The British Records Association (BRA) is a charity which aims to promote the preservation, understanding, accessibility and study of our recorded heritage for the public benefit. It is open to anyone interested in records and archives whether local historians, academics, professional archivists, or custodians and owners of collections, or simply those who are curious about the record of our past.
Records hold the nation’s memory; they reveal how we became what we are and they are our best guide to the future. We seek to add to the interpretation and appreciation of records, to promote their value to researchers and the wider public. An annual Harley Prize, in memory of Janette Harley, is presented for the best/most original piece of work published in a monograph, journal or magazine, or otherwise made publicly available (such as in a blog), which has promoted ‘the preservation, understanding, accessibility or study of archives’.
Records Preservation has been at the core of the Association’s activities since its foundation in 1932. The BRA has played a major role in raising awareness of the value of archives and threats to their survival. For many years, with external funding, the Association took in and distributed (mainly legal) records through its Records Preservation Section. The BRA is now working with partners to meet the challenges of the 21st Century and continue saving records at risk.
Events include an Annual Conference and ‘behind the scenes’ visits connected to our conference theme and to other archives throughout the year. Our annual Maurice Bond Memorial Lecture addresses the challenges facing our archival heritage and we participate and sponsor seminars and events that promote our aims.
Publications include our journal Archives, sent twice a year to members, and from 2019 also being published online by Liverpool University Press.
Records Preservation has been at the core of the Association’s activities since its foundation in 1932. The BRA has played a major role in raising awareness of the value of archives and threats to their survival. For many years, with external funding, the Records Preservation Section received records and organised their distribution to local authority, specialist and business archive repositories across the UK. An article in the Archives journal of the BRA (no. 136 April 2018) traces the history of the section.
The challenges to records preservation have changed over the last 80 years, particularly in the area of digital preservation, and the BRA is actively working to ensure the records we create today will still be available to researchers in the future.
In 2012, the BRA produced a report, Records at Risk highlighting the lack of capacity at a local level to survey and rescue records at risk and advocating a co-ordinated national response. The BRA is now an active member of the Records at Risk steering group, an independent advisory body for England and Wales, that is working in liaison with the other regions of the United Kingdom and The National Archives (TNA) to take appropriate steps to manage the risks and challenges faced by vulnerable archive collections.
The British Records Association provides a forum for everyone with an interest in archives. Our membership includes historians, genealogists and other researchers, owners of records, archivists, librarians and others responsible for keeping archives. This breadth of support ensures that the British Records Association has a strong voice in promoting the interests of archives and archive users at a national level.
Your membership subscription will support our efforts to protect archives at risk, and provide the following benefits:
- Two issues of the Association’s peer-reviewed journal Archives each year (and on-line access to back copies)
- Three issues of the Association’s Newsletter each year
- Discount on the Association’s publications
- Reduced rates for the Association’s Annual Conference and training meetings
- Priority booking for events and visits organised by the Association