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Documents as evidence of our heritage

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Last week saw the publication of the first article in our ‘Building Trust’ series.

In it we took an overview of the heritage we received from our ancestors.

One way in which such information can be passed on from one generation to another is through documents. Whenever we write a letter or email we create a document. {{more}}

Some documents have national or international significance such as the 1979 Declaration of Independence of St. Vincent signed by Prime Minister Robert Milton Cato on behalf of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Labour Party Minister Ted Rowlands on behalf of the United Kingdom. The National Trust uses documents in its work. Often these are stored by specialist agencies.

Let’s take a look at the National Documentation Centre:

It was established in 1982 as a library for policy makers, technical personnel, researchers and the public sector generally. It is located on the second floor of the Financial Complex.

The Documentation Centre provides a database which the patron can use to conduct his or her own research.

The librarian and other staff facilitate a number of electronic services including:

• Use of the

Internet, for example, http://www.catalogue.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ gives access to some interesting documents concerning St. Vincent and the Grenadines

• Requesting electronic references from clients overseas

• Ordering materials

• Interlibrary loan requests

• Cds/isis for books, journals, articles, conference proceedings, theses and dissertations.

The Documentation Centre uses a document imaging system. This involves scanning, storing, retrieving, and managing paper records in an electronic format. Textual data can be converted electronically using optical character recognition (ocr) software. Information from original documents can thus be sent even to overseas clients.

The Centre offers a service to students whose studies require information on St.Vincent and the Grenadines. The Documentation Centre collection also includes videos and catalogues relating to universities and colleges in the U.S.A., Canada and Britain as well as the Caribbean. SAT, GMAT and GRE bulletins are available and the Centre is responsible for advertising Fulbright scholarships and other scholarships of that nature.

The National Trust, in its search for documentary evidence of the history and heritage of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, also uses The National Archives in Frenches.

The National Archives use microfilm technology to preserve older, more historical items such as newspapers and gazettes from as far back as the early 1800’s and for information which may be contained in fragile media or is otherwise not readily available. It provides access for the public using a microfiche reader on a daily basis.

Other sources of information include The Registry, The Public Library, The Law Society Library and you yourself. If you have letters telling of life in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in years past, or old bills and receipts reflecting the changing prices and types of commodities; if you have old photographs, certificates, school reports, maps, any historical documents, in fact, they could be of interest to the general public and you might want to contact the National Trust and allow us to make photocopies of them to store for posterity.

• Just phone 4512921 on any weekday afternoon or email: [email protected]

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