Overview > About the International Council on Archives – ICA

International Council on Archives (ICA)

The International Council on Archives (ICA) was founded in 1948 to promote the preservation of and access to archives worldwide. Working in collaboration with UNESCO, The Blue Shield and other international non-governmental organizations representing librarians, records managers, and heritage disciplines, the ICA advances training, the development of standards, and public awareness of the importance of the documentary record. Through its 13 regional branches, 13 professional sections and a series of expert groups, the ICA is active globally with decision-makers in both the public and private sectors seeking to encourage effective recordkeeping and to provide the essential documentary record of humanity. This is the social memory, essential for the rule of law and vital for understanding our past as the foundation for the future. With its expert professional network, the ICA is addressing issues such as the permanent preservation of complex digital records, technologies for enabling broad public and educational access to very fragile documents and standards and legal requirements for modern recordkeeping.


UNESCO has emphasized the fundamental importance of the archival record. In 2015 the UNESCO General Assembly began its policy paper on documentary heritage stating: “CONSIDERING that documents produced and preserved over time, in all their analogue and digital forms through space and time, constitute the primary means of knowledge creation and expression, having an impact on all areas of humanity’s civilization and further progress…” The ICA with more than 2,000 members in 199 countries and territories, is the primary non-governmental organization coordinating international efforts to give life and meaning to this powerful statement. The strength of the ICA lies in its global network, linking national archives both large and small, professional associations of archivists, regional, local and institutional archives and individuals as a collaborative community for joint action and mutual support. This is a dynamic and fully engaged body, advancing professional practice, training and public awareness. For over 70 years the ICA has been the international advocate for modern record systems and the careful protection of our recorded heritage. The ICA has encouraged dialogue and understanding across cultures, dealing with issues of shared heritage, the integrity of the official record and with the transmission of knowledge across national boundaries and across the generations.
  1. Unlimited access to all ICA website resources
  2. An exclusive subscription to ICA digital publications
  3. Free copies of the paper version of the international professional journal “Comma” and ICA twice-yearly newsletter “Flash”
  4. The possibility of financial support for their projects from the ICA and the Fund for the International Development of Archives (FIDA)
  5.  Reduced rates for attendance at ICA-organized events
  6. The events and programmes organized in their region
  7. The chance to share their events with the international ICA community
  8. The opportunity to obtain support for their projects from around the world
  9. Access to an international network of highly committed experts
  10. The chance to participate to the International Archives Day and to communicate your events with worldwide professionals in the field of archives
  2. The opportunity to expand and be involved in an international professional network.
  3. Involvement in the activities and debates of the Forum of National Archivists (Cat A) and Section of Professional Associations (Cat B).
  4. Participation as an active member of the ICA Regional Branches and Professional Sections (*), and involvement at regional level; taking part in the discussions organized by the professional sections; and helping develop standards, resources and guidelines in collaboration with highly committed experts.
  5. Reduced rates for registering on ICA’s Online Learning Platform.
  6. The possibility of financial support for their projects from the Programme Commission and the Fund for the International Development of Archives (FIDA).
  7. The opportunity to apply and join the New Professionals Programme.
  8. Reduced rates for attendance at ICA-organized events.
  9. The chance to participate in International Archives Week and share their events worldwide.
  10. Unlimited access to all ICA website resources.
  11. An exclusive subscription to ICA digital publications.
  12. Free copies of the paper version of the international professional journal “Comma” (**) and ICA’s twice-yearly magazine “Flash”.
    (*) Members can register to a maximum of two (2) Sections and two (2) Regional Branches. Please be advised that each Branch manages its own membership process.

    (**) Not available for “Digital member” membership. 

Past ICA event videos
ICA Seoul Congress 2016: Seoul, South Korea
ALA/ICA Mexico Conference 2017
ICA Yaounde Conference 2018
ICA Adelaide Conference 2019