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The Benefits of Business Archives

As Scotland’s businesses and industries have been crucial in shaping its economic and social development, business archives naturally have a wider value to society. Every business is unique, with its own story of achievement, organisational culture, reputation, products and people.  Business archive collections provide evidence of business activity and also the relationship businesses have with their staff and the communities within which they are based or trade.

Benefits to business

Archives can be used in many ways to support active business and industry and a business archive is a business asset, providing evidence and proof of business transactions, translating into new brands and products, allowing a business to trade on its heritage.  By keeping archives, businesses capture today’s experience, knowledge and business know-how for future use.

 Business records:

  • Contain information vital for business continuity and are necessary to meet both short and long-term legal obligations.
  • Provide internal information relating to an organisation’s successes and failures which are used to inform the thinking of current business leaders.
  • Drive competitive advantage and support and inspire business and product development.
  • Can be exploited as part of Corporate Social Responsibility projects.
  • Aid marketing and decision making as well as providing evidence for legal and brand protection.

Benefits to society

Business archives have a wider social value. The central role that business and the economy play in our lives through wealth creation and the provision of goods and services mean they contribute an important element of our local, regional and national heritage.

All individuals connect with business and the economy as consumers.  A business’s need for a workforce can create, sustain and develop communities. Similarly, a business’s closure can decimate the same communities.  For consumers, the products of business and industry form a part of our national identity, whether through branding, imagery or our built environment. Business records are therefore key sources in helping us to understand and connect with our past and present.

 Business records:

  • Are a shared cultural asset documenting a collective past and present.
  • Help celebrate communities.
  • Document a collective past through staff records, photographs, film and oral histories and inspire the future.
  • Have educational value for a wide range of researchers from those engaged in amateur and local and family historians through to academic economists.