The Information Resources Center is a member of the International Council on Archives (ICA) and a Bureau member of the ICA’s Section for Business and Labour Archives (SBL). This allows the Center to join an international network of business archives and other institutions dealing with historical documents related to business history.
In collaboration with the SBL and the Business Archives Association of Japan, the Information Resources Center (at the time the Resource Center for the History of Entrepreneurship) held a public symposium in Tokyo on Business Archives on May 11, 2011. The speakers and presentation topics are listed on the symposium page.
In addition to sharing information about documents on Japanese business history with the world, the Information Resources Center also provides Japanese language information on international publications through its Japanese language e-zine, Business Archives Tsushin.
The International Council on Archives is an international nonprofit organization for archival institutions and archivists, the specialists who work in archives. It was established with the assistance of UNESCO in Paris on June 9, 1848. The goals of the ICA are to improve the management and use of records and archives and to promote the preservation of archival heritage. To do so, the ICA works to share ideas, practical experiences, and research on professional issues surrounding archives, records management, and the management and organization of archival institutions.
The ICA holds annual conferences and international round-table conferences every year to foster international discussion on strategic and definitive professional subjects. In addition an international archives congress is held every four years.
The ICA includes regional branches and professional sections. Membership is divided by category into: A) National Archives, B) Professional Associations, C) Institutional Members, and D) Individual Members.
The Section for Business and Labour Archives was formed in 1990 from a previous committee that had dealt with issues related to business archives. The goals of the SBL are to increase international interest in business and labor archives, to develop and research practical guidelines, and to collaborate with public archives.
Roughly 100 of the ICA’s individual and organizational members are affiliated with the SBL. Looking at membership regionally, the majority of members are European business archives, university archives, and individuals. North American archives and archivists are also represented and, in recent years, membership from business archives and other archival institutions in Africa and Asia has increased.
The SBL Bureau consists of approximately 20 members who are in charge of the administration of the SBL. Bureau meetings are held once or twice annually in various locations throughout the world.
SBL Bureau members
The SBL is engaged in a range of activities to increase its international presence, to increase interest in business archives among society as a whole, and to support business archives in a practical manner. In 2004 the SBL Bureau published “Business Archives in International Comparison” [PDF 770KB], a survey of the current situation of business archives around the world. A promotional leaflet [PDF 49KB] was also created. In addition, the SBL holds seminars and conferences in collaboration with professional and historical organizations, such as the Society of American Archivists (SAA), as well as business archives and related institutions.
▼2009 – In June a Bureau meeting was held in Mikkeli, and the international seminar “Company Archives in Change” was held in Helsinki, Finland.
In December a Bureau meeting and the international seminar “Business Archives: Current Practices and Problems” were held in Pune, India. In addition, the Chair and Vice-Chair of the SBL attended and spoke at Argentina’s Archives Day in September.
▼2010 – In May a Bureau meeting and the international seminar “Corporate Memory: A Tool Serving Management” were held in Blois, France. In August the SBL collaborated with the SAA’s Business Archives Section on a program at the SAA 2010 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.
▼2011 – In May the Shibusawa Eiichi Memorial Foundation collaborated with the SBL and the Business Archives Association of Japan to host a Bureau meeting and the international symposium “The Value of Business Archives: Their Use by Japanese Companies and New Global Trends” in Tokyo, Japan. Presentations were made by SBL members from around the world and a member of the Business Archives Association of Japan.
▼2012 – In April the SBL is planning a two-day event to be held in Copenhagen in conjunction with a Bureau meeting. In August the ICA Congress will be held in Brisbane, Australia and the SBL is planning events to showcase new trends in business archives.
Documents and Websites
Business Archives in International Comparison (2004) [PDF 770KB]
(Adobe Reader or a similar program is required to view PDF files)
ICA/SBL Outreach Leaflet [PDF 49KB]