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Overview of the Repository

One of the key functions of the Kenya National Archives is to acquire and preserve valuable public and private records which form part of the national documentary heritage. There are eight repositories / storage areas with a holding of approximately 600 million pages of documents.

Key functions of the repository section:
The section is charged with the responsibility of providing custody and access to public records and public archives as well as the private archives. This includes records from all ministries, government offices, parastatals/state corporations, county governments and any body formed by an Act of Parliament, and private persons including Church Missionary Society records. The records are those deemed to have historical, financial, legal, administrative or research value.

Below are our repository procedures:

1. Receiving records from Kenya National Archives regional offices

  • Receive already processed records from the regional offices. The records should be in archival boxes with a clear label indicating the provenance, code allocated to the provenance, the box number and the series/references of the files contained in the box.
  • Receive descriptive lists of the records and counter-check what has been received against the descriptive lists.
  • Register the received provenance in the accession register.
  • Allocate space to records received.
  • Arrange the boxes in the allocated space.
  • Indicate the location of the consignment on the descriptive lists provided.
  • Hand over the descriptive lists to the search room. The lists will act as a finding aid.
  • Update the repository location guide. Indicate the repository, shelf number, box number, serial and record group.

2. Retrieving records

  • Receive requisition forms from the search room.
  • Ensure that all the necessary details are indicate, that is, the researcher’s name, permit number, document reference number, title of the documents, piece dates, room number, shelf number, box number, date of requisition, time of request, time retrieved and requisition number.
  • Record details of records requested in the requisition register. Indicate date requested, document reference, the person requesting and the officer who has retrieved the record
  • Retrieve file from the box indicated. Place the requisition form in place of the file retrieved to act as a tracing slip.
  • If the file is not found, note in the requisition form the reason why the file is missing. Transfer this information to the requisition register on the remarks column. Indicate either, file missing, or file retrieved earlier (a previous requisition number).
  • Inform search room staff on files not found and the reasons why the files have not been retrieved so that they can do a follow-up on files already retrieved or other researchers and which have not been brought back to the repository section.
  • If a file is acidic, torn and in need of repair, record the file(s) in the conservation register and hand it over to the conservation section for restoration.
  • If a file has a worn out file cover, replace the cover with a new file cover, ensuring all the details in the original cover are transferred.
  • Hand over all the retrieved files to the search room staff.

3. Reshelving

  • Receive files from the search room staff.
  • Note in the requisition register files returned.
  • Sort out the files i.e. group the files into their respective provenances.
  • Arrange the files according to their reference numbers.
  • Reshelf the files. This includes removing the tracing slip from the box and placing the file in its rightful place.
  • Register all files reshelved in a reshelving register.

4. Replacement of worn out archival boxes

  • Identify the worn out archival boxes.
  • Assemble new archival boxes and place a lining in each box.
  • Prepare a new label for each of the worn out box.
  • Transfer files from the worn out archival box.
  • Put the new label onto the new archival box.
  • Place the new archival box into the correct shelf.

5. Digitization

  • Liaise with the digital archives division and identify the records to be digitized.
  • Prepare the records to be digitized. This involves:
    • Ensuring that all records to be digitized are in their respective boxes.
    • Tracing all the missing files.
    • Reshelving files that may have been requested for use but not yet reshelved.
    • Preparing a list of all missing files that cannot be traced.
    • Paginate all files to be digitized.
    • Hand over the files to the digitizing team.
    • Verify the digitized records to ensure that filing has been done correctly and that the records are in their correct archival boxes.
    • Reshelf the records.