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A programme for managing the Institute’s archives

 

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Presentation of Archivum to the General Administration

27/04/2006: General House

The need to update the archives of the General House demanded a reflection on the part of the General Council during its Plenary Session of November 2002. Since then, this subject has taken a long and winding pathway for nearly four years until its public presentation to the General Administration on the 11th April 2006.

Firstly, it had to update the numerous documents waiting for a definitive classification, using the services of a specialised company so that it could evaluate our needs and indicate the work to be done in proposing various solutions.

During this time, Brother Josep María Soteras presented to the General Council the work of managing the archives of the Province of L’Hermitage where a programme of American origin, Documentum, had been adopted. This programme had been adapted by a company in Madrid.

The conclusion of a detailed study of the operations of this programme by members of the General House’s Archives Committee was to adopt this programme. As well as managing the historical documents of the Institute, this programme can also manage the usual documents of the Administration before they are sent to the archives.

In February 2004, the General Council approved the buying of the programme Documentum to manage not only the archives but also the other documents of the General Administration.

The Province of L’Hermitage then offered the Institute to adapt the programme to the needs not only of the General Administration but also those of all the Administrative Units who would like to participate in this project, and to develop the equipment to respond to new needs. As well, the Province of L’Hermitage offered to pay all the expenses for this work.

In August 2004, the General Council took advantage of the generous offer of the Province of L’Hermitage and, since then, an intense amount of work has been done so that this tool could respond to the needs of the Institute.

During the last General Conference in Sri Lanka, the Provincials and District Superiors were informed of this new instrument and its use was offered to them without charge. The initiative was favourably received and several have shown interest.

From this time, the programme was started to be personalised under the name of Archivum to adapt it to the needs of the General Administration, remaining open to the possibility of including the Provinces that make this request.

The majority of users access the system through a webpage. They can work in several languages and its configuration allows numeric documents to be included directly or to digitalise them if they are not so. The user can access the archives by registering with a password. Some users will have the right to organise documents produced daily in the Provinces or the Institute.

Several Provinces have already shown their intention of participating in the project and are studying the way of joining the system. That is to say that soon people will be able to consult not only public documents from the Rome archives, but also those of Provinces linked to the system, always under the guarantee of security.

The implementation of these new techniques also includes a period of formation for all the users of the General Administration, brothers and laypeople, throughout the coming months.

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