Save the Date and Call for Papers: A Re-appraisal of Surveying: A Vital Archival Tool for Contemporary Collecting

Professor Michael Stanley Moss (1947–2021), who died on 9 February 2021, began his archival career in 1969 as Registrar of the Western Survey of the National Register of Archives (Scotland) at the University of Glasgow. His job was to locate, list and rescue historical records held by country houses, businesses, institutions, charities and individuals across the West of Scotland and ensure that important collections of archives were preserved. During the next 30 years he was to create in Glasgow one of the UK’s largest collections of business archives.

This online conference in Michael’s memory will consider the UK’s extraordinary track record of successful archival surveying and look at the many ways in which surveys can not only contribute to the collecting function of an archive but also ensure that the heritage of an organisation, region or nation is appropriately reflected in its archival collections.

This conference will be held on 27th and 28th April 2022 as an online event with short papers and sessions spread over two half-days.

We would welcome papers and contributions about, but not limited to, the following themes:

  • Exploring sixty years of archive surveying in the UK – achievements and legacy
  • Reviewing different kinds of archival survey – sectoral, geographical or single-institution, desktop or in the field, physical or digital records
  • Looking at how surveys can contribute in different ways to the collecting function of an archive 
  • Considering surveying as a tool for making collections more representative
  • Getting the best out of archive surveying activities
  • Using field archivists, volunteers and crowdsourcing for archival surveying
  • Rapid response collecting and archival surveys as a crisis tool
  • Archival survey case studies 

Surveying remains a universally useful tool for all archivists and we are seeking speakers on archival surveying of all kinds, not just in relation to business archives, both from the UK and globally. We hope that this conference will provide a space to share best practice and expect the event to be followed by practical half-day face-to-face workshops on surveying techniques across the UK.

Please submit proposals to, stating your name, institution (if applicable), and abstract (no more than 250 words).

The deadline for responses is 31 January 2022.

For an informal chat or to discuss a proposal, please contact Kiara King, conference coordinator, at

Details of the conference and call for papers is available on the BACS website