To whom it may concern.
I have just learned with utter dismay of the proposed cuts to the budget of the
Devon Record Office.
I write both from the perspective of a professional archivist and as a keen
amateur historian of my Devon heritage.
The value of the Devon Record Office cannot be overstated as a repository not
only of an invaluable collection of the documentary history of the county but of
professional expertise and accumulated knowledge within the staff themselves.
The draconian cuts to the budget of the DRO being foreshadowed will cause
irreparable damage to the ongoing management of the collections - their
conservation, descriptions, interpretation and most significantly their
availability to researchers.
Archival institutions exist solely that their contents may be made available for
reference by future generations. Provision of this service is a complex and
labour intensive exercise, and it is not one that can be shirked for short term
financial expediency. The maintenance of a skilled staff and the continuity of
their knowledge of the records in their care is imperative to the long term
provision of reference services to government, planners, academics and
increasingly family historians.
I had the great pleasure to spend over a week undertaking research in both the
Barnstaple and Exeter offices of the DRO in 2008. The professionalism of the
staff was obvious as they helped my identify and use my sources. It is
unthinkable that this service could be reduced to the extent being proposed.
I implore those responsible for making the decisions regarding the ongoing
funding of the DRO to reconsider; to seriously consider the value of this
resource and to continue to fund it appropriately.
Robyn Waymouth, Grad.Diploma, Information Management - Archives and Records, RMIT
PS This email may be forwarded to any party to whom it may be relevant.