Archivists meet and the rest is history

Denis Connor with diocesan archvists in Canberra last week (Catholic Voice)

An assembly of archivists? A herd of historians? Whatever their collective title might be, the Catholic diocesan archivists of Australia gathered in Canberra last week for their 17th annual meeting. Source: Catholic Voice.

From Townsville to Hobart and across to Perth, 16 of the 28 diocesan archivists participated in this year’s two-day meeting, discussing a range of topics including legal requirements, archiving software, technology and best practice tips.

Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese archivist Denis Connor believes that the meetings are of enormous value to him and his colleagues.

“The reason we have this group is because just about all of us are working as a single person within our organisations, so this is our peer group spread across Australia,” Mr Connor said.

“And because every diocese is its own entity, it’s not like we’re working for the Commonwealth Government with uniform procedures and processes.

“There are a couple of high-level documents and guidelines that we all follow. There are canon law statements and there’s also a document that’s been put out by the relevant Vatican Commission which has written a statement about the care of Church archives.

“That covers the way in which some information must be kept, like sacramental registers and that sort of thing. And there is a directive that every bishop should keep a diocesan archive where the historical information about the running of his diocese is kept. But as to how we do that, there’s a lot of variation.”

The group meets annually with the agreement of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. Last year the event was in Townsville. Next year they will meet in Perth.

In addition to swapping best practice tips and ideas, the meeting also included professional development sessions and a Mass celebrated by Canberra-Goulburn Archbishop Christopher Prowse.

“We want to work as a group, share the wisdom, share the worries, but when we meet we also try to do things that will provide ongoing professional development,” Mr Connor said.


An assembly of archivists? A herd of historians? (Catholic Voice

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