ARCHIVAL RECORDS AND MANUSCRIPT COLLECTIONS IN SELECTED POLYTECHNIC LIBRARIES IN NORTH-CENTRAL, NIGERIA.

Author:Aliyu, Mulikat Bola
 
FREE EXCERPT

Introduction

An archive is an accumulation of historical records and manuscripts or the physical place they are located. Archives contain primary source documents that have accumulated over the course of individual, institutions, organization's life time and are kept to show the function of that person, institution or organization. Professional archivists and historians generally understand archives to be records and manuscripts that have been naturally and necessarily generated as a product of regular legal, commercial, administrative or social activities.

Archives can serve as a tool for performance assessment both by individuals, organization or government agencies. "Information is the currency of democracy and for individual members of the community to be able to evaluate the success or otherwise of government programs, to be able to assert their rights, to debate the issues of the day, citizens must have access to information created and distributed by institution. Archive is a necessary requirement for the continued survival and transformation of the institution and Nigeria in particular and the world in general. As such, the availability of proper description or organization and use of archival records will no doubt influence the effective roles of archival records in terms of social transformation, and this also remained an important aspect of consideration and exploration in archival administration.

Mbagwa, Njoku, Solomon and Okoroafor (2012) observed that it is quite unfortunate that despite the numerous educational, historical and traditional significance of archives, not much is known about it in Nigeria especially as a branch of information management, hence the need for the research interest in the establishment and uses of archive as a branch of information management in Nigerian Polytechnic libraries. Akotia (2003) stressed the need for African Country, restructuring of the records management systems of government is crucial for improving the efficiency of development, management, intervisions, historians, geologists, lawyers, demographers, film makers and others conduct research at archives.

Aliyu (2007) observed that records continued to accumulate at a greatly accelerating rate during the worldwar II. The need to keep the accumulation from becoming unmanageable resulted in the establishment of records administered programs on records disposition in the Federal government. The desire to keep and use records of knowledge and information for reference and permanent preservation can be linked to the earliest time of human history. History has shown how people of the ancient era kept records of their thoughts and experiences on items at their disposal. Clay-tablets, papyrus, cuneiform, palm-trees, bark of trees, animal skins, stones, etc, for example, were used for some purposes and historical documentation. With the development of paper and other non-textual documentary forms such as films, photographs, still and motion pictures, videotapes and related machine readable forms, archival records then continue to appear on special physical characteristics.

Many studies have pointed to the important roles of archival records in societal transformation. Cunningham and Philips (2005) further submitted that, archives have an important role in ensuring national and cultural memory, scholarly research are ensuring an enshrined democracy entitlements of the governed. The quest for democratic principles in Nigeria can be enhanced via effective accessibility and use of archival records. Institution archive will serve as a means of empowering both staff and students against potential maladministration, corruption and autocracy which characterized contemporary democracy of Nigerian society. The archival records can provide all staff and consultants with a kind of check and balance mechanism against a tyrannical administration.

Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study were to:

  1. know if the libraries have separate archival unit in these polytechnics

  2. survey the kinds of archival records and manuscripts in the polytechnics libraries in the North-central, Nigeria, in order to determine the categories of archival records being created/acquired and made available for use;

  3. examine the basis for the establishment of archival records and manuscripts within the polytechnic libraries;

  4. identify the challenges faced in the establishment of archival records and manuscripts centre.

    Research Questions

    This study set out to provide answers to the following research questions:

  5. Do the libraries have separate archival unit in these polytechnics

  6. What are the kinds of archival records and manuscripts in the polytechnics libraries in the North-central, Nigeria, in order to determine the categories of archival records being created/acquired and made available for use;

  7. What are the basis for the establishment of archival records and manuscripts within the polytechnic libraries?

  8. What are the challenges faced in the establishment of archival records and manuscripts centre?

  9. Proffer solution(s) to the challenges identified

    Review of Related Literatures

    Mbagwu, Njoku, Solomon and Okoroafor (2012) in their work opined that archival development date back with the introduction of writing, which permitted the building up to systematically organized and bureaucratically administered societies. The history can be traced to ancient time going to the 4th BC and the oldest archives found therefore were the clay tables of Ugarit. Raji (1993) said that she is convinced as an Arabic paleographer archivist that any history of archival development, which does not touch the development of Muslim archives is incomplete. The development of making and preservation of records in Nigeria, where the oldest available written sources of our history are by Muslims in the Arabic character and languages.

    Ebele (2009) posited that records and archives have been in existence since mankind acquired the ability to record information in writing. The earliest keeping of records and archives can be traced to the Ancient civilizations when records of birth, property, law, money tax and official and private transactions began to be kept to facilitate the conduct of government business, and for education, religion and family purposes. The medium on which this information was recorded differed from society to society as well as from age to age ranging from the clay tablets of the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires of the third millennium to the wooden tablets that found their way into Greece, the papyrus scrolls of Egypt and the parchment and vellum of Medieval Europe.

    The growth and development of records and archives has however not been uniform throughout the world. As with most other things some societies gained certain capabilities earlier than others. In respect to records and archives those societies that developed their organizational structures earlier often developed comparative recording infrastructures to document their activities. The capability to keep records and archives was thus attained first by those societies that learnt to write and record. While these societies did not develop in isolation as is evidenced by the record keeping practices in Roman Egypt, which had borrowed elements from the Roman and Asian Empires, nevertheless the nature of the records and archives ensured that to a large extent each society had its own record and archive keeping practices that were uniquely different from those of other societies.

    This is not surprising for it is the essential and distinguishing nature of records and archives. Records and archives are the by-product of the activities of a particular entity. While their creation may be a deliberate and controlled activity, they...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP