The Dharma Centre of Canada (DCC) has an Archive, holding documents that date back to its beginning in the 1970’s. In volume, there are about twenty book boxes of material.
What is an archive and what is in the DCC Archive? An archive in any organization, business corporation, agency, or non-profit, that consists of the critical or strategic records generated during the life of the organization. These records tell the story of what decisions were made and what occurred in any one year. Typically, this represents only 5% (or less) of all the records generated by an organization during any year of its life. Only the most important documents are retained indefinitely, or archived. All other records (the remaining 95% or so) are destroyed on a destruction schedule of 3 to 30 years, or more. For small organizations such as DCC we follow a simplified destruction regiment called “the seven year rule.” This means that most Dharma Centre records for are those that ordinarily be destroyed within seven years – unless they are placed in the Archive. Some organizations include historical artifacts and physical objects in its archive.
What types of records are in the DCC Archive? Let’s start with the most important. Records retained indefinitely include: Incorporation and Founding documents, issued by the Province and/or municipality; Board of Directors Minutes and Reports (submitted to the Board); Legal Files of all kinds; Land records and well-water testing results; Newsletters, detailing the programmes and themes of interest and teaching that occurred at the Centre (and in the earlier days in Toronto); Property and Development; Buildings and Structures; Teachers (including invited and visiting teachers) and Teaching Materials; Programme Materials &Photos; Dharma Teachings and Sacred Texts; Membership Lists & Policies; Management and Administrative Policies and Guidelines (employment, staff relations, administrative guidance, income tax filings, Provincial filings regarding Board member changes, Federal income tax filings, and other government required reports, and other administrative reports). In short, the reporting records of what happened at the Dharma Centre in any year.
What are the current plans for the DCC Archive? First, and most important, train administrative staff about records and archival management to ensure the administration of the Centre records is automatically done each year. Second, since it follows the seven-year rule, each year at the Centre records set for destruction are reviewed and burned. Third, continue creating a draft chronology of the history of the DCC. This involves seeking and receiving cooperation from current and former members of the Dharma Centre. Four, contact current and former teachers to verify their teaching dates at DCC and get photos and bio-information about each (this includes seeking secondary sources if the teacher has died); Five, establishing with Board recommendations an Advisory Committee consisting of two teachers and three members for advice about developing the Archive.
Currently, member Bill Rolph is the Archivist for the Dharma Centre of Canada.