Friday, September 29, 2017

History of Archival Practice

A link from a link sent me to "Keepers of the Secrets" by James Somers, a appreciation of archives and archives recently published in the Village Voice of New York. It is astonishingly naive, constantly golly-gosh-who knew? that in archives there are actually original documents that do not exist anywhere else, and from which you can actually learn about past events, if you are prepared to open the boxes and work through them. It describes a young archivist at the New York Public Library as "the most interesting man in the world" simply because he works in an archives and does what archivists do all the time.

Yet it is also a rather touching and subtle argument for the importance of archives.  If you have made discoveries in archives, you may appreciate what it argues for. It even discusses some evolutions in archival theory, suggests why archives should perhaps not be digitized, and even has a shoutout to the Canadian archival theorist Terry Cook. I wonder if anyone in a position of responsibility at Library and Archives Canada would read it.
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