Thursday, February 8, 2007

"Archives Made Easy" Global Guide to Archival Research

The London School of Economics has a website, Archives Made Easy, designed to facilitate archival research around the world. Here's the website description:

Hosted by the International History department at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Archives Made Easy aims to empower historical researchers of all levels and make unrewarding research trips a thing of the past.

Archives Made Easy serves the global research community by providing transparency of the costs and processes involved in an archive visit – the kind of information researchers need to know beforehand in order to avoid costly mistakes and delays.

The site includes reviews of archives in many countries, including a review of South African archives that appeared in the journal Cold War History, and practical tips for research at the Polish Central Archives of Modern Records, among others. Many countries are not listed, but the site includes a link to the UNESCO Archives Portal, described as "an international gateway to information for archivists and archives users."

Having done it just last summer in Kenya, I can certainly say that it is daunting to do research in a new county without first-hand information about the archives, their condition, the rules and procedures, etc. Useful information can be gleaned from archive websites, which can be found via the UNESCO site, but the LSE website appears to be the next best thing to getting advice from a colleague who has already been there. Highly recommended.

Thanks to H-Diplo for the tip.