Preservation of, and access to oral history records at Pietermaritzburg Archives Repository.
Tembe, Mbongeni Andries.
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The study investigated the importance of oral history and how oral history is preserved and accessed at the Pietermaritzburg Archives Repository (PAR), specifically at its Oral History Unit (OHU). Oral history confirms information about historical events by enhancing and verifying the event. It also recovers certain aspects of the past event that may not have been captured. Data were collected through three different semi-structured interviews, observation and graphic data in the form of photographs. Qualitative analysis of the data was done via content, conceptual and thematic analysis. The study found that the preservation and access to oral history records have been ineffective since the OHU was established in 2013. Issues identified included legislation which does not provide for oral history records in the contemporary digital era, the lack of policy, deficient strategies for preservation and access, the inadequacy of the adapted building and a shortage of resources, funding and qualified staff. The overall recommendation arising from the findings was a need to improve the preservation and access of oral history records in the PAR. More specifically, the study recommends the modification of the KwaZulu-Natal Archives and Records Services Act (No. 8 of 2011 as amended) to fully accommodate the oral history records and the preservation and access of audio-visual material, the formulation of policy, the establishment of a new archival building, the recruitment of information professionals who understand the pros and cons of archival science, further training of existing staff members with regard to preservation and access of oral history records, and finally, the need for the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture to increase the budget allocation for the Provincial Archives. A suggestion for further research ended the study.