Elisa Liberatori Prati, Andrés McAlister
World Bank Information Solutions Group
The World Bank Learning Program on Archives and Records:
A Progress Report
Society of American Archivists
65th Annual Meeting – Washington, DC
September 1, 2001
The World Bank has been increasingly focusing on social development, governance, and institution-building as key elements in poverty reduction. Consistent with this view, in 1999 the Bank’s Information Solutions Group has launched a web-based Learning Program on Archives and Records Management as poverty reduction tools and in 2001 a follow-up program on archives and records in governance, “Evidence-Based Governance in the Electronic Age”--in partnership with the Bank’s Poverty Reduction Network (PREM).
The web-based Learning Program is a side-activity to the opening of the Bank’s Archives. The Program’s objective is twofold: 1) to raise awareness on records and archives as missing links between our work on development and effective projects' delivery, and 2) to advocate the inclusion of archives and records management components in development projects. The Program is targeted to project managers in development institutions, policy makers in developing countries, and the development community at large. Accordingly, the Learning Program offers a range of learning opportunities on the impact of current records and historical archives on economic and social development, such as: 1. an introduction to core principles of Managing Records as the Basis for Effective Service Delivery and Public Accountability; 2. a toolkit that comprises four basic checklists to use on-the-field to assess national and institutional capacity to properly manage records and archives; 3. video case studies on Ghana, Tanzania, and Malaysia; 4. a section on "Resources" that provides information on major archival institutions in the world, professional associations, and training providers; 5. a "What's New" session that highlights major initiatives on archives, records, and development. The Learning Program, under World Bank coordination, is a joint collaboration between the World Bank, the International Council on Archives (ICA) in Paris, the International Records Management Trust (IRMT) in London, the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) in Rome, and the Fundación Histórica Tavera in Madrid. The official approval of the partnership by the World Bank Managing Director in February 2001 has given the program high level institutional endorsement. The Learning Program is available at: http://archives.worldbank.org .
In June 2001, the Development Grant Facility (DGF) of the Bank has approved a proposal from the Archives--in partnership with the Poverty Reduction Network--for a five year follow-up program: “Evidence-based Governance in the Electronic Age” at www.worldbank.org/evidence. Implementing agency for the DGF Project is the International Records Management Trust. The project’s objective is to advocate the inclusion of archives and records management components in civil service reform, decentralization, legal/judicial reform, tax policy and administration, public expenditure analysis and management, and anticorruption and governance projects—all thematic areas identified by the Bank Poverty Reduction Network (PREM) in their sector strategy in operations. The project has four elements: 1. Global electronic forum; 2. Assessment tools and toolkits; 3. Capacity building to empower professionals globally; 4. High level face to face working meeting. The core partners for the project are the World Bank and the International Records Management Trust (IRMT). In addition, there is a Founding Alliance of Partners consisting of a number of major archival, records management, and public administration institutions around the world. A multi-donor trust fund is being established to cover the first, third, and fourth elements of the program. The Development Grant Facility has approved $350K to cover element 2 above. The Bank's Information Solutions Group (ISG) has pledged $450K in in-kind contributions for the program's Secretariat. These phases are expected to begin in 2001 and be completed in 2006, with the third phase taking the longest time.
Structure of the Paper
o Section 1, “Advocacy On-line: A Web-based Learning Program on the Relevance of Archives and Records in our Development Work”, provides an overview of the Learning Program;
o Section 2, “From Theory to Practice: Evidence Based Governance in the Electronic Age” expands on the Development Grant Facility Project;
o The Appendix provides background on the role of the World Bank, the Bank’s archival collections, the Archives repositories, the Bank and disclosure of information, and the Archives Website as a mean to access the collections.
1. ADVOCACY ON-LINE: A WEB-BASED LEARNING PROGRAM ON THE
RELEVANCE OF ARCHIVES AND RECORDS IN DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
Archives, and the records from which they are drawn, are crucial to sound administration and good governance. Without them audit is impossible, individual and collective rights cannot be proved, administrations cannot be held accountable. In recent years, the World Bank has been focusing on social development, governance, and institution-building as key elements in poverty reduction. Consistent with this view, the Bank Archives has launched a web-based Learning Program on Archives and Records Management as poverty reduction tools. The Learning Program is a side-activity to the Opening of the Bank Archives and is targeted to managers of development projects in the Bank and in the client countries.
In the design and implementation of the Learning Program we have been enjoying collaborating with the International Council on Archives (ICA) in Paris, the International Records Management Trust (IRMT) in London, the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) in Rome, and the Fundación Histórica Tavera in Madrid. In February 2001, the official approval of the partnership with the IRMT by the World Bank Managing Director has given the program high level institutional endorsement.
The aim of the Bank Archives with the Learning Program is to act as a global advocate of good archives and records management practices, as these are key tools for any sustainable development program. The program promotes the role of records, which are increasingly in electronic form and provide the essential evidence governments and organizations need to function and be accountable to their citizens and stakeholders. Records are a key tool in developing and implementing policy in a transparent way, fighting corruption, and protecting citizens' rights (including human and property rights). The program highlights why it is cost-efficient to preserve records and why records management cuts down duplication of efforts, provides examples from the past, documents, preserves and disseminates knowledge. Without good records management, often the information the records contained has to be re-created at great expense. The program therefore aims at empowering staff to avoid these difficulties. It also raises awareness on how archives, which represent the most important core of records, constitute a vital element of intellectual and cultural heritage. They preserve the collective memory of nations/organizations and form an essential link in the chain of human history. Without them, nations cannot write their own histories, support their identities, nor accept their diversity. All of these elements are important in times of globalization fears. Finally, the program suggests the means by which the preservation of the archival heritage can be included in development programs, as well as how archives and records management components can be included in all Bank projects.
The Learning Program offers a range of learning opportunities on the impact of current records and historical archives on economic and social development, namely:
o an introduction to core principles of Managing Records as the Basis for Effective Service Delivery and Public Accountability;
o a toolkit that comprises four basic checklists to use on-the-field to assess the national and institutional capacity to properly manage records and archives;
o video case studies on Ghana, Tanzania, and Malaysia;
o a section on "Resources" that provides information on major archival institutions in the world, professional associations, and training providers;
o a "What's New" section that highlights major initiatives relating to archives, records, and development.
The four checklists—prepared for the Bank by the IRMT--are:
1. Broad Indicators of Weak Record Keeping Systems;
2. Assessment of National Capacity to Manage Records;
3. Assessment of Organizational Capacity to Manage Records;
4. Assessment of the Quality of Records.
In synthesis, Tool 1 provides a simple means of determining whether there are fundamental problems. If there are, Tools 2 and 3 will enable a top level analysis of systemic factors at the national and the institutional levels. Tool 4 will permit a more thorough analysis of the quality of the records themselves and is mostly likely to be used by records managers. The tools in themselves will do no more than indicate problems. The solutions required are summarized in a separate document “Managing Records as the Basis for Effective Service Delivery and Public Accountability in Development: An Introduction to Core Principles for Staff of the World Bank and its Partners,” which can also be found in the website. Of course, we advise the project managers to seek the help of professionals in designing and implementing solutions.
The three video case studies prepared by IRMT focus on Ghana, Tanzania, and Malaysia:
On June 6, 2000, the first multi-site video-conference workshop for Africa on archives and records management, poverty reduction, and corruption control took place as part of the Learning Program.  The workshop inaugurated the Global Distance Learning Network classrooms in Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda and marked the beginning of our collaboration with the World Bank Institute (the training branch of the Bank). It provided a forum for high-level civil service officials, World Bank task managers, senior managers, anti-corruption specialists, and the International Records Management Trust, to share their views and exchange experiences on archives and records management as key tools in development strategies. We are currently implementing the recommendations made by the workshop participants to further develop the Learning Program, as explained in Section 2 of this paper.
A Parallel Result
A parallel result of the Learning Program initiative is that the profile of archives and records management practices in the Bank itself is being raised and a new record conscious culture is being nurtured among the staff. Also in the context of the Learning Program, a first Bank project—the Eritrea Cultural Heritage Project--has already benefited of our partnership with ICA. A professional archivist from ICA has participated to the project preparatory mission and has designed a strategy to implement the archival/records management component of the project that envisages the creation of a National Archive.
2. FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE: EVIDENCE BASED GOVERNANCE
IN THE ELECTRONIC AGE
The Archives--in partnership with the Poverty Reduction Network--has just presented a proposal for a five year follow-up program to the Grant Facility of the Bank (“Evidence-based Governance in the Electronic Age”) at www.worldbank.org/evidence. All thematic areas identified by the Bank Poverty Reduction Network (PREM) in their sector strategy in operations are tackled as vehicles of a new archives/records management culture to become part of our development work: civil service reform, decentralization, legal/judicial reform, tax policy and administration, public expenditure analysis and management, and anticorruption and governance projects.
The DGF project aims to ensure the modernization of records management in countries throughout the world based on the principle that well functioning records systems are fundamental to governance. Modernization involves restoring existing paper systems and introducing new strategies and systems in relation to new electronic-based technologies. The project aims ultimately at :
This will be achieved in stages:
In addition to the global electronic forum, a web site and an electronic newsletter will keep stakeholders informed on the progress of the project. An international steering committee, chaired by the Bank's project manager, will meet once a year and will receive periodic progress reports. The committee will include representatives of the partner organizations listed below, as well as of major donors involved in the project.
The Core Partners are the World Bank and International Records Management Trust (IRMT). In addition, there are several Founding Alliance of Partners consisting of a number of major archival, records management, and public administration institutions around the world.
A multi-donor trust fund is being established to cover the first, third, and fourth elements of the program. The Development Grant Facility has approved $350K to cover element 2 above. The Bank's Information Solutions Group (ISG) has pledged $450k in in-kind contributions for the program's Secretariat.
In conclusion, we invite you to check our websites at http://archives.worldbank.org and www.worldbank.org/evidence . Please, contact us, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com for any feedback. We look forward to work at our initiatives with partners and affiliates. We are interested in collaborating with the archives of other international agencies, national and private archives in the countries, universities and research institutions from all over the world to further integrate Archives in our daily work on development. We welcome your ideas.
THE WORLD BANK GROUP:
Founded in 1944, the World Bank Group is the world’s largest source of development assistance. The Bank, in providing loans to its client countries, brings a mix of finance and technical assistance to improve living standards and eliminate the worst forms of poverty. It provides nearly $16 billion in loans annually. The Bank’s operations are currently structured according to a combined regional and thematic matrix. The six regions of the Bank’s operations are: Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, Africa, Europe and Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific. Sectoral/thematic networks encompass environmentally and socially sustainable development, infrastructure and private sector development, human development, poverty reduction and economic management. Among the current priority initiatives of the Bank are: the fight to AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis (commitment of 1 billion US$ for AIDS), community driven development, post-conflict (programs in 35 countries), gender related initiatives (in women’s health, education, micro-credits), Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC), Brazilian rainforest, Indigenous Knowledge Preservation. Two other initiatives, (1) Information and Communication Technologies (the bridging the digital divide initiative), and (2) Anticorruption and Good Governance (programs in 95 countries), are the ones where our Archives Program finds its entry point in the operations. To get a deeper sense of the evolving role of the Bank overtime, from the nuts-and-bolts institution of the 40s’focused on the reconstruction of Europe after World War II to today’s organization primarily focused on human development, one can refer to the on-line Bank chronology prepared by the Archives and currently available in the Exhibits site of the Archives website at: http://archives.worldbank.org/
WORLD BANK GROUP ARCHIVES
The fifty-year old World Bank Archives is a unique source of information on more than one hundred economies (both developed and developing) since 1947--the year the Bank made its first loan. The Archives also represents the Bank’s corporate memory. It explains what it has done and why. The Archives document the Bank’s successes, failures, and complexity of its relationships with clients and partners. The Archives currently holds 135,000 cubic feet (approximately 40 Km) of original/primary source materials dealing with development issues, from general country files to lending project files, from economic reports and sector studies to non-textual records such as photographs and films related to development projects, and oral history interviews. The Bank first established a separate Records Center (which became the Archives) for older documents and records in 1969—after operating for 23 years. The Archives maintains now two repositories, one at headquarters in Washington D.C., and another in western Pennsylvania. The Headquarters’ repository, where most of the Archives’ 25 staff are located, hosts the Reading Room. Access to non-Bank staff is given now on a case-by-case basis, provided that clearance is granted by the relevant department director.
DISCLOSURE OF BANK INFORMATION
As part of its commitment to transparency in the development process, the Bank, in 1993, undertook a major review of its Policy on Disclosure of Information to increase further the information made publicly available. Under the revised policy, the range of documents released has expanded significantly, and public access to those documents is made easier through an InfoShop in Washington, DC and Public Information Centers in the client countries. For the past two years, the Bank has been revising its new disclosure policy by the means of a broad international consultation. The consultation included Bank staff discussions on the proposed revised policy paper with representatives of governments, academics, the private sector, civil society organizations, and interested members of the public across continents. During this period, the draft paper was also made available on the Bank's external website for public review in English, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish and Portuguese to ensure meaningful participation. Staff are now collating all feedback received on the draft policy for presentation to Senior Management and the Board of Executive Directors. The draft Review will be revised and presented formally to the Board for consideration in August 2001. As part of the new disclosure policy under consideration, the World Bank is expected to open its archives to public access for items that are 20 years old or more.
ARCHIVES WEBSITE, http://archives.worldbank.org
The Archives built its website in 1999. In line with the advocacy role of good archives and records management practices inside the Bank and in client countries, the website homepage gives a snapshot of the full range of interrelated products offered by the Archives: from exhibits to an oral history program, from the Learning Program tools, to proposed future cooperative initiatives such as the Archives of Development, to the on-line catalog. The need for an on-line catalog was highlighted by the Archives Advisory Board--funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation--in its first meeting in early 1998 in view of the possible opening to wide public access that was first discussed at that time. Given the nature of our institution, it is imperative that the Archives provide solid preliminary information on our holdings to a wide range of remote users who are unable to come to our Headquarters to access the Archives. Designed by Clive Smith, the World Bank Group Archivist, and produced by MadWolf Technologies, the Archives site contains a detailed catalog of the holdings of the Bank Archives which enables users to search for materials relating to topics of interest. Comprehensive search tips, and information about how to use the Bank's archival resources are provided. The catalog provides bibliographic descriptions at several levels: organizational unit, record series, file, item (or file volume), report (or document). Included in the catalog, but searched separately, are summaries of oral history interviews. The catalog is populated with descriptions drawn from our database—IRAMS (Integrated Records and Archives Management System)--that was created for the management of current records and archives since 1991. Consequently, the descriptions, originally composed for the use of the Bank’s professional records and archives staff only, are uneven in quality. Work is ongoing to enhance series descriptions and make them more meaningful to the end user. Although the on-line catalog is a work in progress, we decided to make it available all the same with the view that some information is better than none. We are also working to make the catalog search and browse options more intuitive and user-friendly, following the example of major archives in the world. Enhancements: Other enhancements are being developed with the help of Summer interns from local universities such as Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, and George Washington University. The interns will assist in preparing scope-notes to illustrate sector- and country-related holdings in the Archives. Most interns are undergraduate students interested in Economic History, International Affairs, Development Studies. Some of them will receive course credit from their universities, others will simply enjoy the challenge and exposure to our work environment. Part of an on-line guide, the scope notes will facilitate access to the Archives collections. The interns will survey sources documenting the Bank’s work in a particular sector/country and summarize the findings in a ten-page narrative to include references to significant projects, documents, and literature. Future enhancements of the on-line catalog will include links to the catalog from other related Bank databases on the internet (such as the database of Bank projects in the countries and World Development Sources). We would also like to include a means of requesting copies of documents or more information at the click of a button. To give a flavor of our holdings to our web audience, we are currently exploring the opportunity of digitizing a pilot collection—the one on “River Blindness,” which represents a major success story for the Bank in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners. Since the website was launched, the monthly visits have grown from the initial 3,000 (registered in April 2000) to the current average of 7,500 (registered from October 2000 on). The on-line catalog is available in our website at: http://archives.worldbank.org.
 The opinions expressed in this paper are the authors’ own and do not necessarily represent those of the World Bank Group. The World Bank, 1818 H Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20433, USA. We are extremely grateful to Michelle Dolbec, Archivist of the International Monetary Fund, for her comments, and to our colleague Sylvia Piggot for her help.
 The Bank Archives are very grateful to the Archives of UNHCR--under the leadership of Trudy Peterson--for having made this mission possible. The ICA archivist who participated in the mission was Montserrat Canela. Our warm thank you goes to her as well.
 The repository in Washington holds 11.000 cubic feet of material. The repository in Pennsylvania is much larger, underground, in leased space in a former limestone mine (alkali-buffered walls!). It is located 200 feet below the hills of Western Pennsylvania. The mine was active until 1953, when the limestone was used in Pittsburgh steel-making operations. The mine is a maximum security storage that holds vital records of companies from all over the world, as well as the original films of Walt Disney Co., materials from the Library of Congress, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National Archives, and many others. It is considered to be the second safest place in the United States after Fort Knox. Currently the leased space, of 45,000 square feet, holds over two million records. The Bank has five full-time staff employed at the “mine,” and an overnight courier service can ship up to 42 cubic feet of records daily in either direction. Generally, Bank staff find that documents requested by 2 p.m. are available at headquarters the next morning. Access to non-Bank staff is given now on a case-by-case basis, provided that clearance is given by the relevant department director.
 Members of the Archives Advisory Board are Marcelo Abreu, PUC Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, William Ascher, Claremont McKenna College, William Becker, George Washington University, Louis Galambos, Johns Hopkins University, Gary Gereffi, Duke University, Anupam Khanna, Shell International Planning, Environment, and External Affairs, London, Maritta Koch-Weser, Earth3000, Germany, John Lewis, Princeton University, George MacKenzie, National Archivist of Scotland, Deanna Marcum, Council on Library and Information Resources, Washington, DC, Katriina Simila, ICCROM, Rome, T. N. Srinivasan, Yale University, Maria Luise Wagner, Georgetown University.
 The only collection of Bank records that is digitized up to now and available to the external public is the “World Development Sources.” World Development Sources (WDS - http://www-wds.worldbank.org/) is a web based text search and retrieval system which contains a collection of World Bank reports most of which are scanned and are available in imaged format. The user can access WDS via a web browser and search through a multi-field search engine. Also included is the ASCII text of the report, which is generated from the image through a technical utility called Optical Character Recognition (OCR). WDS contains citations to over 6,000 reports. These reports include Project Appraisal Reports, Economic and Sector Works, Evaluation Reports and Studies, and Working Papers. WDS offers numerous search options. Librarians can do complex searches while first-time readers can also do searches. Users can print the OCR text of the reports on their own printers--one image page at a time. If users would like the whole report, they can follow the Order button for instruction on purchasing reports.
 River blindness (Onchocerciasis) is a major disease carried by a parasite, the black-fly, in Africa, the Americas and Yemen. It causes blindness, among other impairments. The partners started the fight to river blindness in 1974 and by now the threat is considered in control. The basic strategy of the program against river blindness consisted of bringing the black-fly population to a level where transmission of larvae is excluded and maintaining that level until the larvae in humans died. This is achieved by aerial applications of insecticides to breeding sites of black-fly larvae in the rivers, regularly and over a period of 14 years. http://www.worldbank.org/gper/related.htm