Commonwealth countries share common legal and administrative traditions as well as common historical experience and a common language; the Association of Commonwealth Archivists and Records Managers (ACARM) provides a vehicle for sharing strategies and for addressing professional issues of concern to its members. With the rapid advent of computer technology, the challenges facing records managers and archivists, in terms of automating records systems and managing electronic records, are becoming increasingly complex. ACARM is a valuable vehicle for sharing solutions. It is expected that as more and more members are able to access the World Wide Web, it will be possible to share solutions electronically.

The Association of Commonwealth Archivists and Records Managers (ACARM) was founded in 1984 to provide a link for archival institutions, archivists and records managers across the Commonwealth. What makes this link especially important is the common heritage of legal and administrative systems, and hence of record keeping practices, which the countries of the Commonwealth share with each other and with the United Kingdom.

In furtherance of its objectives ACARM has established a network of Commonwealth professionals in its field and has used that network to develop a practical strategy for solving record keeping problems in public administration. This has involved a number of developmental projects concerned with promoting professional education and training through workshops and the production of training materials.

The aims of ACARM are

  1. To promote the development of professional archival and records management standards in the Commonwealth;
  2. To reinforce the importance archives and records should have in the national heritage and in programmes of national development;
  3. To promote the development of professional archival and records management education and training throughout the Commonwealth;
  4. To provide a forum for archivists and records managers who share a common heritage to compare, exchange, share and develop their common experience;
  5. To encourage the dissemination of information, e.g. copies of archival material, amongst member institutions;
  6. To promote the use of records and archives in understanding the activities and impact of the Commonwealth, as well as British colonialism and its repercussions; and
  7. To encourage the formation and continued development of professional and archival records management associations in individual countries of the Commonwealth.

ACARM is recognised as a Commonwealth non-governmental organisation by the Commonwealth Secretariat, the principal organisation of the Commonwealth. Together with the Commonwealth Foundation and the Commonwealth of Learning, the Secretariat is the Commonwealth’s civil service, carrying out the priorities of its 54 member governments and servicing the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM).

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