When Funding Bodies Shut Down

An email sent to the MLANORTHEAST-NEWS JISCMail list provides details of the implications of the closure of the MLA North East regional Agency on the Web services it has set up or commissioned.

The message states :

MLA North East Websites after 12th December, 2008

MLA North East over recent years has set up several websites which we have managed on behalf of the sector. This brief note is to inform you of the arrangements made for each of the sites.

www.mlanortheast.org.uk:  a holding page will refer visitors to MLA council site at www.mla.gov.uk All other content will be taken down at 4.00pm on Friday 12th December, 2008.

www.thenortheast.com:  currently a portal to our sector’s on-line stores selling local studies material and other ephemera. The content will be taken down at 4.00pm on Friday 12th December, 2008. The domain name is now owned  by One NorthEast.

www.archivesnortheast.com:  a portal to North East archives services, providing links to catalogues and paid-for  professional support in researching archives. This will continue under the auspices of the North East Regional Archives Council [NERAC] Contact Liz Rees liz.rees@twas.org.uk

www.wellinever.info: a portal to learning resources to teachers, pupils, parents and carers providing venue guides, information regarding learning visits and links to some of the sector’s regional on-line learning resources. This will continue under the auspices of Tyne & Wear Museums. Contact ian.thilthorpe@twmuseums.org.uk

www.primarysources.org.uk:  basic skills resources developed by primary teachers, working alongside learning professionals from six archives in the North East region and  designed for use schools.  These resources offer a fresh and engaging approach to teaching basic skills. This will continue under the auspices of Durham University. Contact andrew.preater@durham.ac.uk

www.discs-uk.info: DiSCS provides an online directory of information technology (IT) and digital services suppliers to work with the cultural and heritage sector. This site has transferred and is managed by The Collections Trust www.collectionstrust.org.uk

www.tomorrows-history.com: The regional local studies site for archives and record offices, libraries, museums, archaeology services, the region’s universities and commercial organisations.

Additionally, community groups have created one hundred local history projects. This will continue. The domain name is now owned by Newcastle City Council. The site is managed by Newcastle City Library Services. Contact Kath Cassidy kath.cassidy@newcastle.gov.uk

www.oralhistorynortheast.com: The site for oral history in the North East of England. Support for individuals and organisations undertaking oral history projects, to provide focus and support and a forum for the sharing of ideas and experience. This site is closed.

I think this demonstrates some good practices of what organisations which have set up or commissioned Web sites should do if they are forced to close, either due to changes in Government funding and policies (as is the case with the MLA Regional Agencies).

We can see that the Web site address and a brief summary of its purpose is provided, details of when the site ceases operation, contact details and, in a couple of cases, details of how the service is being continued by other organisations.

I know the implications of the demise of our organisation on the Web services we are providing isn’t something that we like to think about. But in a personal capacity once we reach a certain age and become aware of our resoponsibilities to others we due ten to make plans for what happens after we die, perhaps by making a will. So shouldn’t our organisations be making similar plans in case the oprganisation ceases to exist. And at a time of the credit crunch this is even more important than it used to be.