Taking a bite out of Business Archive Learning

A collaborative approach to training from the Business Archive Council and Business Archive Council Scotland

For this month’s Explore Your Archive theme ‘Business’, we take a look at a fantastic networking and collaborating initiative.

2023 began with a bang for the business archive sector with the Business Archive Council (BAC) and the Business Archive Council Scotland (BACS) collaborating on a range of learning events, some of which will be of benefit to members of each organisation, and some to the record keeping sector as a whole.

Business Bites is an initiative by BAC and BACS to encourage conversations, bringing together the small community of business archivists and custodians of business archives across the UK, many of whom work alone, to share their experiences.

Regular social meet ups will be held online every few months, with a rotating theme to kick start conversations and allow people to meet their peers. Anything and everything business archives will be openly discussed among friends.

Business Bites takes place bi-monthly on the last Wednesday of the given month. Each event will last an hour each and focus on a topic related to Business Archive Learning. Events will be held virtually via Zoom, the programme for this year’s series is below,

DateTopicSpeakerOpen to
26th JulyCapturing Diverse VoicesThe Macallan NationwideMembers only
27th SeptemberSustainability in ArchivesARA Environmental Sustainability Group, London Metropolitan ArchiveEveryone
29th NovemberModern Collections DevelopmentabrdnMembers only

The programme began in January with an ‘open to anyone’ webinar on digital preservation in the business archive sector. Jenny Mitcham from the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC) and Gemma Evans from the National Library of Wales gave attendees an introduction to the newly produced resource ‘Digital Preservation for Small Businesses – an Introductory Guide’.

Conversations focused on how the guidance could be scaled up or down to suit any business archive, and Jenny provided more information on the additional support the DPC could provide.

Image Courtesy of abrdn archive

March’s member only event was led by Sophie Clapp from the Boots archive, who talked about her unique approach to fundraising for business archives. Sophie argued that the main stakeholders with an interest in the archives of a business is not the business themselves, but academics, who will be using the collections for research. Changing the stakeholder view in this way has allowed the Boots archive to apply for various funding projects to have the archive conserved, preserved and used in a range of research projects with a wide range of academics. Many delegates had not viewed their collections in this way before and left inspired to investigate new ways of achieving their funding goals.

Research using Business Archives was the topic of the May webinar. Dr Alix Green and Dr David Churchill talked about the academic work they have carried out using and informed by business archives. They gave hints and tips on how archives can get involved with universities and students to get the most out of their collections as well as promote research using business archives.

Booking is now open for the member only July event, ‘Capturing Diverse Voices’, which will focus on how business archives across the UK are using their collections to showcase the diverse voices held within them. Events are also scheduled to take place in September and November, and event write ups will be available in both BAC and BACS newsletters. Booking links are provided in the table above.

Image Courtesy of abrdn archive

We are already working on the 2024 event programme, so if you have any ideas for a webinar subject, get in touch at Business.Bites.Contact@gmail.com. You can sign up to our events by searching Business Bites on Eventbrite or google.