The theme of the Congress is 'Archives, Governance and Development: Mapping Future Society'. The themes have been broadly defined so that the programme will be as inclusive as possible.
The 'Archives' theme covers all aspects of Records and Archives Management, from records management and selection to preservation and public access. The creation of electronic records on a large scale raises important questions of professional practice in the areas of appraisal, selection and transfer. Preservation, including training in traditional conservation techniques, preparations to protect archives during natural disasters or armed conflicts, and the particular challenges of permanently preserving electronic records, should be another prominent element. The need for the archivist to balance access to the records with other considerations (the individual’s right to privacy, the national interest, copyright, existing and new legislation) should be addressed. The importance of promoting oral history and relations with audio-visual archives will be considered. The use of standards in supporting the work of the archivist should be highlighted, and areas of professional practice where new standards are needed should be identified.
The 'Governance' theme partly focuses on the contribution that good records management can make to accountability, administrative transparency and business efficiency. It is also highly relevant to the protection of human rights and the fight against corruption. Archivists need to capture e-government agenda rather than finding themselves marginal players in the Information Age. The importance of making alliances with other professions, including auditors, lawyers, librarians and museum curators, should be emphasised. Ways of getting key messages about the importance of archives across to the general public and key decision-makers in positions of political power should also be examined.
The 'Development' theme will centre on training and educational opportunities for archive professionals of all kinds and at all levels. There is a need to outline the competencies that the archivist should possess in the early 21st However, the role that archives can play in wider political, economic and social developments should not be overlooked. Effective record-keeping can promote more efficient administration, support improvements in education, and help with the complex process of nation-building. century, to meet the challenges posed by the new technologies and the rising expectations of decision-makers and the general public. There should be a healthy debate on what constitutes the core curriculum for the education of the entry level archivist. The advent of innovative on-line training modules and ‘training the trainers’ packages should provoke a reassessment of more traditional approaches to archival education.
The phrase 'Mapping Future Society' is intended to stimulate proposals which are not based on a narrowly professional discourse but which place the work of the archivist in its wider social context.