SCEAU is the French acronym for “Preservation and conservation of ufological studies and archives”. Our association, of which all collaborators are voluntary, has the legal status of a non-profit organization. It aims at the long-term preservation of the ufological heritage, that is all books, magazines, letters, investigation reports, newspaper clippings and any other documents (written, audiovisual or electronic) related to UFO research. SCEAU was founded in 1990, in consideration of the sorry fact that, too often, when someone who was engaged in studying these phenomena deceases or ceases being interested, or when a UFO group is disbanded, the perhaps very important documents he/she/it possessed are dispersed, disappear or even are destroyed by heirs.
SCEAU therefore undertook to contact all the persons and groups known to us as interested in UFOs or related phenomena in France and proposed them an “archives transfer contract”. Under this contract, the donor transfers all or part of his/her archives to SCEAU at the time he/she chooses, either immediately or later or after his/her death, and defines the consultation conditions. Some people answer us that they have few interesting documents, but our experience of archives recovery shows us that even people who say this always have some important documents, including books we did not yet have.
After classification and detailed inventory of recovered documents, SCEAU puts them in the French Public Records network (National Archives in Paris and departmental – i.e. local – archives), where everyone has access to the documents, at conditions set by French Law on Archives (notably for protecting privacy) or at more restrictive conditions if so desired by the donor. As for books and magazines, that the Public Records are not legally bound to accept, they are deposited in public libraries. A great public library at Metz (in the East of France) was given by SCEAU a collection of more than one thousand books on UFOs and related topics, several hundred UFO books have been deposited in a university library (at Nice-Sophia Antipolis) and more than 200 in the Maison d’Ailleurs (science fiction museum) at Yverdon (Switzerland). All these “SCEAU libraries” are gradually augmented with other books newly acquired by SCEAU, and other ones will be created. For all deposits, a contact is signed with the archives centre or the library, ensuring the durability of the deposit and defining the consultation conditions.
SCEAU intends to be a mere intermediary between the donor and the archives centre or the library. Its code of ethics, inscribed in its statutes, prescribes it to strictly respect the donor’s will and to keep for itself no original document. Another rule adopted by SCEAU, which has no official position about what UFOs are (its members’ opinions are diverse), is to discard not any document, however futile it may seem. Indeed, for so ill-understood phenomena as UFOs, it appears impossible to foresee what future searchers, who we preserve these documents for, may consider important. Anyway, even if some ufological claims should appear ill-founded in the future, related documents will be useful to sociologists for studying beliefs of our time. Preserved documents may therefore be useful in any case, be it to physical scientists or to social scientists.
We also play an awareness-raising role in the ufological community concerning preservation of its heritage. Experience it has acquired allows SCEAU to act as an adviser to any searcher wondering about long-term preservation of his/her ufological works and documents. Our association publishes a yearly bulletin giving the complete inventory of archives preserved during the year. SCEAU has established links with the SHG (Sign Historical Group: www.project1947.com/shg) and the AFU (Archives for UFO Research Foundation: www.afu.info), that pursue similar aims in USA and Sweden, and maintains contacts with foreign searchers, notably in Belgium, Italy and Switzerland.
Last Updated on Friday, 08 May 2015 19:49