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Archival news

18 March 2013
The Belarusian Research Institute of Records Management and Archival Science (BelNIIDAD) has published a reference book, Watermarks in the Belarusian Archive Records of the 16th to early 20th Centuries (in the Belarusian language). The book offers an album of watermarks from the given period found on paper records available at the National Historical Archives of Belarus. In all, the directory contains about 700 images of the watermarks. One of the sections in the book gives the description of the marks, their semantics, provides information on the place and time when the relevant paper was produced, and gives links to similar marks in other albums. In addition, there is a table listing the watermarks placed in the book with data on where and when the watermarked document was used, with the respective archive code. The watermarks placed in the book are the photographic images that were specially processed on computer and are maximum close to the original. This method of making the watermark images was used for the first time in world practice.

The directory of this kind was published in Belarus for the first time.

06 March 2013
About international cooperation activities conducted by the State Archives of Mogilev Region

Beginning from 1993 the State Archives of Mogilev Region has received a great number of applications from citizens to confirm the staying in captivity and forced labour in Germany or to give information of their relatives who were lost in the Second World War.

The State Archives of Mogilev Region holds a collection of records created by the Committee for State Security Administration (UKGB) for Mogilev Region relating to the Soviet citizens repatriated in 1945-1946 from Germany, Austria, Poland and other countries in Western Europe, filtration files registers, and captured German cards on Soviet POWs.

In 1993-2003 these records were most intensively used by the archivists in their activity. Nearly 50,000 archival certificates were issued to the citizens in this period. Presently these documents are in high demand too.

The fate of many Soviet prisoners of war are so far unknown. The archival filtration records remained long unknown to the researchers into the Second World War.

As part of the international cooperation between the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Justice Ministry of the Republic of Belarus and the Association Saxon Memorials (Germany) the Mogilev Archives signed an agreement in 2011 with the Centre for Documentation at the Association Saxon Memorials (Dresden) for creating an electronic database on Soviet POWs born in Mogilev Region.

The German side passed to the Archives the required money funds, equipment and software needed for the work organization. Presently the work on the project has been completed. 20,544 cards on 10,460 POWs have been scanned. It is even now obvious what a great importance this will have not only for the close relatives of the POWs who died or survived but also for the methodology of the scholarly research. Besides, until the present moment the attempt to combine into a single computer base the archival data from the Russian, Belarusian and German archives has no equals in the contemporary historical science.

In September 2012 the archive staff conducted the identification of the names of the POWs born in Mogilev region, inmates of the Mauthausen concentration camp (Austria) who were born in Mogilev region. At the request of the Austrian side, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus submitted to the Mogilev Regional Executive Committee a list of 14,146 camp prisoners written as the citizens of the USSR. In this list the archive staff found 51 people born in Mogilev region, with their full names and place of residence.

This work was done as part of the Austrian project the Mauthausen Concentration Camp, which aims to personify the memory of the individual nazi victims and to give a more interactive character to the memorial while safeguarding the historical authenticity.

Presently, under the agreement with the Yad Vashem National Holocaust (Shoah) and Heroism Memorial (Israel), the Mogilev Archives conduct the identification and copying of records which contain data on the fate of the Jewish people in World War II in Belarus. They review the records of the Mogilev city administration, residence cards of citizens in Mogilev and Bobruisk, documents of the Extraordinary State Commission for Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Mogilev Region etc.

In the nearest time all the materials will be transferred to the Embassy of Israel in the Republic of Belarus for subsequent transference to the Museum in Jerusalem, which for more than fifty years collects the names of the victims, documents and testimonies connected with the Holocaust, conduct the research and educational work.

04 March 2013
On 28 February 2013 the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Justice Ministry of the Republic of Belarus held a board meeting to discuss the issue of creating file inventories in electronic form at the state archival institutions of the Republic of Belarus. Having heard the report by the chief specialist at the records preservation, state inventory and information technologies division, T. Labaznova, the department board emphasized the development of information retrieval resources as a major task in the activity of the state archival institutions. The file inventories in electronic form are being created in accordance with the schedule. The archives convert the file lists into electronic form by means of digitization; entering data on computer in MS Word or MS Excel; maintenance of databases. The electronic inventories can be submitted to the staff of the state archives and the researchers at the reading rooms. Access to electronic inventories is provided at the official website of the National Archives of the Republic of Belarus (http://narb.by).

The discussion of the issue revealed the necessity for the development of a unified approach to creation of electronic inventories, their preservation and provision with wide access, in particular by means of the internet.

27 February 2013
The Belarusian State Archives of Films, Photographs and Sound Recordings holds the unique sound records of news, documentaries and artistic features on the events in the public, political, economic and cultural life in this country. In the framework of the new project Voices of the Age launched jointly by the Archives and the web portal TUT.BY you can hear the speeches of the prominent politicians, the voices of our writers and poets, the dialect of the common Belarusians. The first issue offers the speech of the outstanding statesman of Belarus, Hero of the Soviet Union, Hero of Socialist Labour, Petr Mironovich MASHEROV at the Second All-Union Conference of the Supporters of Peace in Moscow in 1952. 26 February 2013 marks 95 years since the birth of Petr Masherov.

The material is prepared by the chief archivist at the information, publications and records use division at this Archives, Elena Poleshchuk.

20 February 2013
On 20 February 2013 the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Justice Ministry of the Republic of Belarus holds a republic-level training workshop on issues related to the commercial operation of the Automated Archival Information System in the state archives, scheduled by the Department’s Plan of Actions in 2013.

By order of the Department’s director of 23.02.2012 ¹ 7 “On commercial operation of the Automated Archival Information System. Version 1.1”, the state archives (except the Belarusian State Archives of Films, Photographs and Sound Recordings) have put into commercial operation the Automated Archival Information System. Version 1.1 (Archives AIS) and use it as a tool for implementing the major activities.

The Archives AIS consists of seven program modules: Acquisition, Personal Fonds, Inventory, Preservation, Finding Aids, Usage, the Archives AIS Administrator and a unified database. Each of the program modules automates the respective archival activity. This demands the knowledge of the subject as well as the competent computer skills.

The workshop is intended for specialists at the state archives who make the editing of the information in the program modules (input, delete, update) as well as the executives in charge of the work organisation.

The workshop is conducted by the director of the Department for Archives and Records Management V. Adamushko, deputy director of the Department O. Ledovskaya, division heads and other specialists in charge of the program modules at the Department, as well as the representatives of the development organisation.

11 February 2013
On 8 February 2013 a meeting was held between the Director of the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Justice Ministry of the Republic of Belarus Vladimir Adamushko and the Archbishop and Metropolitan of Minsk and Mogilev Tadeush Kondrusevich. The meeting discussed the perspectives of cooperation between the state archives of the Republic of Belarus and the institutions of the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus. A special attention in the discussion was given to issues related to the identification of records held at the parishes of the Roman Catholic Church in Belarus and the possibility of their transfer to the state archives for preservation.

Among the participants at the meeting were the director of the National Historical Archives of the Republic of Belarus D. V. Yatsevich and the deputy director at this Archives D. V. Liseichikov.

29 January 2013
On 24 January 2013 the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Justice Ministry of the Republic of Belarus held an enlarged board meeting to review the activities of the archives and records management bodies and the state archive institutions in the Republic of Belarus in 2012 and to set the objectives in 2013.

Attending the board meeting were the Deputy Justice Minister of the RB I. G. Tushinsky, heads and deputy heads of the main justice boards and the archives and records divisions at the regional executive committees and the Minsk City Executive Committee, directors of the state archive institutions, staff members of the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Republic of Belarus. In all, 65 persons attended the meeting.

The Director of the Department for Archives and Records Management, V. I. Adamushko, delivered a report. Seven members took part in the debates. In 2012, the state archive institutions were actively engaged in completing the Archives of Belarus State Programme for 2011-2015. 5,3 billion rubles were drawn for the purpose from the republic’s budget. In the regions, the activities were financed at the expense of the local funds to the sum of 4,7 billion rubles.

Much attention was turned to the legal provision of the archive activities. The normative and legal basis in the archives and records management was made fully conformed with the Law on Archives and Records Management in the Republic of Belarus of 25 November 2011. On 26 May 2012, the Belarus President signed the Law on Official Heraldic Symbols, which has become the first national legislative act in the post-Soviet area for the regulation of the relevant legal relationship.

The works were completed in the technical protection of the regional and local archive buildings, their provision with modern equipment, and the expansion of access to archive records. The Department emphasized the good results achieved in the field by all regional archive institutions and the archivists in the regions of Brest, Vitebsk, Grodno and Minsk.

A breakthrough in the automation of the state registration of records was the location in the Internet of the information contents of the National Fonds Catalogue of the Republic of Belarus.

The provision of information services remained an important activity for the state archives in 2012, in particular the execution of legal and social inquiries. In all, in the past year the state archive institutions handled over 28,000 inquiries. More than 14,000 people visited and consulted the archives in person. The exhibition and publication activity increased considerably. During the reported time the state archive institutions organized 75 exhibition projects and published seven collections of documents. 74 official heraldic symbols were entered into the State Heraldry Register of the Republic of Belarus.
22 January 2013
On 29 January 2013 the National Historical Archives of Belarus and the Petrus Brouka Belarusian Encyclopedia Publishers host a presentation of the published collection of documents, The Testaments of the Nobility and the Burghers in Belarus in the second half of 16th century (from the deed books of the National Historical Archives of Belarus).

The National Historical Archives of Belarus continues a tradition of editing the records of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania that require a deep knowledge of paleography and are not easily accessible to the unprepared reader.

The book presents 116 records of the last will of the citizens of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania included in the deed books of the municipal and land courts in the districts of Brest, Vitebsk, Minsk, Novogrudok and Slonim and the town of Mogilev for the period of 1559-1600.

The testament texts are accompanied with a detailed index of personal and geographical names and a glossary. The majority of records are in the Old Belarusian language, some of the testaments are in the Old Polish.

Among the participants at the presentation will be the representatives of the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Republic of Belarus, the Petrus Brouka Belarusian Encyclopedia Publishing House, the Institute of History at the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, the Belarusian Research Institute of Records Management and Archival Studies, the History Faculty of the Belarusian State University, the History Faculty of the Maxim Tank Belarusian State Pedagogical University, the National Historical Museum of the Republic of Belarus, and the mass media.

The book is the result of many years of work by the employees of the old deeds department at the National Historical Archives of Belarus: the department head Volga Babkova, the chief archivist Iryna Bober, the chief paleographer Albina Alyaksandrava. The scholarly edition was conducted by Alyaksandr Dounar, candidate of historical sciences.

Information on the book

Testaments (wills) provide a unique source of historical information. Testaments illustrate the person’s confession, property status, family structure, and education level. They reflect the man’s attitude to life and death, to his relatives, and to his postmortem memory. The majority of the authors of the records presented in the book come from the class of the middle nobility who possessed a small property as well as the persons of the higher status who held various governing posts and played important role in the system of the government administration. Among the testators are the noted persons such as the first wife of the Chancellor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania – Darota Firlei, the mother of Duchess Safia Slutskaya – Barbara Kishka, the father of Bishop Velyamin Rutski – Shchasny Velyamin-Rutski, the governor of Smolensk Vasil Tyshkevich, the head of Slonim Mikhal Valovich, the governor of Vitebsk Bagdan Yanushkouski, Prince Shchasny Svirski, the burgomaster of Mogilev Kuzma Esmanovich and many others.

18 January 2013
A documentary exhibition, The Gomel Region. 75 Glorious Years was opened at the Culture and Sports Complex of the Gomel Branch of the Belarusian Railway on 18 January 2013 to mark 75 years since the foundation of the Gomel Region.

The exposition displays a complex of documents from the holdings of the State Archives of Gomel Region that reflect various aspects of the political, economic and cultural development in the Gomel Region.

17 January 2013
A practical workshop, An Institutional Archive: Creation and Work Organisation (in light of the new Rules of work in the archives of government institutions and other organisations (2012) and the new Records Retention Schedule (2012) is to be held at the Belarusian Research Institute of Records Management and Archival Studies (BelNIIDAD) on 31 January 2013.

The workshop is intended for archive heads, records management officers, legal experts, accountants, institution heads.

The workshop addresses the following issues:
  • Legislation of the Republic of Belarus in archive business and the state control over its observance. The procedures for an archive’s creation and management.
  • The new Records Retention Schedule.
    • Assignment of records retention periods. Appraisal of records in an institution’s recordkeeping and archive.
    • File classification plan as a basic record in archive’s management. Types of file plans and procedures for their development. Participation of an institutional archive in the creation and confirmation of file plans.
  • The new Rules of Work in the archives of government institutions and other organisations.
    • Procedures for archive’s creation and work organisation.
    • Transfer of files to an institutional archive for preservation. Destruction of records and files with expired retention periods.
    • An institutional archive’s control over file organisation in internal divisions.
    • Assignment of retention periods. Appraisal of records in an institution’s recordkeeping and archive.
    • Making of file inventories while transferring records to an institutional archive. Combined file inventories in an archive.
    • Procedures for destruction of records with expired retention periods.
    • Inventory and preservation of records and files in an institutional archive.
      - Inventory of records in an archive, development of finding aids.
      - Preservation of records in an institutional archive (requirements to storage facilities, conditions, equipment, file location).
    • Use of records in an institutional archive (handling citizens’ inquiries, issuance of files).
Participants at the workshop are E. Davydova, head of records management and formation of the National Achival Holdings at the Department for Archives and Records Management of the Republic of Belarus, A. Rybakov, Director at the Belarusian Research Institute of Records Management and Archival Studies and other top experts in archives and records management, authors of normative documents, teaching aids and procedural guidance.

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Announcements
01 November 2019
BelNIIDAD holds a workshop “Creation of File Plans in Institutions, General and Agency File Plans” More >>
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27 August 2019
The website presents online exhibition of documents “Legal foundations of administration in Belarusian lands in 14th-18th centuries” More >>
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Deputy Director of the Department for Archives and Records Management Alexey Tsvetkov took part in the Round Table on Presentation of Encyclopaedic Editions More >>
13 November 2019
Director of the Department for Archives and Records Management Viktor Kurash meeting with the delegation of Lithuanian archivists More >>
13 November 2019
BelNIIDAD released new procedural guidance on records management More >>
13 November 2019
The 20th issue of the Belarusian Archeographical Year-Book has been released More >>
12 November 2019
Director of the Department for Archives and Records Management Viktor Kurash took part in two international scholarly conferences in Moscow More >>
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