating keynote addresses from Elizabeth Denham on data protection and Alan Billings on public accountability.

The Committee hopes to repeat this exercise at the ARA Conference in Glasgow in 2018 in Glasgow and at future conferences. The goal is to enable recordkeeping professionals, volunteers, students and supporters to access the leading-edge thinking, debates and ideas that Conference always delivers. Any charges are solely aimed at recovering the costs of filming and post-production and to enable us to expand this service in the future. ARA Conferences are - and will continue to be - designed solely to break even and keep costs to delegates as low as possible.

If you attended Conference, you can access all seventeen videos free by obtaining an e-voucher from Lorraine Logan at Head Office in Taunton (

If you did not attend Conference, please follow the pay-to-view prompts on each video to view the item of your choice.  For a general overview of the 2017 conference click here.

The first video on the play-list (below), is an excellent talk by Chris Woods of the UK National Manuscripts Conservation Trust on Standards, is free to all.


Your video choices are:

  1. New Conservation Standards for Archives, Libraries and Museums - Chris Woods, Director, National Conservation ServicesChris gives updates on these standards
  2. Who am I?  The changing role of the records management professional - Jason King, Head of Record Services and Deputy Departmental Records Officer, Department for Communties and Local Government UK.  So what’s the role now (and in the future) of the Records Manager? What skills do we need to develop? Are we needed anymore? 
  3. Starting small, thinking bigger: Piloting digital preservation at the Royal College of Nursing - Elisabeth Thurlow, Corporate Digital Archives Specialist, Royal College of Nursing. We reflect on how we are piloting digital preservation at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in a way which bridges the needs of different teams within the business, whilst expanding the role of the archivist, and demonstrating our growing value as recordkeeping professionals in the digital age. 
  4. Conservation CPD - Shirley Jones - Head of Conservation, West Yorkshire History Centre. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is a vital tool for developing new skills and for staying updated and in touch across archives, records management and conservation. This talk will look at how Conservators may use    The new ARA CPD framework to map, complement and structure their learning and development.
  5. If we build it they will come?  Digital Preservation in Local Government - Cassandra Pickavance, Archivist, Dorset History Centre.  This paper will explore why digital records are not currently crossing the archival threshold, and how we can challenge the status quo to ensure archivists remain digitally relevant, able to preserve the documentary memory of our society for future generations.
  6. The Archive and Social Justice - Dr Alan Billings (keynote speaker), Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire. This is looking at the 'battle of Orgreave' in June 1984 and how a professionally catalogued archive will be crucial for responding to Freedom of Information requests and enabling researchers to find what they are looking for efficiently.  Above all, it will allow the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign to access crucial documents in their long search for truth and justice.  
  7. RiC - Records in Contexts, the replacement for the ICA descriptive standards - Bill Stockting, Archives Manager, Royal Archives. This session will provide an update on the development of the new standard for archival description,  Records in Contexts (RiC), being developed for the International Council on Archives (ICA) by the Expert Group on Archival Description (EGAD). 
  8. Holistic archival preservation - physical assets and digital content - James Mortlock, Digital Archives Manager and Jennifer Febles, Digital Archivist, HSBC. This presentation will demonstrate how HSBC’s global archive team is able to integrate our archival catalogues and digital preservation system to curate physical, born digital and digitised assets collectively. 
  9. Importance of access to information - ​Elizabeth Denham (keynote speaker), UK Information Commissioner, Information Commissioner's Office. Ms Denham sets out her views on the importance of access to information, the duty of documents and the opportunities and challenges digital presents to information management.
  10. Go Local, Think Global: The Importance of Compromise in Reaching for the Stars - Jane Stevenson, Manager, Archives Hub. This presentation will focus on the practical lessons learnt from the hard slog of putting theories into practice, the day-to-day nitty-gritty issues that arise with processing data in order to effectively promote interoperability and discoverability, and the conclusions we may draw from this. It is about how to bring diverse data together and the tricky decisions that need to be made across a diverse set of data.
  11. Archives and the Democratisation of Knowledge in the Post-Truth Era - Joe Chapman, Project Development Officer, University of Aberdeen. This paper presents – and attempts to tackle – the challenge from the perspective of a relative newcomer to the archive profession, with reference to the speaker's own experiences and to previous studies of this concept. It focuses in particular on the importance of language in how the sector is perceived.
  12. Digital Cataloguing Practices at the National Archives - Jone Garmendia, Head of Catalouging, The National Archives (UK). This paper outlines the evolution of cataloguing practices for digital records in a large national archive. The disruptive impact of digitised and born digital collections has shaken ways of working as well as ways of interpreting the international descriptive standard, ISAD (G). This presentation will explain how the UK National Archives is responding to these challenges.
  13. Crowdsourcing Conservation - Emily Hick, Special Collections Conservator, Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh. The Centre for Research Collections (CRC) at the University of Edinburgh, is developing innovative ways to carry out conservation work and engage with the student population. This paper will outline a two-day crowdsourcing event, the first of its kind ever held at the CRC, in which 30 students aim to rehouse section II of the Laing manuscripts – the University’s most important written collection.
  14. Unlocking Laycock: Lessons learned from an archival app and online community archive - Claire Skinner, Principal Archivist, Wiltshire and Swindon Archives. This paper will discuss the Lacock Unlocked project and its impact on the audiences we serve. It will discuss the many lessons learned, in a practical way, and will hopefully inspire other heritage professionals to explore new ways of working to propagate skills and diversify audiences for archives.
  15. Digitisation: Is it time for a radical rethink? - Hazel Menton, Head of the Archival Storage and Preservation Division, National Archives of Ireland. Archivists are under increasing pressure to digitise as much of their holdings as possible. Digitisation is an expensive and time consuming process. This presentation will look at the increasing role of digitisation in archives, and questions whether archivists should seek to return to their core role as cataloguers of archives, rather than creators of surrogates.
  16. Supporting Digital Scholarship: new archival foci for the digital age - Evelyn McAuley, Archivist, University of Limerick. The unique and distinctive holdings of special collections and archives libraries are proving critical to new modes of inquiry in digital scholarship. This presentation will consider emerging opportunities for archivists in light of the increasing point of intersection between archives, digital technologies and evolving scholarship. 
  17. Records Professionals and Research Data: a new role? - Rebecca Grant, Research Data Manager, Open Reserach Group, Springer Nature. This presentation will outline how records managers and archivists are currently engaging in the curation and preservation of research data; provide an introduction to the Research Data Alliance (RDA) Archives and Records Professionals for Research Data Interest Group; and describe how archivists and records managers can participate in the RDA.