D. ICA’s Universal Declaration on Archives




Archives record decisions, actions and memories. Archives are a unique and irreplaceable heritage
passed from one generation to another. Archives are managed from creation to preserve their value
and meaning. They are authoritative sources of information underpinning accountable and transparent
administrative actions. They play an essential role in the development of societies by safeguarding and
contributing to individual and community memory. Open access to archives enriches our knowledge
of human society, promotes democracy, protects citizens’ rights and enhances the quality of life.
To this effect, we recognize

  • the unique quality of archives as authentic evidence of administrative, cultural and
    intellectual activities and as a reflection of the evolution of societies;
  • the vital necessity of archives for supporting business efficiency, accountability and
    transparency, for protecting citizens rights, for establishing individual and collective memory,
    for understanding the past, and for documenting the present to guide future actions;
  • the diversity of archives in recording every area of human activity;
  • the multiplicity of formats in which archives are created including paper, electronic, audio
    visual and other types;
  • the role of archivists as trained professionals with initial and continuing education, serving
    their societies by supporting the creation of records and by selecting, maintaining and making
    these records available for use;
  • the collective responsibility of all – citizens, public administrators and decision-makers,
    owners or holders of public or private archives, and archivists and other information
    specialists – in the management of archives.

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