The steel industry is undergoing a phase of rapid development. This means that industrial documentation projects must always be considered as being under time pressure.
In November 2012, Jernkontoret issued an invitation to a seminar to foster ideas in this area: "is there a need for a handbook and inspiration for the documentation of modern process industry?" The seminar evoked an enthusiastic response; the proposal that emerged from the discussions was to prepare a book that would inspire action but also serve as a methodology to guide practice in detail.
Catalyst and guiding hand for documenting process industry
The Swedish handbook "Industridokumentation. Hur och varför?" was published in 2014. It arose thanks to collaboration between different organisations: Jernkontoret, the Swedish National Museum of Science and Technology, the County Museum of Gävleborg, the steel company Ovako AB, the Swedish Railway Museum, the Swedish National Heritage Board, the Museum of Work, the Centre for Business History in Stockholm and the Swedish Forest Industries Federation.
The editors Anna Lindgren of the Swedish Railway Museum and Peter Du Rietz of the National Museum of Science and Technology received support from a project committee within Jernkontoret's Historical Metallurgy Group which functioned as a steering group and, moreover, a special reference group.
A number of key questions were the starting point for work on the book:
- How can interest in documenting contemporary industrial history be disseminated more widely in society?
- How can enthusiasm be generated amongst people, not least young people and school students, for issues relating to industry and engineering?
- How can the management and employees of a company be involved in the work of site documentation and thereby bring into focus the view of that company's industrial culture as a resource for the future also?
The project committee has laid great weight on documenting contemporary industry for future generations. The work aims to bring into being a more dynamic interaction and collaboration between museums and the industries of our time.
English version was eagerly awaited
When the handbook was presented at different conference events there were many enquiries concerning an English language version of the book. For this reason, Jernkontoret during 2016, together with Sweden's Railway Museum, the County Museum of Gävleborg and the National Museum of Science and Technology arranged the English translation of this handbook. It is our hope that the work in translation, "Documenting industry. How and Why?" can offer inspiration and practical help to groups of people around the world in the task of documenting modern industry.