Wednesday, 18 November 2009

PRONI two week closure for stocktaking

From the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI):

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has issued a final reminder that it will be closed to the public from Monday 23 November until Friday 11 December 2009 inclusive.

During this annual stocktaking period there will be no access for members of the public to the Balmoral Avenue site and documents will not be available for consultation. However, all of PRONI’s online records will be available and the office will continue to provide a correspondence and telephone enquiry service and will address FOI and urgent legal enquiries.

The closure takes place every year in order to update the storage inventory, to identify documents that are in need of repair, and to re-arrange and rationalise storage to provide space for new archives. This is to ensure that everything possible is done to preserve Northern Ireland’s archival heritage and to make it accessible to the public.

Records stored within PRONI are priceless and some contain vital historical information which, if lost or damaged, would be a massive blow to the general public, both in Northern Ireland and also worldwide.

PRONI holds literally millions of unique documents that are housed on 54km of shelving in environmentally controlled stores. The task of protecting and preserving the documents is a major one. A large archive may consist of thousands of documents that have to be cleaned, sorted, catalogued and indexed before they can be made available to the public.

This year, particular emphasis will be placed on preparing the records and collections for the move to PRONI's new accommodation in the Titanic Quarter, Belfast. The move will start in September 2010 with the new state-of-the-art record office scheduled to open to the public in May 2011.


In relation to next year’s move to new premises:

. The site of the new Public Record Office is in a prominent position close to the Odyssey Arena and adjacent to the Gateway building at the entrance to the Titanic Quarter. It is scheduled to open to the public in May 2011.

. To help alleviate any inconvenience to customers during the period of on-site closure next year the amount and range of material available on-line will be extended. Additional databases scheduled for completion in 2009/10 financial year include 1766 Religious Census Returns, 1775 Dissenters Petitions and the pre-1910 Coroners’ Inquests.

. To further facilitate customers, discussions are taking place with partner bodies about the possibility of providing an off-site self-service facility for limited microfilmed records during this period.

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