City archives in a state
of neglect

People may not need old archives in their everyday activities, but finding much needed documents in an emergency could be troublesome if one is not well organized.

The capital is experiencing rapid development, and the institution charged with archiving and recording the changes is the Jakarta Library and Archives Agency, also known as Arsip Jayakarta.

The archive’s pale green building on Jl. Cikini Raya 73 in Central
Jakarta is rarely visited. The fireproof archive room is badly arranged, with several boxes scattered across the floor and others placed on shelves.

Maman Achdiyat, the head of Arsip Jayakarta, told The Jakarta Post recently that many peoplethought archives were only pieces of paper with a stamp and signature on it.

“Actually everything related to official public affairs is an important archive,” he said. The regulation to archive public documents was laid out in a 2009 law, but “there are no bylaws or gubernatorial decrees on the city’s archives”.

Maman added that the agency managed archives from the administration’s units and agencies when they were ten years old.

Dudun, the agency’s service department officer, said that generally there were three groups of archives stored at the agency: building permit documents, financial reports and gubernatorial decrees and other legal instruments.

“There are 94,672 boxes of archived records based on a 2011 inventory check, most of them city administration archives,” he said.

The archives office, which has operated since 1977, conducted several maintenance measures to conserve the archives, including by fumigating once in a year and periodically laminating documents.

“The agency was first established during the tenure of governor Ali Sadikin, but the oldest archives
conserved are from the 1930s,” Dudun said.

“We don’t know exactly what they contain because they are written in Dutch.”

This year the Arsip Jayakarta will move to a new eight-story building in Pulo Mas, East Jakarta.

“The new building will be better equipped and there will be modern cabinets for the archived documents,” Maman said.

He said archives were very important, as in past experience careless document keeping resulted in Indonesia ceding two islands — Sipadan and Ligitan — to Malaysia. (rpt)

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