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The Marburg School of Archives pays visit to the ITS

A group of 36 archival science students at the Marburg School of Archives came to see and gain an overview of the work done and archives kept at the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen yesterday. The interest of the archivists to-be focused on the organisation of the archives, the origin of the documents and the digitisation and use made of the archival units. “The visit to the ITS is of particular importance for our students”, said Dr Karsten Uhde, organiser of the study trip, “because the ITS is not an archive in the classical sense, but an archive that has ‘grown up’ in line with its tasks, i.e. is structured ‘organically’.”  

Having taken a look at the holdings and the scanning of the correspondence files, the students got an introduction to the various activities of the departments for research and treatment of humanitarian requests and were explained the administration’s file deposit scheme. “The tasks the ITS fulfils go beyond the work of an archive“, affirmed Maria von Loewenich, student at the Marburg School of Archives and archivist trainee at the Secret State Archives Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in Berlin during the visit. “They make it different from our standard training archives and, therefore, so very interesting for us.”

For the archival science students it is vital to go and see as many archives as possible in the course of their training, reports Uhde. What makes the ITS both, so fascinating and instructive for the archivists’ academic education is the facts that the ITS archive was opened to the public very late only, that its organisational structure is so extraordinary and that its digital holdings are currently (re-)sorted by provenance. “It is also its use and legal basis that differ from other archives,” adds Uhde. “For the students it is particularly enlightening and helpful to come to know the characteristic features of the ITS.”