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29 NOVEMBER 2020


Archive. General Information

                                                                                                                                                                                              Last update 19/01/2016

The Archive stores the documentary heritage of the Senate, produced or received within the performance of its parliamentary and administrative functions. To this end, the terms document and archive are understood to encompass all expressions of oral, written language, images or sound, natural or encoded, regardless of their date, form or medium, which reflect the functions and activities of the parliamentary institution.
It configures and preserves the memory of the institution and the State, since, although its rules and management are attributed exclusively to the Senate Bureau based on the principle of parliamentary autonomy reflected in section 72 of the Constitution, from a heritage point of view, it is part of the Spanish Archive System.




Its collections are structured into two major historical periods:
- Archive 1834-1923. This is a closed collection, whose documents are described exhaustively in the Morlesin database, digitalised and accessible via the Internet (17,159 files and 378,948 images)
Of particular note are the personal files of próceres and senators, which take up approximately one third of the volume, of significant historical value since they contain abundant information about their incomes and assets, noble titles, certificates of baptism, other public positions held, deaths, etc.; therefore, they are essential reading when researching the Spanish elite of the time.
The Archive also stores the collection of Journals of Sittings, the official publication of parliamentary debates. Their indices (authors and subject matters) are compiled in the IDSH database. Fully digitalised, they are also accessible over the Internet (53,027 records and 172,643 images).
- Archive since 1977. It contains, in an ordered and classified way, documents related with:
a) Parliamentary activity. It contains documentation pertaining to the functions of the Senate, the Senators, the bodies of the House, relations with other bodies, etc. Up to the IX Legislature it contains 264,914 files compiled in the Gelabert database. Currently, all the documents are in the process of being digitalised so they may be viewed through the webpage.
b) Proceedings from the Bureau, Plenary Sittings, Permanent Deputation, Committees and Board of the Spokesperson, and the Agendas for each of these bodies. This documentation is digitalised.
c) Parliament Administration. It contains documentation from the different units that report to the Senate General Secretariat in the performance of their administrative functions.
d) Photographic archive. It compiles photographic reports of the different activities of the House, as well as its Artistic Heritage. It contains approximately 52,000 negatives, which have been converted to a digital medium to be adequately conserved, viewed and digitally reproduced. Since 2006, this documentation has been transferred directly onto a digital medium (DVD).
e) Audiovisual archive. It encompasses audio and video recordings of parliamentary sessions, both plenary sittings and committees and official acts. To guarantee their conservation and facilitate access to recordings via the Internet, they are also available in digital media.


Document evaluation committee

To establish the criteria used to evaluate and select documents, and by the Agreement of the Senate Bureau at its meeting of 17th June 2008, the Rule regarding the evaluation and disposal of Senate Documents was approved, which created and regulated the Senate Document Evaluation Committee.



Services and access to documents

The Archive provides advice and support to internal and external users, in-house consultations, loans to units of the General Secretariat, reprography (paper and digital), issuance of certificates, guidance with regard to sources and loans for exhibitions.
In general, all citizens have the right to access documents that are part of completed procedures. This access can only be denied on reasoned grounds through the application of legally established limitations.
The collections contained in the Senate's Historical Archive, which are fully digitalised, can be accessed via the Internet.
On the grounds of conservation and preservation, access is not permitted to original historical documents without the express authorisation of the Senate Bureau, following a report from the Senate Document Evaluation Committee.