About the project
From 2006 until 2008, UNHCR and the Graduate Institutes in Geneva undertook a cooperative research project funded by the Geneva International Academic Network (GIAN). The Project objectives included the archival description of over two hundred linear meters of Central Registry records, dating 1971-1984, held in the UN Refugee Agency Archives. The completed 1971-1984 is now posted in UNHCR website and already used by both internal and external researchers.
Following the success of the initial 2006-2008 cooperative project, UNHCR Archives and the Graduate Institute former PSGM undertook a second cooperative project for 2009-2010. During 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, concurrent with historical research review of the archives, the Programme has conducted the access review of the Central Registry archives records (Fonds 11, Series 2, Sub-series 600, 1971-1984). The purpose of this access review was to identify and remove from the files any pages containing refugee information that would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, and to replace chemical copies, which damage the other documents of the files, for acid-free copies.
Both UNHCR Archives and the Programme have agreed to continue their collaboration until the end of 2010 with a new project that aims to facilitate access of researchers to UNHCR archival holdings and increase the visibility of UNHCR Archives.
Information about UNHCR Archives is posted in the UNHCR public website www.unhcr.org under Resources/Archives and Records page. This page includes general information about the Archives holdings and the access conditions, and information about the archival holdings grouped in three categories: Headquarters Fonds, Field Fonds and External Fonds. For each Fond listed in the page, an International Standard Archival Description ISAD(G)description is posted. In addition to the ISAD(G)s Fonds 11 Records of the Central Registry Series 1 and Series 2, and Fonds 13 Records of the Office of the High Commissioners Series 1 to 3 include lists of the existing files.
Posting lists of files on the Internet allows researchers to select the files they wish to consult before their visit to the Archives, it also facilitates the work of the Archives staff who, otherwise, have to send personally to each researcher the list of files for the Fonds they are interested in.
A substantial part of UNCHR Fonds have already been listed but the lists need to be reviewed and migrated to a standard format before they can be posted in the Internet. Other Fonds have only a very summary description of their contents. The objectives of this project are, first, to facilitate work of the researchers and make available in the UNHCR Website the existing list of files open to public research, and second to produce an inventory of the existing finding aids that will allow the planning of the archival arrangement and description projects.