Colophons and Annotations: New Directions for the Finding Aid

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    Authors & editors

    Light, Michelle [Author]
    Hyry, Tom [Author]

    Publisher The American Archivist
    Year of publication 2002 Vol 65 (Fall/Winter) pp216-230

    Medium Digital
    Note: Copyright restrictions mean the attachment below only contains part of the publication. The full document is available for inspection at the Mills Archive Research and Education Centre.

    Arts, culture and heritage > Communication
    Arts, culture and heritage > Archives, libraries & museums


    Scope & contentA b s t r a c t

    The authors argue that finding aids present only singular perspectives of the collections they describe and fail to represent the impact of archivists’ work on records and subsequent reinterpretations of collections by archivists and researchers.

    The authors place these criticisms within the burgeoning postmodern discourse in archival studies and make two concrete suggestions for finding aids that would allow practicing archivists to acknowledge the inherent subjectivity of archival work and to incorporate multiple perspectives into the description of records.

    C o n c l u s i o n

    Colophons and annotations represent suggestions for shifts in archival methodology as a response to postmodern criticism. If employed, they would allow us to be more open about our techniques, to incorporate multiple perspectives about the content of collections, and to provide a structure for recording growth in meaning of collections.

    They would also force researchers to acknowledge the value we add to collections and spark more dialogue between the keepers and users of archives, which will in turn lead to greater understanding of the historical record. By revealing the nature of our decisions and opening them up to a broader community for further interpretation, we fulfil to a greater extent our responsibility and role in the transmittal of cultural and social memory.

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