Part 3: The Permanent Archive for the Hillsborough Disaster

From active digital archive to Permanent Archive

3.45 The Distributed Archive of original, hard-copy documents and other material should be accessible through the catalogue and digitised documents on the website. These need to be permanently archived to complete the Distributed Permanent Archive. The digital archive will provide the main form of access for most people.

3.46 The Panel's website brings together all documents and other records (for example, some audio-visual) disclosed to the Panel in digital form with a master catalogue. It will be disclosed to the families first and then to the public.

3.47 The digital website will be permanently archived and will remain easier to access than the physical archive, which will be distributed across repositories and, in some cases, may even be retained by the owners. The digital archive will also have the benefit of eliminating issues of ownership of original records and their physical location.

3.48 A robust model for continued funding for the website must be agreed. Statistics indicate that 25 per cent of National Lottery-funded digitisation projects have failed and it would be unacceptable for this to occur with the Hillsborough Archive. It will provide the primary method of consulting the archive and a record of what the Panel achieved.

3.49 Online and hard-copy access will be supported by archivists and social service assistance in Liverpool for families beyond the launch of the website and the Panel's Report. Liverpool will have an additional archivist funded to assist with access until the end of 2012. Sheffield, The National Archives and any other repositories will incorporate the website into their normal services.

3.50 The audio-visual material in high resolution for permanent archival purposes will be preserved at The National Archives.
3.51 For sustainability and funding, the website will remain active for the foreseeable future, hosted by the Home Office. There may also be a need to add material to the digital archive and to process, manage and technically facilitate requests for personal data to be removed from the digital archive.

Recommendation 6

An Editor-in-Chief should be appointed to be responsible for the policy and implementation of the digital archive post-disclosure and continuing technical support should be provided to manage existing and new material.

Recommendation 7

A protocol for allowing additional material to be incorporated into the digital archive and for taking down material is recommended.

Recommendation 8

The digital archive and the audio-visual material should remain available for the foreseeable future at Liverpool and Sheffield with advisory and support staff as necessary; it should be accessible according to the access protocol agreed by the Panel.

Recommendation 9

The digital archive, including audio-visual material, eventually should be permanently archived at The National Archives.