Research with and thanks to archives

The Swiss Association of Archive Directors met for a conference on 14 November 2019

​The Swiss Association of Archive Directors (ADK) met for a conference on compulsory social measures and placements on 14 November 2019. Under the title "Memory - a right and an obligation!", the participants discussed the recent work of archives in this subject area. They also reflected on the contribution of archives to realising NRP 76. Around 150 people attended the conference at the Rathaus in Bern.

In preparation of the conference, researchers of NRP 76 took part in an online survey about their collaboration with archives. At the conference, Alexander Grob, president of the programme's Steering Committee, presented an analysis of the replies given by researchers from 24 projects who had completed the questionnaire. He reported that most of the projects - three quarters - have used archive material in their work. Cantonal archives have been most often approached by researchers in search of source materials; two out of three projects have sought materials there. Other important sources of information are the archives of communes, institutions and associations as well as authorities such as KESB, courts, youth welfare offices and many more. Documents of the Swiss Federal Archives were also consulted. Many different types of documents are being used, including minutes and decisions, case notes and personal dossiers, legal and administrative files as well as correspondence. The great variety of these documents reflects the thematic range of the research projects.

The researchers of NRP 76 consider the support provided by various archives to be helpful. Personal contacts are particularly valuable when establishing which questions can be answered with the available materials. The survey also shows: the more information researchers provide about their research question, the better archivists are able to direct them to the relevant source materials.

For NRP 76, the conference offered a welcome opportunity to reflect on its collaboration with archives.