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The International Council on Archives (ICA; French: Conseil international des archives) is an international non-governmental organization which exists to promote international cooperation for archives and archivists. It was set up in 1948, with Charles Samaran, the then director of the Archives nationales de France, as chairman, and membership is open to national and international organisations, professional groups and individuals.[1] In 2015 it grouped together about 1400 institutional members in 199 countries and territories. Its mission is to promote the conservation, development and use of the world's archives.

International Council on Archives
International Council on Archives
FoundedJune 9, 1948; 71 years ago (1948-06-09)
TypeProfessional Organization
FocusArchivists, Archive Conservators & Record Managers
MethodIndustry standards, Conferences, Publications

ICA has close partnership links with UNESCO, and is a founding member of the Blue Shield, which works to protect the world's cultural heritage threatened by wars and natural disasters, and which is based in The Hague.[2]


Mission statementEdit

ICA's mission statement reads: "The International Council on Archives (ICA) is dedicated to the effective management of records and the preservation, care and use of the world's archival heritage through its representation of records and archive professionals across the globe. Archives are an incredible resource. They are the documentary by-product of human activity and as such are an irreplaceable witness to past events, underpinning democracy, the identity of individuals and communities, and human rights. But they are also fragile and vulnerable. The ICA strives to protect and ensure access to archives through advocacy, setting standards, professional development, and enabling dialogue between archivists, policy makers, creators and users of archives. The ICA is a neutral, non-governmental organisation, funded by its membership, which operates through the activities of that diverse membership. For over sixty years ICA has united archival institutions and practitioners across the globe to advocate for good archival management and the physical protection of recorded heritage, to produce reputable standards and best practices, and to encourage dialogue, exchange, and transmission of this knowledge and expertise across national borders."[3]


The ICA is organized in thirteen regional branches with varying levels of activity, including the Caribbean branch (CARBICA), the Eastern and Southern Africa branch (ESARBICA), the South and West Asian branch (SWARBICA), the European branch (EURBICA) and the Pacific Region branch (PARBICA).[4] The North American branch (NAANICA) operates "virtually" and by contributions to meetings of the Society of American Archivists and the Association of Canadian Archivists. ICA has twelve professional sections, which provide much of the organization's archival content and activity, including the Section for Archival Education (SAE), the Section for Architectural Records (SAR), the Section for Business Archives (SBA), the Section for Archives of Literature and Art (SLA), the Section for Local, Municipal and Territorial Archives (SLMT), the Section on Sports Archives (SPO), the Section for Archives of Parliaments and Political Parties (SPP) and the Section for University and Research Institutions (SUV).

It is based in the Marais quarter of the 3rd arrondissement of Paris, rue des Francs-Bourgeois, in the premises of the French national archives.

Member groups include the Arxivers sense Fronteres, among others.


ICA publishes a review Comma, which appears once or twice a year and includes material in United Nations languages as well as German.[5]

Every fourth year, ICA hosts its major International Congress. In recent years, these have been held in Vienna (2004), Kuala Lumpur (2008), Brisbane (2012)[6] and Seoul (2016).[7] The next ICA Congress will be held in Abu Dhabi in 2020. Until 2011, ICA also hosted the annual meetings of CITRA, the International Conference of the Round Table on Archives, which brought together heads of national archival institutions, presidents of national professional associations and the ICA sections, branches and committees. The last three CITRA meetings were held in Malta (2009); Oslo, Norway (2010) and Toledo, Spain (2011). After the CITRA in Toledo,[8] ICA replaced CITRA meetings with an annual conference. The first three annual conferences were in European venues: Brussels (2013), Girona (2014) and Reykjavik (2015). The venues for future annual conferences will be Mexico City in 2017, Yaoundé in 2018, Edinburgh in 2019, before the four-yearly Congress in Abu Dhabi in 2020.


In 1993, the International Council on Archives approved the first draft of ISAD(G) (General International Standard Archival Description), intended to be a standard for elements that should be included in a finding aid register for archival documents produced by corporations, persons and families.

A revised version, known as ISAD(G)2, was issued in 2000.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "A timeline of the International Council on Archives | International Council on Archives". Retrieved 2017-05-09.
  2. ^ Blue Shield International Contact Page. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  3. ^ ICA website: An Introduction to our Organization Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  4. ^ See the PARBICA website
  5. ^ ICA website: COMMA Editorial Board. Retrieved 24 February 2015
  6. ^ Website of the ICA International Congress, Brisbane, 2012 Retrieved 15 March 2015
  7. ^ Website of the ICA International Congress, Seoul, 2016 Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  8. ^ Website of the Toledo CITRA meeting 2011 Retrieved 15 March 2015.

External linksEdit