Collection Preservation

Collection Acquisition Policy

Our policy is to acquire local archives, which are local records and documents of enduring value, originating from/relating to Cork city and county. 'Local archives' includes local government archives transferred from Council offices, and deposited archives that are privately donated, purchased, bequested, or loaned. (Note: archives from national government and state agencies are the responsibility of the National Archives of Ireland in Dublin).

Documents and records acquired can be in any format, for example: 

  • Manuscript and typescript papers
  • Correspondence
  • Files
  • Bound volumes e.g. minute books, account books, letterbooks, scrapbooks
  • Maps, plans and drawings
  • Photographs
  • Printed ephemera e.g. collections of one-off concert or match programmes, almanacks, directories, booklets and leaflets, posters, tickets etc. 
  • Audio/Visual recordings
  • Electronic documents

We do not, in general, acquire collections of published books, journals or magazines, although small numbers of these may form part of an acquired archive.

We do not, in general, acquire 3-D objects or archaeological artefacts.

What is an Archive collection?

In general, an archive comprises the original, unique, and irreplaceable, documents and records generated by an organisation or individual in the course of their activities, that are selected for preservation based on their enduring value, and then transferred to, or deposited in, the CCCA service. It is important to note that CCCA does not itself create the archives collections. Our role is to appraise, acquire, preserve, and carry out the professional archival processing and controls needed to keep archives secure, and appropriately accessible.

We preserve over 1200 individual archives. Many unique aspects of the social, political, commercial and cultural history of Cork are documented in our collections.

Local Government Archives

CCCA is the designated repository for archives generated by local government in Cork. Local authority archives held include those from Cork City Council and Cork County Council, and those from various defunct local authorities such as the poor law (workhouse) boards of guardians, rural district councils, urban district councils/town councils, the Grand Jury of County Cork, the pre-1960 local boards of public health, hospitals, vocational education committees, and Cork Harbour Commissioners. The CCCA provides advice and services to local government with regards to the selection of records for preservation.

Deposited Archives

As well as official transfers from local government, archives have also been deposited from a large number of local organisations, and individuals, including prominent citizens, businesses, landed estates, solicitors, trade unions, societies and clubs, charitable bodies, schools, photographers. The support of the community is a key enabler of our mission.

Archival Processing

A new archive is accessioned as a collection into the CCCA. The process involves an archivist carrying out a full preservation, appraisal, and sensitive material/privacy/data protection assessment, the full documentation of provenance, content and physical and intellectual structure, cleaning, damage treatment, boxing and shelving or incorporation into digital storage. Items that are in poor condition are earmarked for professional conservation repair treatment. (See also: Richard Dowden's scrapbook project for an example of recent document conservation work)

The object of archival processing is to preserve both the physical, and intellectual, order and accessibility of an archive. Final processing takes place when an archive is fully listed and indexed and made available for research.

Storage and Handling

Archives are stored by CCCA in secure environmentally controlled strong rooms with appropriate temperature and humidity controls, in archival quality boxes and folders. Our Seamus Murphy building is a purpose built archival repository designed to ensure the protection and preservation of archives. Archives are handled appropriately to avoid damage.

Access and Use

All use of, and access to, our archival collections is highly controlled and supervised, to ensure their security and preservation. Only archives that have been fully processed and listed are made available for research.

Archive Strong Room Cork City and County Archives
Archive Strong Room Cork City and County Archives