Archive FAQ

Denna sida på svenska


What is the difference between registering and archiving? And do we have to save everything? These are examples of questions we often get at the Archives Office and wich we will try to answer below.

What is an archive?

Why archive?

Are there any laws or regulations that govern archiving?

How should an archive (room) look?

Who is responsible for archiving?

Do we have to save everything?

How is an archive presented?

What is the difference between an archive and a library?

What is the difference between registering and archiving?

What is an archive?

At a public authority (KI) its archive consists of the official documents that are generated within the organization and are taken care of for archiving. The archive in this sense reflects the public authority’s organizational actions and structure.
It is the documents themselves that make up the archival holdings; regardless of where they are located and what form they are in. (A paper document, a photograph, a database, an email)

Why archive?

The archive of Karolinska Institutet is a part of the national heritage and should be kept, ordered and cared for in a way that guarantees:
1. The right to access official documents,
2. The need of information for jurisdiction and administration and
3. For research purposes.
The reasons for archiving are many and are regulated in the Archives Act. Partly we have to keep our archives in order for the public to be able to take part of our official records. Partly we need the archives for our internal work, as a support for the administration of our organization to know what decisions we have made and not have to reinvent to wheel so to speak. We also need the archives for future research, so that in the future one will be able to research the organization of Karolinska Institutet and how it has developed over time.

Are there any laws or regulations that govern archiving?

Archiving is regulated by law and should be executed according to the provisions of the National Archives of Sweden (Riksarkivet).Some provisions apply for all state agencies and some for KI specifically. The National Archives are also supervising agency for all state agencies and regularly perform routine inspections.
The Archives Office at the university administration monitor and interpret state- and specific provisions and integrate these into KI’s local policy documents. These principles are then established in the general KI archival policy called the Dokumenthanteringsplan för Karolinska Institutet. (Only in Swedish) This documents replaces the former ”Hanteringsanvisningar för Karolinska Institutet” and ”Arkivbildningsplan för Karolinska Institutet”

How should an archive (room) look?

Archive documents should be kept in suitable premises with suitable interior. The documents should be protected against water, fire, harmful climate- and environmental influences, physical damage and unauthorized access. The rules for how an archival room should look are listed in the RA-FS 2013:4. Before the archive room is put in use it has to be approved by the National Archives.
When building a new archive or rebuilding an existing one the Facilities Office at the university administration (Fastighetsavdelningen) should be contacted. Information about any changes should also be given to the central Archives Office.
Documents which are used daily can be kept in a local archive in proximity to your office (in swedish: närarkiv). These documents doesn’t necessarily have to be kept in an archive room but can be stored in a locked cabinet that meets the levels of security listed in the RA-FS 2013:4. When the documents are no longer in use they should be moved to the central archive. (Department or university administration depending on what document types) When it comes to departments the central archive is often located in the main building where the central administration is. 

Who is responsible for archiving?

Each respective department is responsible for its archive. The formal responsibility lies on the Head of department. At the University Administration it lies on the Vice-Chancellor. The operative responsibility at the University Administration is delegated to the Archives Office. At the departments it is delegated to the Head of Administration and/or the department registrar.

Do we have to save everything?

No we do not. If we saved everything our archives would be overflowing and it would be very difficult to find anything. Some document can and should be discarded after a set amount of time.
To discard official documents you have to have permission from the National Archives. If there is no specific decision issued from the National Archives an official document always has to be preserved.
What decisions regarding the destruction of offical documents we have at KI are listed in the document plan ”Dokumenthanteringsplan för Karolinska Institutet”
In cases where we want to discard official documents and we don’t have a specific decision for it we have to apply for a permission from the National Archives.

How is an archive presented?

An archive, i.e. a holding of archived documents should be presented according to the provisions of the National Archives.

The structure of an archive 1904 - 2012:

Allmänna arkivschemat has been used to present archives in Sweden from 1904 until 2012.According to this archive structuring principle the archive is divided by series. The series are in turn divided into volumes. Within these volumes are the specific documents. To present the series and volumes that make up an archive an archive index (in swedish: arkivförteckning) should be produced.

The archive index is structured according to the allmänna arkivschemat, which consists of eight main document types:
A Minutes
B Copies of outgoing documents
C Diaries
D Registries and ledgers
E Incoming documents
F Documents ordered by subject
G Accounts
Ö Miscellaneous documents


The structure of an archive 2013-:

From 2013 and onwards all state agencies have to present their archives according to a new structure called the: Verksamhetsbaserad arkivredovisning.  The point of this structure is to present the organization’s total information flow based on its different processes and activities. Practically speaking this means that all documents at KI from 2013-01-01 are classified and presented in accordance with this process based structure (klassifikationsstruktur) that has been created by the archivists at the central university administration. The Classification Structure is a policy document that presents KI’s five main activities and their respective processes:

1. Govern the organization – describes the governing processes of KI’s organization.
2. Support the organization – describes the supportive processes of how KI’s performs their tasks.
3. Conduct education – describes the core organization processes regarding education on undergraduate, graduate and doctorate level at KI.
4. Conduct research – describes the core organization processes regarding the research that is conducted at KI.
5. Communicate and cooperate externally – describes the core organization processes regarding communication and cooperation with external parties, i.e. the public or other organizations/agencies/businesses etc.

One thing that separates the new structure from the old one is that documents that can be discarded also have to be presented. The destruction decisions for specific document types are stated in the KI document plan “Dokumenthanteringsplan för Karolinska Institutet”  (Only in Swedish).

What is the difference between an archive and a library?

The difference between archives and libraries is not clearly demarcated. A general differentiation is that archives contain unique original documents that are the result of an organization’s activities and a library contains published and reproduced prints (documents) that have been actively collected.

What is the difference between registering and archiving?

The registered documents are a part of the archival holdings but are presented in a separate index called the registry. The registry is one of the series within the main archive index but is separated as it is its own index containing documents which are registered and presented in a separate system.  A general differentiation is that the registry contains mainly signed official decisions and transactions that a are often used in the daily administration of the organization whereas the archive contain documents that are set aside for permanent preservation. In the main English-speaking countries they differentiate between records (in current use) and archival documents (finished documents set aside for preservation). The Archives Office at the University Administration make the overall decisions regarding archiving at KI. This includes making decisions of whether the documents are to be registered and archived in the registry or if they are to be archived without being registered. The principles for archiving and registering are stated in KI’s document plan “Dokumenthanteringsplan för Karolinska Institutet” (Only in Swedish).

Contact

If you have a question that isn't covered below? Write to us at:arkivet@ki.se.