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18 September

Saint Joseph of Cupertino

Marist Calendar - September

Actual situation in the Archives



GeneralIn 1985, after the XVIII General Chapter, the General Council decided to begin the operation of transforming and moving the Archives within the House.

Situated on the second floor, with the other services of the General Administration, they lacked sufficient space and the plant required.

The operation consisted in creating an intermediary floor in two of the large basement chambers of the construction of the Mussolini period, three metres above the bottom floor. We were thus able to arrange two new rooms, each 80 metres square, besides the ones which were already occupied on the bottom floor.

To furnish these rooms, new compact movable double cupboards were purchased, on the one hand, plus a fixed one, with a capacity of 30 metres of shelving in each cupboard, and, on the other, another five stands of fixed double shelving, with a capacity of 36 metres each.

As a result of this work, in the first room we dispose of 570 linear metres of shelving, of 30 pieces of furniture for holding documents. In the second room we have 360 linear metres of shelving, plus two cupboards, sufficient to contain the Library of books joined to the Archives and the Library of magazines and periodicals.

Thus the actual division in the three rooms dedicated to the Archives is the following:

A- Depository Room for the general documentation of the Institute and work office of the Archives.

B- Room for preclassification and exhibition of the documents.

C- Room of the Library associated with the Archives. Maintains, classifies, and computerizes the publications of the Institute.

Room B is the object of thorough study and of a project of transformation.


Principal activities developed

a) Updating the work of the Archives:
The General Council, after consultation with the person in charge of the Archives, took the decision to contract a company to evaluate the work in order to accomplish and propose a software for the Archives allowing the management of documents. The firm “Società Italiana Archivi” (SIA) was contracted in March 2003 and presented its final report in October the same year.

FMSb) Contracting of personnel:
It chose and contracted three persons to make progress in the cataloguing of uncatalogued documents (70% of the 400 lineal metres of those existing) starting in January 2004. In March a half-day contract as deputy head archivist was made with the person who was carrying out the evaluation for the SIA. 

c) Adoption of new software for management of documents:
After evaluating other alternatives, approval was given for the software “Documentum”, in use in Marist Catalonia, as instrument for document management in January 2004. During the process of adoption, this software was transformed into “Archivum”, adapted to Marist requirements, and this became fully functional beginning in January 2006. The different services of the General Administration have the capacity to pre-catalogue the documents which they produce.

d) Cataloguing of documentation of Provinces and Brothers:
Two of the secretaries have devoted their efforts to cataloguing all the documents relating to the collections “Brothers” and “Provinces” of the Institute. The first is complete and the second is to be completed.

e) Transfer of the current data base to the Programme Archivum.
The documents have been catalogued in a data base in Access since the middle of the nineteen-nineties. One of the secretaries is currently at work on preparing the transfer to Archivum of this data base, revising and completing the necessary “fields”. The data does not get lost, and the new software facilitates consultation. The documents can be located better and consulted with more security. At present, 60% of the data base has been transferred to Archivum.

f) Harmonization of the storage of documents
The documents have been placed in storage boxes adapted to the dimensions of the movable compact shelving, to use the available space better.


Principal progress or achievements in the work area

a) The service of the Archives has clarity of vision with regard to current and future tasks , while having adequate personnel to deal with them.

b) Thanks to the software programme of documental management “Archivum,” all the services of the General Administration can proceed to the pre-cataloguing or inclusive cataloguing of the documents they produce (in digital and paper format), so facilitating the task proper to the Archives. The manual of management, drawn up by the Secretary General, permits unity of criteria and procedures.

c) “Archivum” is allowing not only a solid sysytem of classification and archiving, but also offering the possibility of rapid and secure consultation to the members of the General Administration.

d) The bases are set so that in the near future the brothers and lay persons of the Institute can consult, by means of the Internet, the different documents available in the Archives (with the safeguards and necessary permissions).


Principal progress or achievements in the work area

FMSa. To adapt the room of pre-classification as a room of exposition for documents.

b. To finalize the cataloguing of the documents in the old catalogue (up to 2001).

c. To complete the transfer of the documentation from the old data base.

d. To complete the classification of the library adjoined to the Archives.

e. To continue training in pre-cataloguing in the different services of the General Administration

f. To extend the use of the software Archivum to the Provinces which want it.

g. Training of the Brother Archivists of the Provinces.

h. Normal tasks of the Archives: study of collections of documents; repairs, conservation of documents which have deteriorated; binding of circulars, letters, reviews, etc.

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