Monthly Archives: June 2016

The Start Line: Business Continuity Planning

What is a business continuity plan?

A business continuity plan is a collection of guidelines meant to inform staff on how to proceed with offering services or reinstate primary functions of a business or organization after it has been affected or disrupted by an emergency or a disaster. Most often business continuity plans are considered when the facility is directly affected by an emergency or disaster. Business continuity plans are especially important for larger organizations when a large body of staff need to be managed. The plan will inform where and how staff can work to continue offering the primary services of the organization.


Before developing a business continuity plan, it is important to consider the following:

  • Is there another facility unaffected by the emergency/disaster where staff can work?
  • Is it a conducive working environment? (i.e heating, electricity, plumbing, security)
  • Are there computers, desks, chairs and required equipment at the offsite facility?
  • Will the staff have access to internet, the work server, work email accounts, and required databases?
  • Is it safe for staff to continue to work?

Where to start:

  • Refer to the textbook Business Continuity and Risk Management: Essentials of Organizational Resilience by Kurt Engemann and Doug Henderson
  • Contact a local business continuity professional for advice
  • Enroll in certification courses in business continuity are offered nationally by Disaster Recovery Institute Canada

If your archives is municipally governed it is important to seek out if a business continuity plan is already in place and what that means for you, your staff and your site.

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Legal Archives Society of Alberta: Film Premiere


Film premiere date:
Thursday, June 16th 4:30 pm
Location: Monarch Theatre, Medicine Hat, AB.
Free admission

The Legal Archives Society of Alberta (LASA) is proud to announce the production of its first dramatic short film (22 minutes) called “The Agreement” written and produced by film and television actor Julian Black Antelope: Blackstone, Penny Dreadful, Arctic Air; and directed by award winning director Michael Peterson: The Wilmore Boys, Tiny Plastic Men, Lloyd The Conqueror.

The Agreement is based on archival records relating to Lt. George T. Davidson, a Medicine Hat lawyer who freely gave up a life of privilege and wealth to serve in the trenches during WWI. The story takes an existential look at the feelings and moments of this selfless and courageous figure as he reflects on the events leading up to his enlistment.


SYNOPSIS: In the early morning hours of October 26th 1916 at the Somme battlefront, Lt. George T. Davidson and a non-commissioned officer were sent out to “No Man’s Land” to reconnoiter enemy barb wire entanglements in anticipation of an attack. Displaying courage under fire, Lt. George T. Davidson makes the ultimate self-sacrifice. Based on true-life events, archival meeting minutes of the Medicine Hat Bar Association, are re-enacted as lawyers gathered for a farewell banquet on August 26, 1914 to send-off Davidson embarking overseas. Tragically, his prophetic words come to pass ‘Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori’.* LASA hopes to promote further interest in archival holdings as an inspiration for storytelling, and to bring light to Alberta’s unique WWI story. The short film was shot on location in Calgary and at the historic Lougheed House – a place of WWI significance, owing to patriarch lawyer, Sir James Lougheed who as a Senator and Minister in Prime Minister Borden’s government oversaw the establishment of Veterans Affairs Canada.

Submitted by: Brenda McCafferty
Reviewed by the Lead Team

For more information please click here.

*Latin translation: “It is sweet and honorable to die for the fatherland.”

Risk-Based Business


Credit: m. Photo has been cropped.

What is a risk assessment?

A risk assessment is an assessment performed of a facility, site, or collection to identify potential risks; the likelihood of occurrence; the damage if the risk occurs; and the cost, effort, and work to remediate those damages.

Why is it beneficial for archives to perform a risk assessment?

It is important for an institution to know their weaknesses in order to address them. It is also useful to know what the weaknesses are to determine what insurance coverage should be purchased. For example, it may be useful to purchase flood insurance if the collection is stored on a lower level.

If the institution has additional funding available to create a new job position, performing a risk assessment may assist with the decision of what position should be created. For example, if theft and vandalism are frequent occurrences it may be useful to have a security staff member on site.

If an institution is in the process of applying for grants, performing a risk assessment may assist with creating the grant application and knowing where grant assistance would be most beneficial. If awarded the grant, should the funding go towards remediating one large risk or a few smaller risks? This is called risk-based decision making; answering questions about potential risks and the outcome if risks are not addressed.

How is a risk assessment performed?

The Canadian Conservation Institute offers a service for which institutions can apply where a CCI conservation professional visits the institution to perform a facility assessment.

It is also encouraged for institution staff to set aside time once or twice a year to discuss what risks are present due to the type of collection material and media housed, the facility structure, security and access, electric work, plumbing, among others. It is important for facilities maintenance staff, cleaning staff, archivists, conservators, and collection technicians to work together as they may recognize different potential risks.

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