Business Archives Surveying Officer

The Business Archives Surveying Officer carries out surveys of business records to ensure that the records most valuable to Scotland’s business heritage are preserved appropriately. The Surveying Officer actively promotes the preservation of Scotland’s business heritage.

The Surveying Officer can offer advice and guidance about the management and use of business archives to businesses, archivists and other public sector organisations.

Background 
A full-time Surveying Officer was first appointed by the Business Archives Council of Scotland in 1977. The existence of Surveying Officer in Scotland has made a huge contribution to the status of the business archives sector in Scotland and helped to ensure that Scotland has a wealth of business and business-related archives.

In 2014, the Ballast Trust re-established the post with partnership funding and today the role is funded by the Ballast Trust and contributions from businesses. The postholder is based at the Ballast Trust and the University of Glasgow.

Surveying
Business archive surveys can be carried out on behalf of a variety of bodies, including businesses, archives and individuals. In order for a survey to take place, we must have authorisation from the legal owner of the records.

 A survey includes:
  • determining the aims and objectives of the survey 
  • scoping the extent of the material 
  • scoping the location of material 
  • determining which records are considered archival 
  • determining which records are retained by the depositor 
  • creating a survey of the records in report format 
  • providing recommendations for a suitable place of deposit 
A survey may be carried out or requested for a variety of reasons. It may be that the records form the corporate history of a company that they wish to preserve and make accessible in a suitable place of deposit or in-house in archival compliant storage areas. Or records have been cared for by family members or staff members and now need to be deposited with a repository.

Rescue of Records at Risk 
The Surveying Officer will also work to protect records at risk of being destroyed or damaged. Often surveys are conducted when a company goes into liquidation and the assets are being dispersed. In these circumstances time is an important factor and finding a suitable location to store the records quickly.

Contact Us
If you are the custodian of, or know of, archive records relating to Scottish industry and business that you think should be surveyed then please contact the Surveying Officer. If you are aware of a business collection at risk please contact the Surveying Officer or the Crisis Management Team

Christopher Cassells, Business Archives Surveying Officer
 Email: Christopher.Cassells@glasgow.ac.uk | Telephone: 01505 328488