Majority of Regional Archives Not Prepared for Disaster

The National Archives of Iceland have been housed at Laugavegur 162 since the 1980s.

Less than a third of Iceland’s regional archives have made copies of important documents, as is dictated by disaster preparedness protocols, RÚV reports. On top of this, about two thirds of the regional archives do not have any emergency plan in place for how to respond to large-scale disasters.

According to Eiríkur G. Guðmundsson, Director General of the National Archives, the biggest reason for this oversight is that the regional archives simply do not have the resources, either in terms of staffing or funding. Eiríkur said that these archives must be prioritised if the situation is to be remedied.

Iceland has 20 regional archives, all of which are under the oversight of the country’s national archives. These archives are the repositories for institutional and governmental documents for local districts around the country.

Per Icelandic public archival laws, last amended in 2014, the country’s most important documents must be preserved on film, in electronic copy, or by means of other electronic storage method. These copies are then stored in a separate location away from the main archives. Thus far, however, only three of the 20 regional archives have assessed what documents would need to be transferred in the event of a disaster, and where.