Monday 8 July

10:45 – 12:15

Seminar Room 2

Personal, Community and Institutional Records –The Archive of Sr Agnes Daly 1853-1937: Elizabeth Mullins

This paper focuses on current research on a collection of archives linked to Sr Agnes Daly, a member of the Presentation Congregation of nuns, who played a significant role in the establishment of a convent and school in Crosshaven, a small village on the south coast of Ireland. These papers were first identified in the context of an invitation given to the speaker to address the Presentation Congregation about religious archives in June 2018, on the occasion of the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the birth of Nano Nagle, the founder of the Congregation. Building on research carried out for this occasion and on previous work that explored the culture of information in Irish convents and industrial schools (Mullins 2017), this paper uses the records of Sr Agnes Daly, a previously unknown relative of the speaker, to explore two main theoretical issues that have been recently discussed in archival scholarship, but not yet with reference to the records of a religious life. The first of these relates to the binary nature of personal and institutional records and the place of the individual in the records of a community (Fisher 2009, Williams 2008, Douglas and Mills 2018). The records Agnes generated throughout her life confirm the blurred lines that exist between these distinctions and reflect the context of an individual whose personal record was that of the community and institution she belonged to. The second issue the paper explores is the extent to which the spiritual value accorded to records can be identified in both the record keeping frameworks which Agnes worked within and the kind of records she created. Ideas about the spiritual value of records have been occasionally noted in recent years, particularly in the context of work on indigenous records (McKemmish and Piggott 2013). They have been largely unexplored in relation to more traditional religious groups where research has focused on issues around access and restorative justice. The paper will present the results of the initial research on this issue. It will then move to examine briefly potential methods to explore the value of Agnes’ records with a group of contemporary nuns who spent their lives living in the now closed community at Crosshaven.

Hidden in the texts and contexts: family archives and their affective power: Chunmei Qu

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore how the affective power which is hidden in the texts and contexts of family archives evokes and reinforces individual emotion and collective affect from a cultural and societal perspective. While the affective aspect relating to archives remains controversial, this paper aims to probe the affective power from the archives themselves and their creators, collectors, custodians, users and others associated with the archives and their processing.
Design/methodology/approach:This paper adopted a case study approach to analyze affective power of family archives. Qiaopi, literally translated as overseas correspondences, are a combination of letters and remittance receipts between overseas Chinese and their hometown families prevailing in the middle of 19th century till the 1970s and 1980s. Qiaopi are records of overseas remittance transaction and family communication, which were generated, circulated and collected in the private sector. Taking Qiaopi as a case study, this paper analyzes their texts and contexts to find affective power and its operational mechanism in and between families, archives and society.
Findings: This paper finds that affective power is a significant power which family archives possess. Archivists, researchers and related communities are driven by this power to collect, preserve and exploit family archives, and their endeavor further promotes and reinforces this power in turn.
Originality/value: Findings suggest that affective power is a considerable power of archives, which may offer insight into paradigm of archival studies leading to cross-disciplinary, diversified, people-oriented trend in archival principles and practices.


Seminar Room 5

Records are practices, not artefacts: an exploration of records in the Australian Government in an age of Digital Transition and Continuity: Christopher Colwell

The language of records management with its inflexible and dominant view of managing records as artefacts – the passive and objective by-products of business activity – together with the recordkeeping frameworks and standards that stem from this viewpoint, tends to be the only lens through which the documentary reality of organizational life in the recordkeeping disciplines is examined. A more sophisticated and holistic view of organizational recordkeeping, one that sees humans and artefacts as equal participants in practices, is needed to produce better recordkeeping outcomes in organizational settings.

This study applied a practice theoretical approach to explore the definitions and perceptions of records that were held by staff in various professions employed across four different Australian Government agencies. The study also explored whether influences on these could be drawn from the organizational culture or professional backgrounds of participants. A comparative case study method, using semi-structured interviews and documentary analysis, was adopted. The approach to the study is significant since it is the first study to use a practice theoretical approach to explore the perceptions of records from those outside the recordkeeping disciplines.

Across all case study agencies it was clear that there is no one accepted definition of record and that records creators do not find the language of records management or its standards and legislation useful. Creators of records also consider significance as a component in records identification and capture. In all agencies records were active social practices, not simply passive and objective artefacts. Each agency through its social practices, created its own ‘shared practical understanding’ of records in their particular context. Site-specific socio-political, cultural-discursive and material-economic arrangements actively shaped records and the various affordances of them that were emphasised in organizational settings. This study provides significant insight for researchers and practitioners by using a practice theoretical approach to provide a more nuanced view of record keeping practices in organisations. It also offers a new conceptualisation of the record as a social practice. Viewing records as social practices, in which humans and objects play an equal role, presents a paradigmatic shift for a professional discipline that has long privileged the artefact over the human elements of practices.

Preservation of liquid communication: The Botswana government perspective: Tshepho Mosweu

Social media platforms have become platforms for liquid communication through which real business transactions take place whereby communication goes easily back and forth between participants involved. The increased amount of such communication calls for the resultant content to be preserved for legislative compliance and records management requirements. However many organisations, including governments around the world, do not have strategies for preserving liquid communication as this information can be easily shared many times beyond the control of the creating agency. Thus the purpose of this paper is to uncover ways of preserving liquid communication generated through the use of social media platforms utilizing the ARMA’s Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles, also known as ‘the principles’ as a lens. A qualitative approach is adopted for this paper. Purposive sampling was used to select twelve participants from Botswana government offices where this study was based. The findings of this study revealed that the communication that goes on between the government of Botswana and the citizens on social media platforms needed to be preserved as all other government communications. The paper recommends a framework to preserve liquid communication deemed as records to ensure that the information is available when needed to avoid legislative, compliance and records management challenges.

Exploring the translation challenges of community-generated content in INGO fieldwork: Meriem Tebourbi

The last few years have seen an increase in the use of the participatory video (PV) technique in International Nongovernmental Organisations (INGOs) fieldwork, as a way to empower communities and help them to make their voice heard through creative storytelling. INGOs that deploy PV often work across cultures and languages, and interacting with linguistically-diverse communities is highly common for INGO staff during deployment fieldwork. This leads to an increased demand for translation and interpreting services. However, translation and interpreting in INGO fieldwork can be a daunting task. More often than not, it is not adequately considered or budgeted for.
Pym (2008, 77) notes that NGOs “rarely have the funding necessary for symbolic translation practices; their use of translation is closer to what might precariously be termed ‘real needs’, they are far less likely to employ in-house staff translators or interpreters”. A review of the literature revealed that there has been a limited number of publications that explored translation and interpreting challenges in INGO participatory video field deployment, and how these challenges were addressed. In order to gain a better understanding of the language-related issues faced during fieldwork, and to inform the research questions of this study, a set of scoping interviews with Australian Red Cross staff were conducted as a preliminary data collection method.
An analysis of the preliminary interviews revealed that many field translation and interpreting tasks are done on an ad-hoc basis by bilingual volunteers or NGO staff. This study is a work in progress, and will aim to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Gaining an understanding of the nature of translation challenges of community-generated content that occur during INGO participatory video deployments
  • Addressing the challenges by designing and developing a technical approach that builds on existing translation technology to facilitate the communication process between NGO staff and the communities


Seminar Room 6

What’s the Role of Social Media in the Process of Educating? A Case Study on Interactive Teaching in Archival Studies: Yu Cao

Wechat is the most popular social media in China. Except its basic function like chat and friends circle, Wechat also provides public account to help organizations and individuals to share news and their achievements. So could Wechat public account be used for educating in modern times? The answer must be “Yes”.
Firstly, Wechat public account could promote the interaction between teaching and learning. Teachers could upload key points and students also could upload their study tips to Wechat public account that is helpful for teachers and students to know well of each other.
Secondly, Wechat public account could enhance the interaction between teachers and students. This kind of silent communication between teachers and students, breaking the boundaries of time and space, has realized the multiple forms of interactive mode; effectively promote the inner emotional communication between teachers and students.
Thirdly, Wechat public account could accelerate teachers’ educating quality. On this open and shared platform, teachers need to add new knowledge and innovate teaching methods except their basic duties. That is to say, the Wechat platform can motivate teachers to continuously improve teaching quality in all aspects.
Fourthly, Wechat public account could foster students’ professional attainments. Students who participate in the construction process of major Wechat public account will narrow the distance between themselves and their major, which could help students to increase professional training, strengthen professional consciousness and enhance professional identity.

A Community-Centered Model for Archival Education: A Proposal-in-Progress for an Embedded Fellowship Program for Archival Studies Students: Johnathan Thayer and Annie Tummino

The Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies (GSLIS) is the only publicly-funded MLS-granting institution in New York City, and its student body is among the most diverse of any LIS program in the United States. Queens College GSLIS is uniquely positioned to connect MLS students and archivists-in-training with various layers of communities that intersect with the department, Queens College, and the City University of New York (CUNY). The burden of responsibility that comes with this unique position begs important questions: Who are our communities? How can we facilitate and navigate connections between these communities and our students? How can we build a community-centered model for archival education that provides our students with impactful professional development and is mutually beneficial for our communities? And, if we are successful in building such a model, how can we sustain it?

This short paper will present on the development of a proposal for major grants that would build collaborative partnerships between Queens College GSLIS graduate archival studies students and the communities with which our students and faculty connect and belong. More specifically, the proposal envisions a model that would embed a cohort of Queens College GSLIS archival studies graduate students at repositories and sites of memory within 1) special collections and archives departments at academic libraries within the CUNY system; 2) research centers and institutions within the CUNY system, especially those with a mission of preserving memory and heritage of diasporic ethnic communities in New York; 3) cultural heritage organizations and communities within the borough of Queens.

To these ends, Queens College GSLIS has negotiated partnerships for a pilot embedded fellowship program with archivists at Brooklyn College Archives & Special Collections, the Center de Estudios Puertorriqueños (Centro: Center for Puerto Rican Studies) Library and Archives in Harlem, and the digital community archives Queens Memory Project. Queens College Libraries Special Collections and Archives (SCA) is currently hosting two GSLIS Archives Fellows, and would serve as the central partner in the program. These Fellows carry out substantial projects under the mentorship of the Head of Special Collections and Archives while participating in a variety of professional development activities. In scaling the program up to the larger CUNY and Queens community, GSLIS and SCA plan to draw directly on the National Digital Stewardship Residency model, and will seek funding for embedded fellows, a program coordinator, and professional development funds for the cohort of fellows.

This proposal-in-progress will solicit feedback and suggestions from AERI participants and encourage all to consider how such a model might be replicated or revised within their own respective departments, workplaces, and communities.

Potential topics for discussion include: applying community archives theory and methodologies to an embedded fellowship program; the role of such a program in supporting diversity, inclusion, recruitment, and retention in the archives profession; the role of such a program as a platform for advocacy regarding labor practices for archival studies students and recent graduates; methods for building a successful cohort through coordinated reflection and professional development; and strategies for sustainability.

Information issues and power relations: reflections on the training of archivists and records managers in Quebec: Natasha Zwarich, Dominique Maurel and Christine Dufour

In response to the information challenges of organisations, information governance provides a framework of accountability for the effective and efficient use of information to meet organisational objectives and transparency requirements. While information functions are often carried out by separate units that frequently act without dialogue between them, information governance aims at an interactive approach, taking into account notions of participation, power and negotiation. Power (or influence) and political skills are social – and therefore organisational – realities and are inherent to effective governance. Power can be exercised hierarchically, and thus be related to authority, or even horizontally between administrative units. If power games are observed in all organisations, not all actors have the same political weight and the same skills to play the political game to assert themselves as important, if not unavoidable, players. Politically, the planning and implementation of an information governance framework should enable information professionals, including archivists and records managers, to position themselves as key players in the organisation.
Based on a research project conducted in three phases (a statistical survey conducted in
2015, enriched by interviews conducted in 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 with information
professionals in Canada), this communication presents the main competencies necessary for archivists and records managers to ensure that they play a strategic role in their organisations. The results make it possible to better understand the perception of archivists and records managers in redefining their roles and responsibilities in relation to other players in information governance. In addition, their perception of the power sources of information governance actors influences their collaborative strategies with their main stakeholders within their organisation.
The results of the studies have also been compared with competency frameworks in the field of information sciences, including archival science. This is motivated by the revision of the archival training programs at the Université du Québec à Montréal and the Université de Montréal. While the current training focuses primarily on the development of disciplinary competencies, there is a need for reflection on the transversal competencies of archivists and records managers, as well as the integration of such skills into university-based training programs. Initial training programs must encourage archivists and records managers to undertake the strategic roles intrinsic to their functions.

Defining High and Mid-Level Competencies for Audiovisual Archiving Education and Professional Development: Karen Gracy

Archives that hold audiovisual materials are at a critical point, with many cultural heritage institutions needing to take immediate action to safeguard at-risk media formats before the content they contain is lost forever. Yet, many in the cultural heritage communities do not have sufficient education and training in how to handle the special needs that AV archive materials present. Concerned archive educators, practitioners, and students have formed a research partnership, the AV Competency Framework Working Group, to help foster “educational opportunities in audiovisual archiving for those engaged in the cultural heritage sector.” This Group’s primary goal is to develop a set of competencies for audiovisual archive training of students in graduate level education programs and professionals in continuing education settings.

As part of this larger research agenda relating to AV archiving competency development, Gracy recently analyzed two sets of data using content analysis methods: high-level competencies in allied fields to determine their relevance to the audiovisual archiving and assess how they may contribute to development of competencies for audiovisual archiving. To determine relevant high-level competencies, she examined thirteen competency sets and educational guidelines from associations including the Academy of Certified Archivists, the American Alliance of Museums, the American Institute of Conservation, the American Library Association, the Art Libraries Society of North America, the Association for Information Science & Technology, the Association for College and Research Libraries, the Institution of Conservation, and the Society of American Archivists. For moving image archiving-specific high-level competencies, she analyzed Ray Edmondson’s Audiovisual Archiving: Philosophy and Principles, and Helen Harrison’s Curriculum Development for the Training Personnel in Moving Image and Recorded Sound Archives, both of which are UNESCO publications. For middle-level competencies, she analyzed several data sets, including ten years of conference programs (including session abstracts) from the Association of Moving Image Archivists, the International Association of Sound and Audiovisual Archives, and the Society of American Archivists, as well as key texts used as course materials in audiovisual archiving courses.

Gracy will present initial results from these analyses and will also explore how her results will be combined with results generated from research of other Working Group members on competencies found in syllabi for audiovisual archiving courses and employment advertisements indicating qualifications for positions. She will conclude by outlining future work to build, test, and refine competencies using interviews, focus groups, and other protocols.


13:15 – 14:45

Seminar Room 1

Campus Archives in the Shadow of Campus Sexual Assault: Ana Roeschley

Campus sexual assault is a wide-spread problem in institutions of higher learning across the world. In the United States, the civil rights law, Title IX, demands that students are not denied the benefits of federally funded educational programs on the basis of their sex. Though prevention of sexual assault and sexual harassment fall into Title IX protections for students, the rates of sexual assault have not decreased on federally funded campuses in the United States since the implementation of the law in 1972. In fact, estimates indicate that as many as 29% of college women are sexually assaulted in the United States (Rennison and Addington, 2014). This has led to a number of Title IX lawsuits against colleges and universities where students have been raped and sexually assaulted.

This situation provides campus archivists with a quandary regarding what records they should collect regarding campus sexual assault. Additionally, campus archivists are faced with questions on how to best describe records that contain information on sexual assault. These decisions can be especially difficult in a campus environment where the administration, either tacitly or explicitly, downplays the problem of sexual assault on campus. However, as many campus archives’ mission statements unequivocally state, the college and university archive acts as a repository of campus history. If campus archives are to document campus history, what happens when that history is part of an enduring difficult reality?

Through a systematic investigation of US campus archival finding aids, collection policies, and mission statements, this ongoing study interrogates the role of campus archives and campus archivists. Many questions have arisen through this process: What responsibility do campus archivists have in collecting materials about aspects of campus life that the administration does not wish to highlight? Can campus archives center survivors of sexual assault while protecting survivors’ privacy? Should the descriptive language in online finding aids explicitly reveal when records include information on difficult topics like sexual assault? How can we apply archival theory to not only the appraisal of such records, but to their description as well? The purpose of this paper is to explore these questions in order to reach an understanding of how campus archives are responding to the problem of campus sexual assault in the United States

Challenges Faced by Archivists Working with Sensitive Records: Wendy Duff, Henria Aton and Meghan Shields

This paper reports on initial research about the challenges faced by archivists working with sensitive records and/or records documenting trauma. Studies of vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, and burnout have primarily focused on psychiatrists and psychologists, social workers, and other professionals who regularly work with individuals suffering from trauma. The result of such a focus results in the medicalization of symptoms associated with vicarious trauma and potential responses. Recent scholarship brings attention to a wider range of professionals affected by vicarious trauma, including historians and anthropologists (e.g., Maček 2014; Fuentes 2016). Conversations around vicarious trauma in the humanities continue to be largely informal (e.g., on Twitter, blogs, etc.) and led by women of colour. Following on these exchanges outside the medical field, we differentiate the trauma experienced by records creators and the subjects of records from the affective impact on archivists who work with these records.

To date, there have been conference sessions, surveys, and informal conversations about various trauma in the field of archival studies. Among others, the 2015 MARAC Roanoke and the 2016 ACA conferences held sessions dedicated to these issues. Notably, Katie Sloan and Jenny Vanderfluit at the University of British Columbia carried out a master’s research project in 2016, “Secondary Trauma and Archivists: a study into the need for services in the Canadian Archival Community”. While it is clear there is abundant interest, there continues to be a critical gap in our knowledge of the extent and nature of challenges faced by archivists today. In particular, research is needed to address who is most affected by sensitive records, and how the institutional response (or lack thereof) further excludes already marginalized groups in the archival field.

This paper shares the preliminary findings of a survey sent to archivists in North America. We explore the successes and challenges of the survey and present some initial data analysis. Following this, we discuss next steps for research on the affective impact on archivists who work with records documenting trauma, including institutional surveys, workshops, and the development of guidelines for archivists and their constituents.

Working with traumatic records: how should we train, prepare and support record-keepers?: Anna Sexton

There has been growing recognition within the recordkeeping field that exposure to records with traumatising content can impact on the wellbeing of those working directly with records of this kind (Laurent and Hart, 2018). In the UK, this recognition has led to initial attempts by professional bodies to offer specialised training to record-keepers to help deal with the affective impact, emotional labour, and vicarious trauma that can be associated with particular types of record-related work. This paper seeks to examine how recordkeeping educators can effectively train, prepare and support students entering the field who may go onto specialise in this area. The paper draws on initial ground work conducted by the author who is thinking through the potential for developing a specialised module on trauma informed recordkeeping to be offered through the Department of Information Studies at UCL to postgraduate students. The paper examines the pedagogy that might underpin such a module. It will examine various conceptual frameworks for trauma informed recordkeeping practice, including an ethics of care (of self and others), and examines how best to theoretically and conceptually ground the teaching to enable students to develop an appropriate mind-set. The paper will also explore the practical skillset that record-keepers need to develop in order to become adept practitioners around records with traumatising content, including the effective management of their own personal wellbeing. The paper also explores the suitability of various teaching methods to support student development of an appropriate skillset, and examines who should be involved in equipping and teaching our students. The paper also poses questions around the responsibilities we have as a field to develop broader training and peer networks to ensure that record-keepers working in this area remain equipped, supported and sustained in the long term.

Building a Trauma Informed Community of Practice: Michaela Hart and Nicola Laurent

At the 2017 Australian Society of Archivists conference held at the University of Melbourne, Michaela Hart and Nicola Laurent presented on Vicarious Trauma & Empathisation in Archival Practice. This was the first time the topic had been discussed in Australia in a professional forum and received strong support from attendees. This encouraging response has led to Michaela and Nicola writing and speaking widely on the subject since, discussing the need for a community of practice to support individuals, to build capacity and enact trauma informed practices.
This panel will discuss the growth of a community of practice around emotional labour and archival practice. It will cover practitioner and academic partnerships, taboo busting, practice change and how these contribute to a more holistic and trauma informed archival profession. While proposing that the community of practice is the first step to increase awareness and ensure individuals feel immediately supported by colleagues internationally. It will also discuss initiatives to embed these in education and organisations.
Building on concepts introduced into discourse by Adrienne Maree Brown’s social mycelium and Michelle Caswell and Marika Cifor’s Radical Empathy and Feminist ethics, this conversation seeks to break down siloed professional boundaries, and conceive of a different, more progressive and affective pathway.


Seminar Room 2

Governance and Heritage in Nairobi as seen through the lense of Unlocking Nairobi Heritage: Villy Magero and Diffence Machocho

The existence of Nairobi as a town dates way back to 1905. To make it a City a mace was presented in March 1950 symbolising its first “key to the city” from the British colonialists. The tradition was continued by the Mayor of Nairobi until the new constitution of Kenya 2010. Governors have carried on the tradition albeit incognito. UNH reminisces and celebrates the Nairobi Heritage. It also attempts to profile and document Nairobi Mayors, a people not to be forgotten.

Crowdsourcing in China: Case Study of “My Peking Memory”: Jian Chen

Community cultural records are an important carrier of culture and memory of a nation and a country, carrying the spiritual gene and soul of human civilization. With the advancement of urbanization and modernization, many community cultural records are at risk of disappearing completely. How to effectively collect, rescue and make them available has become a matter of urgency. Based on the analysis of the value, significance and difficulties of the utilization of community cultural records, this paper discusses the necessity and feasibility of using crowdsourcing to enhance the effectiveness of the construction and utilization of community digital cultural records. Using the interactive website of “My Peking Memory” from Renmin University of China as an example, I will analyse the implementation strategies of the crowdsourcing model for collecting, describing and displaying community digital cultural records. Finally, problems, shortcomings and improvement countermeasures are discussed.

Research on Narrative Methods of Social Memory Projects in China: Lulu Wang

This paper investigates the development of social memory projects in China. The survey draws an argument on the current narrative trends of those projects and the role of archives has played in the process of cooperation. It turns out that historicalism and no-event has deeply affected the narrative method which have been used in social memory projects, and space has gradually become the core dimension of archival narrative. As for the role of archives, it’s believed that it mainly serves as historical information bank, which requires archivists to interpret the archival information so that it can be used as textual criticism and raw material for memory constructing.

Project as an additional opportunity for cooperation with archival stakeholders: Aida Škoro Babić & Tatjana Hajtnik

Slovenian archives are holding a crutial role in the educational sphere of Archival science and Records management. In the framework of all activities given by the law Slovanian archives are perfoming a vast scope of educational programmes and trainings. In this paper the authors are giving the analyses of the educational programme regarding the new challengies in the field of digital era as well as the estimation of the results of cooperation with archival stakeholders.
One field of the research represents educational programmes for records creators and service providers. The other field of the research would represent the evaluation in the field of cooperation with academic sphere.


15:00 – 16:30

Seminar Room 2

Pay attention to the users of Archives and improve the service ability of Archives: Jing Yang and Xianchao Zhou

Archives in the information age must be repositioned and its function as a social information service institution should be given full play. The focus of the Archives can be shifted from the Archives themselves to the users of the Archives. This kind of reverse thinking may be the breakthrough for the prosperity of archives in the new era. The archives in the new era should not be cold, but should develop towards the direction of love and temperature. It is possible and inevitable to pay attention to the users of archives from the perspective of enhancing their emotional needs such as sense of participation, existence, sense of belonging and sense of accomplishment, so as to ultimately promote the improvement of archives’ overall service.

Users of archives can be divided into existing users and potential users. Obviously, at present, the number of existing users of archives is very limited, such as the tip of the iceberg, and most of them focus on transactional access to solve practical problems, so that the profound values contained in archives, such as cultural values, are not fully developed and excavated. The potential users of archives are the future users of archives, so the diversification of categories and the scale of user groups have great potential for development and breakthrough. The multi-value of archives will be stimulated by the diversification of users’ demands. The satisfaction degree of the practical users’ information needs of the archives will directly influence the generation of their diversified needs and also promote the transformation of potential users of the archives to the real users. On the one hand, the increase in the number of users of the archives is a challenge for the archives which are used to being left out in the cold; on the other hand, it will play a reverse role in boosting the service level of the archives.

Motivation on the members’ participation in online community archives project: Zhiying Lian

Participation is one of the significant principles for community archives. A lot of online community archives have been established to gather and preserve community archives and memory. These online community archives are dependent on the community members’ participation. But is it certain that community members will participate in online community archives project? That people participate in any social activity is driven by some motivations. The community members will not be exceptional.

The aim of the study is to explore the motivation of community members’ participation in online community archives project, and the research questions are as follows:
(1) What motivations drive community members to participate in online community archives project?
(2) Do the participants’ motivations change over time? If yes, then what factors influence members’ motivation during their participation in the project?

We founded a website named “Shangda Story (i.e. the story on Shanghai University) to provide a platform for the faculty, staff and students at Shanghai University to upload their records including text and picture on their lives at Shanghai University, and they can also tag and comment other people’s records. We chose a class that has 35 undergraduate students to conduct experimental survey, and observed their participation during one semester, and then conducted questionnaire and semi-structured interview at the end of the semester.

By analyzing the data, we found that extrinsic motivation such as reward or punishment is effective to motivate members to participate in the project and the participants can produce high-quality products; members’ motivations have changed over time, it is system affordance, sense of community, conformity behavior, and participatory and volunteer culture that influence members’ motivation during they participate in online community archives project.

Volunteering at the Staffordshire Record Office: Helen Houghton-Foster

The Historic Flooding and Drought in Staffordshire project ran between May 2017 and September 2018. With a group of volunteers at the Staffordshire Record Office (SRO), two researchers from the University of Liverpool investigated records that might reveal histories of flooding, drought and water management. Collaborative projects with HEIs, such as Flooding and Drought, are becoming more common for the SRO and can attract new volunteers through access to their own channels for advertising (such as mailing lists and social media). There is an existing literature on volunteers in archives (Ray, 2009; Lindsay, 2011; Williams, 2018), much of which focuses on the benefits for the archive or best practice. Recently, The National Archives and History UK have revised the 2015 advice on collaboration between HEIs and archives (The National Archives and History UK, 2018). As a volunteer project run in collaboration between an HEI and an archive, Flooding and Drought provides an opportunity to examine an increasingly common style of archive volunteer project in light of recent work on volunteering and collaboration. Using data from surveying volunteers at the Staffordshire Record Office, this paper will discuss the appeal for volunteers of these collaborative, thematic projects. By examining the outputs of the Flooding and Drought project, I will also discuss the benefits of this style of project for both a researcher and for an archive service (such as profile-raising or attracting new volunteers to the archive). While the interests of the archivist and the researcher may be different, the skills and knowledge that the volunteers can bring to the project that are useful for both. By exploring the advantages of collaborative projects for both researchers and archives, I will demonstrate how projects can be designed that benefit the researcher, the archive, and the volunteers.

Teacher-students Cooperation and Deep Participation: Innovation in the Cultivation of Archival Research Ability: Xiaoyu Huang and Qingying Guan

This short paper shows an innovative pedagogical method. Based on achievements of archival news teaching innovation in the past ten years, we explored an innovative method to improve research ability of students majoring in archival science — ‘teacher-students cooperation and deep participation’. The novelty of the innovation is that it establishes a research platform where the teacher and students can cooperate with each other. Furthermore, it instructs students to deeply participate in archival research. The innovation is composed of three parts. The first part is establishing an archival news studio as a research material collection center, and forming a long-term mechanism for the teacher and students cooperating in archival frontier research. The second part is publishing the teacher and students’ research results on archival journals regularly with the help of the cooperation between the archival news studio and columns of professional journals. The research results will eventually form an archival research brand and characteristics. The third part is establishing social media platform as a release and promotion center of research results, and forming a continuous mode for students to deeply participate in archival frontier research. The main reasons for the innovation are the deficiency of the traditional training mode and students’ requirements to train their research thinking and ability. The innovation has three advantages. Firstly, it can stimulate students’ research interest, enhance their research ability, and benefit to the cultivation of high-quality talents. Secondly, it can strengthen the frontier features of archival research, and be conducive to the formation of research characteristics and brand. Thirdly, it can expand the social influence of archival research results and promote the sociality of archival science.


Seminar Room 4

Documenting Craft: A Discussion of Recordness in Book Art: Robert Riter

Works of book art can operate as documentary objects; the making of book art can serve as a memory practice. Book artists, printers, bookbinders, and papermakers often make the creation of objects as their subject, and in doing so, present a record of material, process, action, and craft. This paper offers a discussion of what can be described as documentary book art, demonstrating how book art, when deployed as a record making process, results in objects that serve as records of their generative contexts.

This category is introduced through a discussion of three works: Katherine McCanless Ruffin’s broadside Portrait of a Universal One; Kerri Harding’s The Right Tool for the Job; and Dianne L. Reeves From Fiber to Paper. Ruffin’s broadside is a printed portrait of a Vandercook Universal I press. Harding’s book communicates prints bookbinding tools delivered in the structure of a handbound book and offers a discussion of their construction and use. Reeves’ text is an examination of handmade paper, documenting harvesting, preparation, and cooking procedures, complemented by an index of fibers, with associated paper samples. Together, these works represent three distinct records of book art, and illustrate how particular expressions artists’ books/book works function as remembering mechanisms. Ruffin’s work presents a record of the infrastructure of making; Harding’s book presents a record of the tools of making; Reeve’s book offers a records of the materials (in this specific instance the fibers that form handmade paper) of making.

In these works process is recorded and can be read, and in an archival sense, documented. This paper offers a discussion of the documentary function of book art, through the investigation of these specific works and the broader category that they represent. Methodologically, this paper comments on the applicability of archival studies approaches to the examination of book art. Though bibliographic in their origins, these works are materially unique, and express recordness in their capture and communication of the contexts of their construction.

Skulptur Projekte Archives – New Approaches to the Art Archives: Katharina Neuburger

Skulptur Projekte Münster, which was initiated by Klaus Bußmann and Kasper König in 1977 and has taken place every ten years since, has a unique exhibition concept: in terms of its continuity and slow rhythm Skulptur Projekte allows one to grasp the developments and shifts in Public Art and the ways in which they have been re-evaluated. Since spring 2017, the Volkswagen Foundation funds the research project “The Skulptur Projekte Archives in Münster: A Research Institution for Scholars and the Public.” The research project is based on a three-year collaboration between the LWL-Museum of Art and Culture and the Art History department at the University of Münster. The holdings of the Skulptur Projekte Archives are part of the collection of the LWL-Museum of Art and Culture in Münster, Germany and, together with the collection’s focus on sculpture, have shaped the profile and identity of the museum’s Contemporary Art department.
At the heart of the archives are several thousand pages of designs in progress, including sketches and drawings, numerous models of realized and unrealized artworks, and correspondence between artists and the curatorial teams, also bearing a significant collection of ephemeral art and autographs. These are joined by catalogues and guides, comprehensive press clippings and documentation, photographs, and videos, as well as legal and administrative files, including contracts and authorizations.
The Skulptur Projekte Archives are both the subject and the medium of scholarly research. On one level, they permit a meta-reflection on the history of art in public space since the 1970s and on questions pertaining to this history. On another level, the holdings are a point of departure for new artistic projects in 2017. The archival holdings are the nucleus of scholarly and artistic research – in turn, the results flow back into the Archives. The paper introduces the Skulptur Projekte Archives’ structure and places at the audience’s disposal questions concerning ephemeral art and the archives, strategies to communicate contemporary artistic practice as well as the practicability of contemporary Archival Studies for the art archives.

Towards a Material Understanding of the Archive: Peter Lester

The archive is a site of meaning; for archivists and users today, this meaning is typically understood as intellectual, rooted in the informational content of the record. Yet the archive is also a physical object, and meaning in the archive is, in fact, focused on both informational and physical characteristics. In turn, the archive can stimulate both cognitive and bodily responses; responses that are sensory, emotional and visceral as well as intellectual.
In this paper, Lester will use anthropological, historiographical and phenomenological lenses to consider how the materiality of the archive has been rendered invisible and thus seemingly neutral. By drawing on the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, notably the concept of embodiment and of ‘being-in-the-world’, he will consider how understanding of the archive can only happen through an engagement with the material. In turn, the archive is acknowledged as performative and active, and thus implicated in the making of the wider world.
This paper draws on research for Lester’s PhD study into the exhibition of archives and will use examples of display techniques in which both the material and informational are harnessed in the making of meaning.


Seminar Room 5

Witnessing Disability in History: The Effects and Affects of Archival Mis/representation: Gracen Brilmyer

For disabled people, how we see ourselves in history matters. Disabled minds and bodies have historically entered into archival records through the criminalization of disabled—and other marginalized—identities, resulting in the creation of legal, medical, and institutional records making up the majority of records documenting disability. And this, in turn effects the ways in which disability is understood; as disability is often simplified to a medical deficit, a ‘problem’ to be fixed, records such as these have the potential to reinforce stereotypes, perpetuate harmful rhetorics, and limit the perception of disability as purely a medical ‘problem’ of the body or mind. However, these records also tell an intersectional history of the oppression of disabled people: policed for being ‘unsightly’ in public, forcibly institutionalized, put on display as public spectacles, as well as advocating for our rights through protest, activism, and resistance. Considering the abundance of such types of archival records that tell one side of disability history as well as the ways in which disabled people are difficult to locate in histories outside of medical, asylum, and criminal records, this paper examines the impact that records (and the lack thereof) have on the disabled community. Recent literature in archival studies has revealed the ways in which many marginalized identities are affectively impacted by under- or mis-representation in mainstream archives. Located alongside this work and filling a gap in archival literature on marginalized identities—which has focused mainly on race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender—this paper critically examines the impact of archival mis/representation and erasure, specifically within the disabled community in North America. Through interviews with disabled scholars, artists, activists and community members, it addresses the ways in which disabled people use archives, witness themselves in history, and understand their collective identity. This empirical data considers not only how archival mis/representation impacts the ways in which non-disabled people may perceive disability, but also how we understand ourselves—as individuals, as a collective, and as part of a political history. By centering disabled people’s perspectives on seeing themselves represented, misrepresented or erased in history through archival records, this research elevates the voices of a historically silenced population, thinks through archival representation of intersectional identities and demonstrates the complexity of our relationships to archives.

“Strangers from a Different Shore”: Examining Archival Representations and Descriptions of the Chinese in America / “彼岸来的陌生人”:初探在美华人的档案记录和描述: Jeannie Chen

This exploratory research examines archival representations of Chinese in America in collections dating from before and during the Chinese Exclusion Era (1860 – 1943), both in mainstream institutional archives/special collections repositories and in smaller community-based archives. Using critical race theory as methodological framework and an interpretivist case study approach, this research shows a continued lack for transparency surrounding archival description and archival representations within such collections and an uneven distribution of resources across institutions that collect and preserve materials on early Chinese in America. The report identifies the difficulties of balancing evolving terminologies and changing archival descriptive standards/technology and the need for collaboration among bibliographers, catalogers, archivists, historians and activists in creating archival descriptions in collections about the Chinese in America.

Due to the paucity of current archival studies scholarship on early Chinese in America, this work intends to highlight the presences (or lack of presence) of Chinese in America in various archives and to enhance awareness of their historical influences and contributions within archival records. Such an understudied subject poses an especially significant area of research for future professional and scholarly work in the library and information sciences field.

Stonewalled: Privacy, Homoerotica, and Archival Access, a Case Study: Alex Poole 

Archivists daily grapple with ethical issues related to information, especially the tension between information access (i.e. the public’s right to know) and information privacy. Negotiating this tension has grown ever more complex over the past half century given the diversification of researchers and research topics alike. Research on this topic, however, remains sparse.

Tension between a person’s right to privacy and the public’s right to know harkens to the foundation of modern historical scholarship (Hoff-Wilson, 1983). The violation of privacy inheres in archival work: documents used by researchers (secondary use) were created for another purpose (primary use) (Danielson, 2010). Hence archivists and donors have long struggled to allocate responsibility for and to devise suitable guidelines regarding access restrictions.

This paper centers on the following research question: how do archivists negotiate ethical challenges concerning information access and personal privacy, especially when sensitive materials such as homoerotica are involved? It addresses this question by scrutinizing a 1992 case involving an august private institution with public mission, the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (SPNEA).

Founded by elite Boston WASPs in early 20th century, SPNEA held materials of many eminent families, including the Codmans, one of whom, the late Thomas Codman, collected homoerotica. A graduate student requested access to Codman’s collection; this request subsequently ignited a debate about the ethics of access that included stakeholders such as the Society of American Archivists Lesbian and Gay Archivists Roundtable (LAGAR), SPNEA’s Collections Committee, SPNEA’s and similar institutions’ professional archivists, and scholars. After a lengthy debate, SPNEA peremptorily closed the collection to researchers, citing privacy concerns (potential embarrassment to the Codman family).

The case pivots around three issues. First, it speaks to the ways in which codes of ethics help—or fail to help—guide information professionals’ decision-making. Second, it illuminates the extent of archivists’ and archives’ agency, autonomy, and power. Third, it shows that information potentially liberatory to one community (e.g., LGBTQ) may seem downright dangerous to another (e.g., Boston brahmins). Ultimately, it indicates that private information in archives open to the public remains an intractable and inescapable problem lacking clear, much less generalizable, answers.

‘Rise and Repeal’: social protest, feminist heritage and archival remediation: Hannah Smyth

In 1918, getting the vote changed history. In 2018, using your vote will change it again (Vote For Women, 2018). On 25th May 2018, during the centenary year of partial female suffrage in Britain and Ireland, a referendum proposing to remove a constitutional ban on the termination of pregnancy in Ireland passed by a landslide vote. Marking a watershed moment in modern Irish history and gender relations, the 5-year campaign to repeal the eighth amendment had inspired a panoply of activism, cultural production, and national self-reflection. The campaign also converged with a state-led ‘Decade of Centenaries’ that generated unprecedented public history participation, awareness of archives, and debate around the ‘role of women’ in the Irish Revolution. The tensions between historical and contemporary gender equality issues became manifest in the discourse and ephemera of a growing ‘Repeal’ campaign as evidenced by the appearance of historical feminist cultural references online and in street protests, particularly of Irish female revolutionaries and historical suffragism. Emblazoned on banners and placards, embodied in performative costume, staged in historical re-enactments – archives were reinterpreted and remixed with contemporary feminist activist discourse.
Drawing from my PhD research on digital archives and commemoration, this paper discusses how archives became one of the many symbolic tools of cultural change in the Repeal campaign. It delves into this politically charged, ‘radical public history’ (Flinn, 2011) expressed in street protests and online at various moments in the campaign between 2016 and 2018. It examines how these affective ‘uses of the past’ (Thelen, 1998) collapse different temporal narratives of female activism in pursuit of political change in the context of an increasing historical awareness and ‘participatory historical culture’ (Thelen, 1998) precipitated by an ongoing ‘Decade of Centenaries.’ Images gathered from online sources from both sides of the campaign form the basis of an interpretive analysis. The paper draws on recent theories of affect, social justice and critical feminism in the archives (Cifor, 2016; Findlay, 2016; Cifor and Wood, 2017). It draws also on Liao’s (2010) framework for evaluating the symbolic power of visual symbolism in relation to collective memory and social protest, demonstrating the diffuse effects and affects of historical archives when mobilized in a particular cultural and commemorative context.


Tuesday 9 July

10:30 – 12:00

Seminar Room 2

‘A record is whatever I say it is’: why study concepts of record?: Geoffrey Yeo

This short presentation will examine suggestions that scholarly investigation of the concept or concepts of ‘records’ may be increasingly futile, or may have little to offer in a reinvigorated 21st-century archival science. We can’t hope to construct a definition of a record that will be universally acceptable – a definition that will close down the meaning of the term for all time – but conceptual exploration can nevertheless allow important insights into what we think we are talking about when we use the word ‘record’ in our discourse.

The importance of an interdisciplinary concept of a record: Marianne Paasch

For centuries, archival institutions have retained records on paper to serve as both society’s memory and a source of evidence of past events. Today, however, records are primarily created digitally. This has meant that archival institutions all over the world have had to develop new theories and methods for the collection and preservation of records from both the public and private sectors. The object of preservation – the record – has fundamentally changed from being a physical object to being not only intangible but also invisible to the naked eye and only legible through the medium of a computer.

Using Denmark as a case, I will show how important it is for the archivist, working with digital born records, to define what a records is today – both to archivists themselves but also when communicating with the records creator. The reality in Denmark is that the lines of custody and responsibility for the records blur and demand a continual effort throughout the records’ lifespan, and even sometimes before they are created, if we wish for them to be preserved. In Denmark, however, positions records managers do not exist or have been cut, especially in the public sector, as part of the goal of digitizing and streamlining public administration. Consequently, it is mainly the individual public employee who is the records manager in the Danish public sector today.

Exploring digital preservation and information management practices in three Danish municipalities, my paper asks how Denmark preserves digital born records today and how the lack of a common and shared understanding of what a records is affects the work of the public archives in Denmark. The empirical data was collected via nine interviews with key persons (partly) responsible for or working with information management in three municipalities.

The interviews suggest that the information management practices and strategies of the municipal administrations are very diverse and of varying quality and that the municipalities where information man-agement is not a priority face challenges to their ability to document and retrieve documentation of their work, resulting in lower efficiency, the possibility of errors and mistakes, and sometimes even law violations. These mistakes and shortcomings will last well into the future, affecting the quality of the historical archival collections – which is mainly established by the records creator – especially in terms of digital born records.

Appraisal – a reintroduction from an international standpoint: Sharon Smith

With the release of a new version of the international ISO standard for records management, 15489-1:2016 (Information and documentation — Records management — Part 1: Concepts and principles), came the reintroduction of appraisal.

Appraisal was deliberately left out of the original 2001 standard. The concepts were all there; determining what records to create, determining how long to retain them – but the process was not named. This is because using the term “appraisal” was controversial, due to its meaning in different jurisdictions (some understanding this as a strictly archival process, others as a more broadly defined concept). Even within the ISO working group and in national ISO committees, there was significant disagreement.

But, appraisal was reintroduced as a foundational records process. Appraisal, in this context, is not solely regarded as meeting needs to do with long term or permanent value records, but rather as an essential element of systems design, of business process change, and of disposition.

Appraisal, as described in 15489-1:2016, is an essential activity in the management of records. It is a recurrent process of analysing business activity in order to identify records requirements. It is core business for recordkeepers.

ISO 15489-1:2016 was written to be a stand-alone document, but supported by a range of existing and pending standards and other guidance. Because of the importance of appraisal in determining what must be created, captured, and managed, a separate document was developed specifically on appraisal. This document was released in April 2019 as a Technical Specification (ISO/TR 21946:2018 Information and documentation — Appraisal for managing records).

Presented by a member of the editorial groups for 15489-1:2016 and 21946:2018, this session will provide an overview of the creation of this technical specification, and a walk-through of the content. The purpose of this session is to expand the conversation about the perimeters of appraisal, and how best to align records management and archival functions. The outcome of the session will be a report summarizing any discussion and conclusions made by the attendees.

The Rear-View Mirror: Old metaphors for new technology and the ‘verbing’ of the archive: Ted Lee and Rebecca Davnall

We understand new technologies by reference to their predecessors; as Marshall McLuhan has it, ‘We march backwards into the future’ (1967, p.74-5). The futurist Venkatesh Rao (2012) extends this insight by tracing the ways in which our discourse of technological progress is steeped in old metaphors – the ‘document’ produced by a PC word processor is technologically distant from a sheet of printed paper fresh from Gutenberg’s press, but for almost all uses, the term ‘document’ serves perfectly well. New metaphors are rare – ‘programming’, drawn from computing and used as a way of describing human behaviour patterns and their manipulation, is one of the few contemporary examples. More often, new technologies appropriate older metaphors and change the way we view them entirely, such as the recent transformation of ‘archive’ from a noun into a verb. While archivists sometimes protest this appropriation, many users readily embraced the metaphor of ‘archiving’. This paper examines why this grammatical shift took hold, and how understanding the function of technological metaphor-stretching is fundamental to projecting possible futures for ‘archive’ as both noun and verb.


Seminar Room 4

China’s Rural Archives in the Past Forty Years: Tianjiao Qi

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report the results of a qualitative study exploring the history of China’s rural archives in the last forty years and the driving forces for its development at different stages. It also shows the present conditions of rural archives associated with the resource construction, management workflow and utilization optimization and analysis the problems lying behand these achievements. Additionally, it proposes a network framework to solve the existing problems and make a better landscape of rural archives.
Design/methodology/approach – A research using mix-methods approach, consisting of literature review, site visits, document analysis and field investigation was conducted from 2016 to 2018.
Findings –Affected by the focus of reform and opening up in rural areas at that time, rural archives experienced six historical stages. With the expansion of scope, enrichment of connotation and diversification of value, rural archives become more comprehensive throughout the forty years. Meanwhile, the workflow abided by the lifecycle of records has been formed, through the completeness of the workflow varies from region to region. There is a socialization trend in the utilization of rural archives. But there are serious problems of regional imbalance and rigid management of rural archives. A more flexible networked framework of rural archives is needed in the future.
Practical Implications –This paper provides a repeatable example for archivists or researchers to study on rural archives in different counties. It arouses the attention of archival communities to the non-mainstream archives besides the government or institutions archives. It also attempts to present the landscape of rural archives in China in the past forty years, whose experience can be used to promote the solution of issues concerning the archiving and preservation of rural memory.
Originality/value – This research use a multi-methods approach to develop a comprehensive understanding of the history, status and the future of China’s rural archives. It defines the rural archives not from the traditional perspective of “villages” but the perspective of “rural” . It critics the management system from the public’s point of view, not the local governments’. It shows a landscape of China’s rural archives in the past forty years, not one single case.

Research on the Mode and Route of Chinese Rural Archival Resources Construction under the Rural Revitalization background: Xinxin Xu

The Rural Vitalization Strategy was first put forward by Chinese president Xi Jinping in 2017 and in 2018,China released a package of policies under the “No 1 central document” of the year, charting the roadmap for this Rural Vitalization Strategy. In this context, Chinese rural area,which still accounts for the majority of the overall land area,will undergo profound changes. Actually,this strategy will be a critical driving force of the modernization of Chinese rural society. Under this strategic background,the rural archives management was endowed with new meaning. Effective rural archives management will not only create an authoritative and authentic record for this historic progress,but also promote this progress by providing archival information resources support for the resolution of rural problems in fields of economy,culture,people’livelihood, etc. This paper brings a description of Chinese rural archives management innovation practice’s current progress, including the strategic deployment of provincial archival administration bureau, the overall implementation status of these strategies,representative villages’ archival management innovation practice.Based on this,this paper also provides a tendency analysis. Firstly, the content of Chinese rural archives management will be more comprehensive, covering every aspect of rural society such as rural politics, rural economy, rural people’s livelihood, rural ecology, and rural culture. Secondly, the management body will be more diversified, with archivists, villagers’ committee, local elites, township enterprises and researchers from universities and colleges all participating in the management of rural archives management, the preservation of local memory and the shaping of new rural culture. Thirdly, as the varied types of villages will adopt different vitalization modes, the archives management of these villages will also develop plural patterns. Finally, the standerdization of rural archives management and the integration of rural archival information resources will be promoted.

An agricultural archivist without any archives: Appraisal of archival sources: Michael Reilly

Irish agriculture depends upon the service of over four million hectares of the nation’s soil. This domain comprises 139, 600 farms and employs 8.4% of the island’s population. However, there is no national record to represent this portion of society; that accords significantly to the underpinning of the country’s social, cultural and economic structures. A professional eagerness to examine this lacuna in the Irish national record and to see where agricultural memory and archives might reside runs alongside the researcher’s private desire, stemming from an agricultural background, to tether a personal history within a larger national narrative. The National Soil Survey (1959-1979) became the focus on which to assess where memories and archives relating to the multifaceted nature of Irish agriculture may dwell. The National Soil Survey (NSS) was the first large-scale research project in modern Irish agriculture. Based in An Foras Talúntais, (forerunner organisation of Teagasc), the Irish agricultural science research authority mapped 44% of the country. The exceptionally detailed map collection -the only remaining witness of the NSS – shed light on the extent to which so much -academic rigour, technical skills, administrative layouts, personal experiences – had been forgotten. Foregrounding this issue is the fact that records reflecting these perspectives no longer survive or ever existed.
In order to investigate the documentary heritage of the NSS the researcher looked to what Hans Booms referred to as “the opinions, judgements, and with that the specific interests of contemporary society as it developed” as essential criteria for an economical selection of sources. This approach – of analysing the public opinion of the time as expressed in public form – acts as a “point of departure” for tackling the problem of the archival value of sources. Following this perspective in order to learn more about how the NSS was and is remembered inside and outside of Teagasc, it was decided to examine the memory of the project in the national and local newspapers over the period 1940-2000. Mass communication through a medium with a broad national and local platform, such as the print media, can play an integral part in “shaping current collective recollections.” While the study in no way purports to reflect a definitive ‘public memory’ of the NSS, it did provide a comprehensive newspaper record underlining: international standing; cross-political support; and collaborations with major social partners, thereby firmly situating it within the context of the time. The analysis of the newspaper articles by delineating their authors, sources and formats along with the main themes, functioned as a basis to inform further research into what other types of records might have been created and by whom. It was this element that added fresh impetus for the creation of an oral history. By highlighting notable people involved in the Survey this paper points the way toward gaining a greater understanding of how a public or collective memory might be brought back to the personal, thus seeing the concept in terms of archival practice’s “first responsibility” of appraisal.

Practical Pursuit and Realistic Dilemma of Chinese Traditional Village Culture Archiving Work: Yue Ren

Traditional villages are an indispensable source of culture in the development of Chinese traditional culture. Facing the gradual disappearance of traditional villages and their culture, the establishment of traditional village culture archives has become an inevitable choice to protect traditional village culture. This paper mainly combs the realistic appeals from the traditional village cultural archiving work, and combines the problems existing in the traditional village culture protection work of traditional Chinese village protection organizations, and points out the development strategies of archives communication, information association and cultural utilization in the archiving work of traditional village culture in China in the future.

This paper first analyzes the origin and development of Chinese traditional village cultural archiving work. This paper mainly analyzes the traditional village protection and traditional village cultural archiving work in China in the past ten years through the methods of investigation and research, and explains the motivation and necessity of the traditional village culture archiving.

Secondly, this paper focuses on the problems existing in the archiving work of traditional Chinese village culture, mainly from the aspects of information collection dilemma, information collection and processing standards, documentation standards and implementation of the archiving work.


13:00 – 14:30

Seminar Room 2

Recordkeeping and institutional ethnography: a natural alignment: Seren Wendelken

This paper advocates institutional ethnography as an innovative and appropriate method of inquiry for recordkeeping research. In doing so, it considers institutional ethnography’s place alongside participatory and (auto)ethnographic research paradigms which seek to surface or give voice to those who may not otherwise be heard. Alignment with recordkeeping’s “democratic and social justice goals” (Dalmer, Stooke & McKenzie, 2017, p. 55) is explored in relation to the theoretical constructs and praxis models of institutional ethnography. The everyday/everynight focus of the approach and its potential to reveal the liminal through enhanced understanding of the nature of the record is examined. The paper discusses these notions as a methodological means for uncovering the process and value of records creation within the context of a current research project. This research looks to understand the records creation practices within professional information cultures tasked with supporting the special rights of children in New Zealand primary schools.

Irish archives legislation and practice: an ethical assessment: Mark Farrell

This presentation is based on research being conducted at the Institute of Ethics, Dublin City University. It will draw on classical and contemporary theories of the social contract, justice and human rights to explore the role of archives and records in upholding individual rights and achieving a balanced and accountable relationship between citizen and government. It will briefly consider whether access to information is properly considered a human right.

Sixty-two years after independence, the National Archives Act of 1986 was the first piece of archives and records-related legislation introduced by the independent Irish State. Implementation of that legislation has met with many difficulties. Successive reports of the Director of the National Archives have pointed to lack of staff, lack of suitable storage, lack of a digital records strategy and a failure by Government Departments to meet their obligations with regard to the transfer of records to the National Archives. Many public sector agencies remain totally outside the remit of the legislation.

The recent introduction of the National Archives (Amendment) Act of 2018 allows for a limited transition from a 30-year rule to a 20-year rule, but it has introduced a role for Government Ministers in designating records as suitable for transfer, thus allowing for potential politicisation of the process. Meanwhile, there are no consistent records management policies or guidelines available for public sector bodies in Ireland. While individual departments and agencies have taken limited steps in this regard, there is a lack of consistency and awareness, with a high risk of non-compliance with legal requirements and of breaches of personal rights and accountability standards.

Throughout all of this, many public tribunals and commissions of investigation have highlighted shortcomings in record-keeping practices in public sector organisations in Ireland, and independent research has shed light on a range of scandals that have had a fundamental bearing on the relationship between citizens and government. Examples include child abuse in Church and State institutions, the incarceration of women in Magdalene Laundries and illegal adoptions facilitated through falsified birth records. Recent cases of malpractice in the justice and policing system have pinpointed issues over the lack of adequate records, lack of control over existing records and frequent failures to locate and identify records relevant to issues of major public concern. There is a consistent theme of a lack of effective archives and records management legislation, regulations and practice.

This presentation will draw on fundamental theories of social justice and human rights, including those of John Locke, John Rawls and others. It will place archive and records management theory and practice firmly within the context of established ethical frameworks and concepts, to consider how existing archives legislation and practice in Ireland can be altered and improved in order to allow for a balanced citizen-government relationship and to facilitate greater understanding of the role that record-keeping plays in protecting fundamental rights.

Developing new collaborative models and culturally sensitive methods for understanding safety and information in the digital world: Joanne Mihelcic, Gillian Oliver, Carsten Rudolph and Jongkil Jeong

This paper presents the application of existing research in cognitive anthropology and describes the significance of this interdisciplinary approach to understanding people, culture and safe digital places (archives).

The People, Culture and Cyber Security Lab at Monash University is an interdisciplinary research group convened to study the human experience of [cyber] security. This team of researchers bring diverse and complementary expertise in: cyber security, archival science, human-computer interaction, social informatics to the sociotechnical study of how people experience and navigate or wayfind in digital places.

We propose that cognitive anthropology is congruous with the objectives and approach of this research collaboration. Cognitive anthropology is the product of interdisciplinary discourses where cognition and anthropology converge to understand the relationships between spatial and social cognition (Shore, 1998). This approach to understanding culture has been described as “a distributive model of culture” where meaning is constructed, experienced and embodied; in our minds, bodies and place (Rodseth, 1998, p. 55). Anthropologists have argued that “worlds” constructed online are endlessly dependent on offline settings in which their “inhabitants” dwell socially and physically. Cognitive anthropology draws on diverse ways of knowing and navigating the social and spatial – and more recently virtual worlds (Stewart, 2016, p. 96).

This type of interdisciplinary research, drawing on new fields of research, potentially has profound implications for how we understand the embodied lives of people and records, to embrace the complexity of human rights and safety in digital place-making.


Seminar Room 4

Community Collections in Institutional Archives: Towards Challenging Traditional Archival Paradigms: Caitlin Christian-Lamb and Ana Roeschley

When Howard Zinn pointed out the inherent bias in archival collections and archival work to an audience of archivists in 1970, the gauntlet for more representative archives was thrown. In the nearly 50 years since that speech, archival practice has been challenged to decenter whiteness and work against reinforcing hegemonic norms, but issues of representation, access, and surveillance remain prominent. In the desire to make cultural heritage more accessible, repositories rush to acquire materials on underrepresented communities, digitize content, and make it available. However, problems can arise when archive staff rush to fill gaps in the record without deep understanding of and established relationships with the communities involved.

To explore this topic, we will explore two case studies. First, the “Valuing Our Scans: Understanding the Impacts of Digitized Native American Ethnographic Archives” project seeks to understand and measure the ways in which digitization of Native American ethnographic archival materials impact indigenous communities and the wider public. Valuing Our Scans builds upon research done by Ricky Punzalan on defining “stories of impact” rather than focusing on traditional usage metrics. As part of this project, Punzalan and Caitlin Christian-Lamb convened a group of researchers who use the digitized archives of anthropologist John Peabody Harrington in an effort to refine impact metrics. However, gathering researchers together brought to light other patterns in usage of indigenous archival material by indigenous and non-indigenous researchers, as well as growth in community-centered re-gathering projects, collating surrogates of digitized archival material and adding to those collections in spaces controlled by indigenous researchers. This collection building recalls the gift exchange cycle, in which materials are donated or curated with an expectation of use within that community.

Our second case study is UMass Boston’s Mass. Memories Road Show, a community-based participatory archive. UMass Boston’s archives host Mass. Memories collection day events in different communities throughout Massachusetts in an effort to build and reinforce community ties between community members and to document the past. This project is, in part, an effort to celebrate cultural diversity in Massachusetts. During these events, participants contribute written records, photographs, and oral histories, which are then digitized, preserved, and made available to the public. While this project posits that Massachusetts is the larger community that connects all of the Road Shows, participants’ interviews reveal a number of different motivations for participating that are not necessarily connected to Massachusetts at all.

Many questions arise from these community-centered collection and access models: What pressures exist in institutional archives that prevent them from implementing more flexible models? How do community archives and institutional archives work together? How much can an archivist promise to community donors and participants, within the constraints of their position in an institution? Can a community-centered paradigm ever fit into an institutional archive? This paper aims to investigate these questions, connect the ongoing work being done in archival studies, and facilitate robust discussion amongst speakers and audience.

Flipping the Paradigm: Rediscovering the Personal within the Organizational: Ted Lee

Archival discourse has created a bifurcation between personal archives and organizational or bureaucratic archives, both in theory and practice. This bifurcation is based in part on notions of Weberian bureaucracy which characterize organizations as rational, apolitical, professional, scientific, objective, and even cold, inhuman, and machine-like (Eco 1995). In contrast, personal records and archives are characterized as irrational or having no seeming order, less organized, more messy, less evidentiary (Hobbs 2010), more psychological, and even possessing an element of “wildness” (Harris 2001). However, sociologist Michael Lipsky’s theory of street-level bureaucracy (Lipsky 1980) challenges the idea that bureaucracies act strictly along these ideological principles of impersonal, scientific, professionalized rationalism, arguing that the majority of policy creation and implementation occurs not at the executive level of an organization but at the “street-level” where individual bureaucrats exercise a high degree of discretion and autonomy, sometimes even subverting executive direction. The traditional view (via Muller, Feith and Fruin) that an organization’s fonds accrues records naturally and organically over the course of regular transactions elides the fact that the organization is made up of many different personal actors with agency who create (or choose not to create) records for multiple, personal, intentional and sometimes even conflicting reasons. Using the theory of street-level bureaucracy, I argue that bureaucratic and organizational records can be understood and read as personal records for a richer, more nuanced, and more accurate understanding of bureaucratic actions, both conceptually and historically.

The theoretical and practical implications of archives existing organizationally within libraries: Ashley Todd-Diaz

Archives are educational, scholarly, and culturally-significant resources that afford researchers the opportunities to engage in informal learning, develop information literacy and critical thinking skills, encounter one-of-a-kind materials, and interact with history. However, research has shown that in the United States there is a lack of awareness for these affordances compared to the information resources available in libraries, museums and other cultural heritage organizations. One explanation for low awareness of archives and the role they play is that over the last 60 years academic archives have become administratively and physically subsumed in libraries, limiting the ability of the general public to discern archives as unique and distinctive resources open to all researchers and community members. This places archives in a parent-child relationship with libraries that introduces a dynamic of physical and organizational subservience. Libraries and archives have traditionally been considered equal, possessing distinct professional identities, organizations, values, and curricula; however, placing them into an organizational hierarchy has the potential to introduce power dynamics and political negotiations. Despite the large impact this parent-child structure may have on day-to-day operations, priority setting, resource negotiation, and user success with information seeking, this dynamic between libraries and archives has previously not been studied empirically. This study used the behavioral theory of the firm and stakeholder theory as a theoretical framework through which to explore the physical and virtual power structures and dynamics within libraries that have an archives unit.

This paper will present the distinctive findings of my recently defended dissertation as they relate to the internal effectiveness of this parent-child administrative structure, as well as its impact beyond the organizational chart on user information seeking success. Additionally, it will discuss the implications of this administratively-oriented research to a handful of archival science’s core constructs.

Common, Civil, Ottoman, Hebrew, Military. Lessons from a hodgepodge of legislation on the potentiality for community archives in Israel and Palestine: Yair Agmon

Community Archives scholarship has largely focused on the UK, USA, Canada, and Australia. Anne Gilliland and Andrew Flinn, recognizing in 2013 in their keynote address to CIRN, the lack of expansion into other countries, suggested the movement will be better served by expanding its transnational scope to be the most inclusive – to facilitate better and more diverse data collection, and expand transnationally the discourse of communities and their archival needs – yet not much has changed. Anne Gilliland and Tamara Štefanac, discussion Croatia in their chapter contribution to the second Volume of Community Archives, suggested a possible source to this invisible line of demarcation: Structural limitations imposed under different legal systems that operate in different countries. Gilliland and Štefanac differentiate between the Common Law countries under which the Community Archives movement had its genesis and flourished, and Civil Law countries, where not many strides have been made by the movement. At the heart of the structural matter is the different administration of the common cultural property – art, museums, culture, as well as archives. Whereas Common Law refrains from governing the regulation and administration of archival records and professional practices and thus allowing communities to step in with little friction, Civil Law favors The State as the primary agent for the governing and controlling of such activities, inevitably resulting in a more centralized, less autonomous administration and laws, antithetical to the growth of community archives.
This however, does not negate the necessity for the locus of Community Archives to empower disenfranchised and marginalized communities by asserting agency over records against the very state that governs bureaucratic resources. Nor does it mean that grassroots organizations operating in Civil Law countries, are not engaged in archival-like practices. What is clear so far, is that organizations that might benefit from a formal archival affiliation, refrain from it, limiting their practices from the affordances and positions granted to archives – legal evidence, records management, and community recognition.
As such, the question remains, what structural considerations – professional, legislative, social, and ideological – prevent organizations engaged with archival practices, to operate under an official fold. In this paper, I wish to present the findings of a legal analysis of these questions under the Israeli law – itself a hodgepodge of systems such as Common, Civil, Hebraic, as well as Cannon and Ottoman law. This legal analysis will shed light on the structural components needed for a potential professional and regulatory framework of community archives in a previously unstudied environment. This legal analysis is done in light of a broader research on the possibility of implementing the community archives framework in Israel and Palestine – where historically many communities have been marginalized, invisibilized, disposed and disenfranchised from their memory, records, history and heritage. And where currently active organizations such as Breaking The Silence, ActiveStills, The Umm el-Fahem Archives and many others are looking for community based ways to promote human rights, accountability, records access, and historical inclusivity.


14:45 – 16:15

Seminar Room 2

Cross-border and Cooperation: New Thoughts on the Development of Archives in the Background of Digital Humanities: Zhang Bin and Li Zilin

The research object of digital humanities is mainly various digital resources in the field of humanities and social sciences, such as unformatted text, formatted data, image data, video and audio files, etc. The digital humanities projects should be carried out by the LAM (libraries, archives and museums). The archives, as a cultural heritage institution, preserves and collects various records of government and social organizations, special manuscripts, and important value literature and historical works. Undoubtedly, this institution is an important position for researchers in the humanities and social science field and archivists to establish historical partnerships. Archives collections are the key resource for digital humanities research, the business activities in archives can be recognized as one part of digital humanities projects, and the archivists are indispensable member of digital humanities research team. Therefore, the archives is inevitably affected by the digital humanities boom.

This paper intends to use case studies and literature review as the research methods. Firstly, sorting out and analyzing the digital humanities projects carried out around the world, and exploring the relationship between digital humanities and archives. Secondly, from three aspects of institution function, business work, personnel development of archives, analyzing the influences of digital humanities on the archives. Finally, providing ideas for the development of archives from five levels: service concept, work system, resources construction, business activities and personnel structure.

So you’ve created a dataset, what now? Using digital humanities to exploit historic customer information: Ashleigh Hawkins

Since its ‘discovery’ in 1967 and subsequent initial application in the field of sociology, grounded theory method has been widely adopted in a broad range of academic fields to become one of the most widely used methods of qualitative research. Its applicability to practice based or process driven research, and particular suitability for areas with little extant theory, arguably make it especially appropriate for research in the field of archive studies. While the term ‘grounded theory’ may not be unfamiliar, there is little agreement on the principles and processes of the method and in many studies claiming to use the method it is unclear to what extent it has been engaged with and how it has been applied. Examining and building upon the work of others in the field of archive studies who have used and written about using the method, this methodological working paper will explore the various ways in which grounded theory method has been interpreted for use in archive studies research. It will build on this by interrogating the methodology proposed by the author for applying grounded theory method to research with historic customer information in order to raise the profile of and engage critically with this little used yet potentially valuable method for archive studies research.
After a brief examination of the development of grounded theory method and the processes of data collection, analysis and theory construction it entails, this paper will consider the use of the method in archive studies, where it has principally been applied in research using data gathered from interview and case study sources. The author’s own methodology, incorporating the principles of grounded theory method, currently being explored and expanded in the early stages of an investigation into historic customer information at Barclays Group Archive will be interrogated and used to examine the potential challenges and opportunities presented by grounded theory method. Finally, the paper will end by questioning the applicability of grounded theory method as a method of conducting research with archival sources and the extent to which it can be applied as an approach, or attitude, to research more generally, thus taking it beyond the realms of a method for analysing data generated from interviews and case studies.

Delivering Digital Humanities: Leontien Talboom

This paper will outline the initial finding from a collaborative doctoral project with University College London (UCL) and The National Archives (TNA) which focusses on the struggle that digital preservation practitioners face when making born-digital data accessible. To better understand this topic, semi-structured interviews will be carried out with digital preservation practitioners from archives, libraries, museums and other institutions preserving born-digital data.
The research is still in its early stages, but certain themes are starting to emerge. One of these themes is around trust in archives and gaining accreditation. This theme considers questions such as why archives are gaining certification and what this means to them, but also how trust has changed in the digital age. Another theme that is emerging is around Designated Communities, which is a term from the OAIS model. This reference model concerning long term preservation of digital material has been implemented in a wide variety of organisations and institutions. The OAIS model states that a digital archive must have a Designated Community to become compliant, but how does this work for larger institutions such as TNA who should be making data accessible to everyone? The last theme is around responsibility when making born-digital data accessible. Making born-digital data accessible through a digital platform such as an online catalogue does not necessarily mean that the user will be able to use these records and properly access them. But who is responsible for ensuring that they can?

Digital Refeudalization: Critiquing Democratic Justifications for Digitization Work: Ellen LeClere

Large-scale and industrial-scale digitization are ambitious projects for many archives. While it is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and expensive work to digitize archival materials at scale, many archivists justify these projects for their democratizing effect. Information available online is more accessible than physical collections. In my dissertation, I explore archivists’ decision-making processes when building digital archives of the recent past – specifically, digital archives of the American Civil Rights Movement. I found that justifications for digitization work were closely aligned with justifications for democracy – namely, enhancing transparency and accountability, participation and inclusion, and the right to know.

This paper has two parts. First, I analyze whether digitization work enhances transparency and accountability, participation and inclusion, and the right to know using data from my dissertation research. Second, I consider how the valuation of digitization work and digital archives has shaped the current archival paradigm. To accomplish this, I map justifications for digital archives and digitization to historical and contemporary conceptions of democratic practice and review theoretical frameworks of democracy from critical race theory (CRT) and post-Marxist philosophy.

Even when limiting the scope to Western philosophical traditions, democracy has been interpreted to mean many different things. It has been used to justify welfare programs and welfare reforms. Universal human rights movements and civil rights movements tie their platforms to the need to build a stronger democracy. Liberal economic policies that have ushered in widespread privatization and social inequality also cite democratic aims. Simply put, democracy has a framing issue.

Therefore, the justifications for archival digitization must be understood as aligning with a particular political paradigm about democracy (and potentially in conflict with another). CRT and post-Marxist philosophy offer ways in which to discuss the limitations of digitization work. For example, the privatization of military and security infrastructure challenges the ability of archives to maintain complete records of public agencies’ activities (Rosén 2008). Donor-imposed selection models and “digitization-on-demand” policies generate digital archives that reflect the historical interests of groups willing and able to pay for digitization (Fagan 2016, Leopold 2013). Traditional collection policies continue to privilege acquiring manuscripts and material record formats over intangible cultural heritage artifacts, such as oral histories and performed records (the latter of which are records commonly created by African American communities) (Sutherland 2017a, 2017b). Communities that resist or otherwise gain no benefit from having their materials digitized have little to no agency in the disposition of their materials on public-facing digital archives (Eichhorn 2014; Manžuch 2017). These ethical issues are exacerbated further when archivists prioritize access (and increasingly, digital access) above other institutional goals.

Mass digitization emerged as a topic worthy of political and ethical investigation only recently (Manžuch 2017; Thylstrup 2018). As workers attuned to the opportunities (and consequences) of the Information Age, it is critical that our professional community acknowledge the political dimensions of digitization work and recognize the ways in which digitization work has routinized, automated, and even devalued our intellectual contributions.


Seminar Room 4

Research on the Definition and Protection of Archives Documentary Heritage: Based on China’s Experience in Applying to the UNESCO Memory of the World: Wenjing Xiong

Firstly, this paper introduces the definition and scope of China’s Archives documentary heritage. Secondly, using the Chinese archives department participates in the UNESCO World Memory List application as a case, it introduces the specific process of applying for the World Memory List of archival documentary heritage, and clarifies the key points of the application, and archives documents for other countries and regions.

More Heritage, Less Archivist: an exploration of the paucity of archivists in the heritage practices of Qatar and the greater Arabian Gulf: Sumayya Ahmed

Has the discourse of cultural heritage preservation, as adopted by Arabian Gulf countries, rendered archival practices and archivists irrelevant? In this paper, I examine the heritage frame as applied in Qatar which has been constructed largely with the input of archaeologists and museum professionals, in order to understand the absence of archivists. This paper attempts to ask why archivists have been, or are seen to be, irrelevant to the heritage work being done in the country.
Heritage thrives on and values scarcity, but is not necessarily dependent upon written documentation. As it works to present a “singular dominant discourse” whose priority is “social cohesion in the face of potentially conflictual readings of the past” (Waterton and Watson, 2013, p. 551); one can see how heritage might, at times, find archival records to be inconvenient. While we know that archives are established by the powerful in order to concretize their authority, we also know that there can be the purposeful absence of archives or lack of access to records in order to sustain power.

The oil-rich nations of the Arabian (also known as Persian) Gulf nations have wholeheartedly adopted the international discourse of world heritage to both cement a national narrative and spur heritage tourism. In Qatar, the nation’s heritage is this depicted as traversing a linear timeline delimited by a socio-political “before-and-after-the-discovery-of-oil” frame that infects most public memory related work. Even as the region enters what has been termed the post-oil era, a strong emphasis has been placed on the use of archaeology and oral histories due to the relative paucity of written documents or the lack of access to privately held records.

Heritage, as a discourse which assigns value in relation to social identity, has tended to focus on built structures, though it has transitioned nicely into grasping with intangible cultural heritage. In Qatar, this has resulted in the “re-creation” of historic markets and strong focus on oral histories to document activities such as falconry. But of course, built structures should be documented and increasingly, the intangible are made tangible through medialization. Lipp (2013) argues that intangible cultural heritage will have to be “mediated,” in most cases, in order to be preserved, this should necessitate the archiving of audio-visual as well as written materials. And yet, the heritage frame in the Gulf discounts archivists to the extent that we are called to question whether heritage even needs archives .

Certainly, archives are a part of cultural patrimony. Since 1992, UNESCO has explicitly included documents in its world heritage agenda through its Memory of the World Program. The Qatar National Library’s lower level, called the “heritage library” with its collection of archival records, maps, rare books, periodicals, historical manuscripts and poster collections is ostensibly an archives, but where are the archivists?

Inheritance and Innovation: Research on the Construction of Targeted Conservation Theory for Archival Documentary Heritage: Rongwei Ji and Yaolin Zhou

Archival documentary heritage, as an important component of cultural heritage, is the common spiritual wealth of mankind. The Memory of the World Programme sponsored by UNESCO aims to safeguard valuable documentary heritage and to raise awareness about its inestimable value for present and future generations. As a country consisting of a great diversity of ethnic groups and with time-honored history and civilization, China abounds in precious archival documentary heritage, such as Oracle-Bone Inscriptions, Compendium of Materia Medica, Traditional Music Sound Archives and so on. However, large amounts of precious archival documentary heritage are threatened or endangered due to fragile carrier texture, improper collection environment and so on. Notably, archival documentary heritage of various carrier types differs significantly in terms of conservation means and methods. In addition, for those of the same carrier type, if they were produced in different historical periods, or in the same period but preserved in different conditions, there would be great differences for the reason and degree of their damages. Therefore, it is very important to formulate pertinent, adaptable and personalized solutions on a case-by-case basis, which urgently needs relevant conservation theory to guide.
In the long-term exploration of conservation practice, people have accumulated rich conservation experiences, and thus constructed a generalized theoretical system for the conservation of archival documentary heritage, such as theories on technical conservation(e.g., restoration and reinforcement) and managed conservation(e.g., training and assessment of professional personnel). Obviously, those generalized theories are not well suitable for pertinent, adaptable and personalized conservation practice. And it is necessary to carry out theoretical innovation combining previous research and current situation, in order to provide targeted theoretical guidance for conservation practice in China.
For this purpose, this study attempts to construct the targeted conservation theory for archival documentary heritage with the guidance of generalized conservation theories, and the reference of individualized conservation practice to further obtain long-term preservation of them. In general, “the targeted conservation for archival documentary heritage” refers to a kind of personalized and specialized mode that can focus on specific issues and differential demands in conservation practice. Based on the above definition, a theoretical framework on the targeted conservation is designed to provide guidance for both specialized and personalized conservation for archival documentary heritage in China. Furthermore, the systematic and multi-dimensional framework of targeted conservation theory for archival documentary heritage consists of one theoretical basis (archival documentary heritage),two conservation clues(the native and regenerative conservation),three conservation steps (the preventive conservation, the governance conservation and the restoration), four conservation levels (carrier, environment, technology and management) and some other supporting elements (human resources, infrastructure, technology, laws, regulations and so on).


Seminar Room 5

The Power of the Popular: Investigating the Potential of Community Music Archival Practice: Catherine Mullen

Music and sound archiving often rely heavily on support from institutional bodies such as universities and governments not only for funding and advocacy, but also for preservation expertise and physical storage availability. In this talk, I ask: what cultural perpetuation and preservation efforts are taking place outside of and in between traditional institutional boundaries? Community music archives are situated precisely in this boundary-blurring space. As archives that compile heritage for and aim to represent and serve distinct populations, places, or topics, community archives bring concepts of identity, memory, meaning, and power to the forefront of archival practice. Operating through physical and digital veins, they invite participation from local and global audiences, often depending on material and intangible contributions from volunteers and community members to make up their collections and run their organizations. In Northern England, a distinct popular music heritage serves as the force around which community archives and heritage organizations, such as the Manchester Digital Music Archive (MDMArchive), revolve. These archives address a local history most easily recognized in dominant popular music discourse about genres like rock, post-punk, and club music, but also present in less commercialized and underrecognized music scenes that highlight other pop genres as well as the work of women and performers of color. As an introduction to my dissertation research that focuses on community music archives’ motivations and practices, this paper investigates the components of such archival practice through an overview of Manchester-based archival initiatives including the MDMArchive. I present preliminary findings and thoughts from ethnographic research done with community music archives in Manchester, and briefly explore the dynamics at play between community and traditional institutional archives in this urban environment. Through a description of operations and activities in which community music archives and other public-facing heritage institutions with archival functions engage, I highlight the equitable and affective potentials of community music archival practice for local community heritage development and for archival theory more broadly.

The Significance, Dilemma and Path of Community Archives Construction in China: Mengqiu Li

Community archives refers to collections of material gathered primarily by members of a given community and over whose use community members exercise some level of control. Strengthening the construction of community archives can meet the spiritual and cultural needs of the people, promote social progress, facilitate the diversified development of society, and expand the archives work function. However, the construction of community archives in China faces physical dilemmas, cultural predicaments, theoretical dilemmas and identity dilemmas. Changes of international archival community’s understanding of community archives reveal to us that in the process of building community archives, the active construction of community members is crucial, the archivists’ “process guide” and “front-end guidance” are more and more critical, the value of community archives is closely related to social inclusion, and it is necessary to promote cooperation actively. Therefore, in the current environment, the further construction of community archives should be based on the realization of the memory value of community archives, create a “union” of social archives, pursue the development of discipline integration, and explore the community archives with Chinese characteristics.

Collective Collecting and Documentation Practice in UK DIY Music Spaces: Kirsty Fife

This presentation explores the process of developing participatory and community-led methods for documenting and archiving the historical traces of UK DIY music spaces. Recent media and industry reporting in the UK has focused on thriving DIY subcultures and the development of autonomous DIY music spaces in London, Leeds and Glasgow, whilst also drawing attention to the precarious and ephemeral contexts in which DIY music spaces and cultural producers operate and survive (Phillips and Moekona, 2018: online; Welsh, 2015: online; Amin, 2017: online). Wider industry reports have also highlighted systematic and structural issues which continue to cause small and grassroots music venues to close in London and the UK, including the Mayor of London Music Venues Taskforce’s report “London Grassroots Venues Rescue Plan” which was instigated after 35% of London’s grassroots music spaces closed between 2007 and 2015. Since 2015, mainstream media have continued to report on the closure of DIY music spaces including Power Lunches (Garland, 2015: online) and the Montague Arms (Garcia, 2018: online).

The circumstances in which current UK DIY music spaces operate and the reliance of these spaces upon digital platforms and social media means that documentary traces of their activities are rarely created and kept. As a result, it is imperative for heritage workers and communities to work together and take action. This presentation explores the development of the methodology for my PhD research, which aims to examine existing documentary sources of these spaces and current factors affecting record keeping, and then develop methods which can prevent the loss of these histories. This presentation will explore the application of “documentation strategy” (Samuels, 1986), the “embedded curator” (Thomas, 2012) and “documentation advocacy” (Sturgeon, 1996), cooperative methods and roles I will employ in order improve documentation practice acting both with and within originating communities.

Arrangement and description of archival materials in community archives in Poland: Magdalena Wisniewska-Drewniak

The paper presents results from a research project dedicated to studying community-based independent historical archives that currently operate in Poland. The project, entitled ‘Community archives in Poland – multiple case study’ is in its final stadium (scheduled between August 2016 and August 2019) and is funded by the National Science Centre in Krakow, Poland.
The phenomenon of grass-root archiving is hard to define and only recently it has been taken into consideration as a research subject by archival science in Poland. But the idea of independent archiving on the Polish territory can be traced back even to the 19th century, with considerate increase in number of such endeavours after the transformation of 1989/90, and even greater rise during the last fifteen years (connected with the digital revolution). Nowadays, the number of community archives in Poland is estimated at between several dozens to several hundreds (depending on manner of understanding of the term) and the subject of independent archiving project becomes more popular – both among scholars and the public.
The aim of the research project was production of scientific knowledge that can be useful especially to professionals in archival science (in Poland the discipline is still stricly connected with historical research) – using methods more frequently used in social sciences: personal, face-to-face interviews and on-site observations. Field studies were conducted as part of the multiple case study strategy and the project consisted of six case studies (plus one pilot study).
The study took a holistic approach and its main objective was creating a rich description of the archives studied. It means that the main research question was: how do contemporary community archives operate in Poland? This ‘umbrella question’ comprised of many detailed research questions, for example: history of a community archive, aims and objectives, staff, funding, problems, plans for the future, manners of collecting, storage, processing, and providing access to archival materials, characteristics of archival collections, endeavours organised by the archive (e.g. exhibitions, publications, meetings).
The conference presentation focuses on one particular area of findings from the research project: strategies and tools of archival processing implemented in the studied community archives and connection of these strategies with goals and history of a particular archive, as well as characteristics of its archival collections (e.g. size, subject, types of materials, wheather they are paper or digital).
During the talk I will present particular strategies of archival arrangement and description implemented by community archives with relation to their history, goals, and collections of these archives.
Community archives are part of a complex phenomenon and they differ considerably – not only because of their various holdings, but also because of different manners of conducting basic archival functions. Studying community archives in wide context, using holistic approach, allows better understanding of these particular characteristics.


Seminar Room 6

‘Ideological arms dealers’? The politics and practicalities of palaeography in a pluralised curriculum: Alexandrina Buchanan

In January 2018, the chair of the UK House of Commons Select Committee on Education, Robert Halfon, declared ‘if someone wants to study medieval history that’s fine… but all the incentives from government and so on should go to areas the country needs and will bring it most benefit.’ This positioning of medieval history as a luxury occurred concurrently with a series of disputes within and beyond academia about the co-opting of the Middle Ages in the rhetoric of the alt-right and the ‘whiteness’ of medieval studies. The quotation in my title comes from a 2017 blogpost by Dorothy Kim calling medievalists to action in the ideological war against white supremacists. Although there has never been a time when historical studies were apolitical, practitioners are now more than ever forced to consider the political implications of their research and teaching. The same is true in relation to the more historical elements of archival education programmes: for example, the University of Liverpool’s MARM programme (the pathway designed for UK students but also available for international students) includes as a core element the module ‘Post-medieval Records (Reading and Interpretation) and, as optional, two modules on Medieval Palaeography.

The MARM programme has been benchmarked against the objectives of AERI’s Pluralizing the Archival Curriculum Group (PAGC) and continues to be updated in line with these motivations and goals. Nevertheless, it is notable that the associated discussion and justification of these objectives in the 2011 article in the American Archivist focused primarily on diversity within the student cohort and cultural sensitivity in relation to the diverse communities with whom graduates might go on to collaborate. The only mention of diversity in relation to records was in terms of the inclusion of intangible heritage within the remit of archival education programmes – in other words, diversity of record-keeping practices as much as records (textual records being treated as a single category, with which archival education had traditionally been concerned). It was recognised that record-keeping principles and practices employed by dominant groups within the Western world might be problematic if applied uncritically in other cultural settings, but there was little discussion of diversity within the hegemonic paradigm.

As such, although nowhere stated by the PAGC, it might be inferred from its focus that the aforementioned historical modules are no longer needed by the profession or the communities it serves (or should be serving) and that their continued presence in programmes might even be an obstacle to the inclusion of the newer areas of study identified by the group as significant, thereby perpetuating the cultural hegemony of dominant groups.

The aim of this paper is therefore to assess the continued significance of these more record-focused skills, in relation to the needs of the sector and its stakeholders in a UK context. In addition, I will discuss the actions being taken in relation to the associated modules in response to calls to pluralise the curriculum. It will be argued that the learning outcomes of these modules are intended to empower rather than to perpetuate elitism and to foster cultural sensitivity. It is also hoped that subsequent discussion may provide other suggestions for further work that could be done to ensure that such modules can meet the needs of a pluralised curriculum.

In defense of paleography: the role of historical skills in archival studies: Sara Powell

With the creation of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) in 1936, professionals in the archives community in the United States and Canada began to consider in earnest how students should be educated in their field. Samuel Bemis, appointed chairman of the Committee on the Training of Archivists in one of the SAA’s first official actions, said that ‘it is the historical scholar, equipped with technical archival training, who dominates the staffs of the best European archives. We think it should be so here.’ Yet Bemis’s was not the final word. Anxieties about professional education have since permeated the literature, as archivists debate accreditation, the appropriate academic department to serve as home for archival courses, and the importance of history’s auxiliary sciences (usually focused on diplomatics and paleography). In 2016, SAA updated their Guidelines for a Graduate Program in Archival Studies; the current curricular standards make no specific recommendations about the incorporation of history and its auxiliary sciences into archival education.

In this paper, I will explore the historical debate surrounding study of history in archival studies graduate programs in the United States and briefly discuss current curricula. Given the location of AERI 2019, a comparison with MARM courses in the UK will be an illuminating counterpoint. Following on from that, I will focus on why paleographical knowledge, in particular, is essential to archival training. Today, not a single archives concentration within an American Library Association-accredited MLIS program offers regular paleography courses. Yet familiarity with paleography certainly affects archivists’ ability to provide adequate description and reference, particularly at academic archives and special collections. As American elementary schools increasingly forgo the teaching of cursive and many doctoral programs in History or English do not require coursework in paleography, students across disciplines depend on archives professionals to possess skills which archival studies programs themselves may not be teaching. The success of paleography workshops and courses organized by Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library staff, as well as the popularity of external courses (e.g., at Rare Book School and the Folger Institute), underscores the growing need for archivists, librarians, historians, and literary scholars alike to learn this neglected skill.

History and Archival Science: two allies in studying the archives of pre-modern institutions? A research on the Viscounts of Vila Nova de Cerveira’s archive: Filipa da Silva Lopes

The study of the production, recording and conservation of information by pre-modern institutions, like noble families or noble Houses, is gaining ground in Portuguese historiography. A new approach is under development and it assesses new ways of archive research as influenced by the “tournant documentaire”, the archival turn, and the documentary history of institutions. Consequently, it tests the recent confluence of theories and methodologies in History and Archival Science for the analysis of archives (Rosa, 2017).

In this short paper I propose to briefly present the work I’m developing on the archive of the viscounts of Vila Nova de Cerveira and marquises of Ponte de Lima (Portugal). Using theories and methodologies of both disciplines, I’m analyzing the social and the institutional history of the families that produced the archive, from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century, when their House became consolidated, in order to determine the “sociogenetic” role (Morsel, 2010: 17) of the archive for these family groups and for this House.

I will start by presenting the most important questions my research is aiming to answer in order to demonstrate how an interdisciplinary approach is fundamental to enrich it with perspectives that go beyond the traditional research about nobility and family history. The reconstruction of the history of the archive and the identification of the information and records’ producers are very important steps in contextualizing archival funds. It is fundamental that historians take this archival work into account instead of considering archives as mere storehouses of information, and as natural and nonproblematic “sources”. Very complex archival histories, like the one of the Viscounts of Vila Nova de Cerveira’s archive, represent a challenge: some of these archives are no longer active, they are no longer the organizational archives they were in the past. We need to realize how the “links” to a pre-modern world “were disconnected”, to use the words of M. L. Rosa (Rosa, 2017: 574). It is important the contribution of oral history to understand the recent history of the family and of the archive (Brelot, 2006), but we also have ancient inventories of the archive(s). They can testify choices and priorities made in each context, helping us understand the transformation and the transmission of information and records over the centuries (Head, 2007; Morsel, 2010; Morsel, 2015; Rosa & Head, 2015).


Thursday 11 July

10:30 – 12:00

Seminar Room 1

A Tale of Two Records: The Murder of María Loreto Castillo Muñoz as told by an Arpillera and the Chilean National Corporation of Reparation and Reconciliation: Elsie Doolan

María Loreto Castillo Muñoz, a Chilean mother of three, was murdered, blown up, by the CNI (Central Nacional de Informaciones) in 1984. Her death was initially reported in the police records of the Chilean police and then dismissed due to a purported lack of evidence. At the time of the murder, an arpillera (a Chilean tapestry used to document the lives of women) was created by woman living in the area. The arpillera was quickly smuggled from the country and sold at a Christmas Market in England the same year. For nearly 10 years, this arpillera was one of the only records the crime, until the National Corporation of Reparation and Reconciliation (Corporación Nacional de Reparación y Reconciliación – CNRR) in Chile reviewed the case and acknowledged María’s murder by the state as a human rights abuse. During the Pinochet regime (1973-1990), arpilleras, appliqued textiles depicting the difficult, often violent, experiences of Chilean women began to gain global recognition. They have since been collected and exhibited internationally to express the experiences of women with conflict. Their often deceptively naïve depictions give way to stories that affectively convey the struggle of living in and around conflict. This paper will share research that I have done as part of my PhD dissertation that compares and contrasts the arpillera created at the time of María Loreto Castillo Muñoz’s murder and the official report generated by the CNRR to understand how textiles can be read as archival records.

Informational restitution or reenactment of traumatic past(s)? Repatriation of records of war childhood and forced displacement to Bosnia and Herzegovina: Csaba Szilagyi

The need to make institutional records on mass atrocities, armed conflicts and forced displacement available and accessible for survivors has been frequently articulated in recent scholarship by archivists, historians and legal scholars (Ketelaar, Harris, Donia, Becirevic, Wilson, Schuppli, and Kaye) alike. However, much less has been deliberated on how exactly the expansion of the ‘living’ archives should be carried out. To offer a possible solution, first I have been working on defining the theoretical frame of a shared online archival model, which combines digital surrogates of institutional records with digitized documentation resulting from archiving efforts of affected communities and individuals, whose curation and management is done collaboratively by “professional outsiders” and “cultural insiders.”*

The implementation of this archival model will begin with the returning of personal documents of traumatic past(s), which surfaced unexpectedly from institutional records, to their place of creation. The records’ creators, children and young adults whose lives have been disrupted by war and subsequent emigration, have been largely unrecognized in the archiving process. To repair this past injustice, Blinken OSA will repatriate children’s letters sent from the besieged Sarajevo to their pen pals in the US (1993), as well as personal essays of graduate students on their reasons for leaving Sarajevo and the perspective of their possible return there, included in grant applications (1994-1996) for continuing their studies abroad, from Budapest to the War Childhood Museum in Sarajevo.

The aim of this jointly curated project is to make these documents available for the larger public and open them up for cultural production, storytelling and debate in the city where they originate from and belong to. Equally important is to locate the creators of these documents, “a new community of the excluded”, an entire generation which is so crucial in the rebuilding of the country, and engage them with the records in order to develop a contemporary, inclusive way to memorialize the common, violent past, “to find a shared and shareable ‘public language of grief,’” as Damir Arsenijevic posited.

However, the project raises several crucial questions. What are the points of contestation that these documents can offer vis-à-vis the dominant, ethno-national and exclusive narratives of the city’s wartime history? In what ways do the creators’ emotional engagement with the losses inscribed in the records, their nostalgia, imagination and speculation influence the creation of new meanings, and account for gaps and silences in the archives? Reflecting on them within the frame of this short presentation will hopefully contribute to a better understanding of the role of joint institutional and community archiving efforts in the collective processing of traumatic past(s).

Archives and Human Rights: A review of the literature (work in progress): Natalia Bermúdez Qvortrup

The purpose of this paper is to review the literature on the subject of human rights and archives in a concept-centric way. The study is part of my PhD-project about the role of archives concerning access to information on human rights documentation in Colombia. The goal with the review is to understand the current state of knowledge, the gaps in the literature and where my research is situated in the field of human rights and archives. I would like to present this as a work in progress.

Human rights have come to play a significant role in international archival mandates as well as being a significant subject of interest in archival literature of the last couple of decades. Human Rights is the philosophy behind mandates such as ICA’s Basic Principles on the Role of Archivists and Records Managers in Support of Human Rights, Principles on Access, the Joinet/Orentlicher Principles and the Universal Declaration on Archives. This influence of human rights on archival thinking has come about through a paradigmatic shift in global discourses in general in the past 50 years, due to the rise of a vast global human rights machinery. It consists of countless international organisations, networks of transnational coalitions and numerous international conventions (Risse & Ropp 1999), that have helped bring about, through shared values and information sharing, a discourse of human rights that has become a “constitutive element(s) of modern and “civilized” statehood” (Risse & Ropp 1999 pg. 235). This has changed institutional work ethics and professions that are engaged in the public sphere (Ife 2008), by aligning with the new global paradigm of ethics as a chance to create a more “expansive and inclusive approach to democracy, citizenship and justice” (Wilson & Mitchell 2003 pg. 3). However, what does it mean for a profession such as Archivistics to embrace the human rights philosophy?

This literature review builds on previous work that looks at the literature in archival science to explore how it became engaged with the human rights philosophy and what this means. Systematic searches were performed in three databases, Ebsco (which searches in other databases), Scopus and Google Scholar. Search strings were based around the following keywords: “human rights” AND archiv* OR record*. The resulting list is extended through bibliographic searches of relevant texts.

The review maps the academic discourse on archives and human rights exploring how the two fields converge, interact and relate to each other in general. What is the foundation for the development of human rights in archival practice and methods or is it just “a nice idea”? (Ife 2008) It attempts to discern the predominant themes in the literature, including how it approaches human rights, whether as legal, social or moral claims. I explore international archival mandates and principles that have adopted human rights standards and analyse the contextualisation of these documents, as well as academic articles that engage the topic.


Seminar Room 5

Archivists and their search behaviour in the e-environment: Zdenka Semlic Rajh

As reported by several authors, descriptions of archival collections are not intended for themselves or for archivists, but their purpose is primarily to serve users, among which we can undoubtedly count also archivists. Although archives daily encounter large numbers of users, they have not been much concerned with users until recently. This is especially true for Slovenia, where real user studies in this field are very rare. In literature, however, both foreign and domestic, it is hardly possible to find studies dealing with archivists and users of archival records. Archivists are those who use archival databases for searching for information they need in order to successfully help users with their inquiries. The only study in Slovenia and also wider, which dealt with archivists as users of archival records, was a study that was carried out in 2017 and investigated the capabilities of searching within archival databases of different types of users. One of the types, covered by the survey, were also archivists. However, since the number of archivists included in the survey was extremely small, as only two archivists participated in the survey, the results of the conducted research could not be generalized to the entire population of archivists. The long-term observation of archivists and their search methods has shown that archivists are not exactly skilled in searching and that they prefer to use, instead of databases, shortcuts, or rely on their knowledge of archival records stored in their archives and search through archival groups in the classification and do not use options offered by the search engine in the database. This was partially confirmed also by the performed research. In order to get a more realistic insight into the competence of archivists for searching through archival databases, we conducted a research, and invited Slovenian archivists to participate. Since we wanted to obtain comparable results with a survey carried out in 2017, we partially used the same methodology and the same tasks as were used in the previous survey. This made it possible to compare the results.

My metadata is a map: what cartography can teach us about archival description: Andrew Janes

Discussions about the role of metadata in archival practice commonly focus on the need for preservation metadata for digital records, or on how descriptive metadata facilitates discoverability of and access to both digital and analogue archives. Instead, this presentation looks as catalogues and metadata both as means for mapping the virtual landscape of archival collections and as assertions of record status.

The presentation proposes that the concept of a map offers a helpful metaphor for discussing the nature and purposes of archival description and catalogues. Drawing on insights from cartographic theory and archival practice, it explores this metaphor from various angles, including:
* Archive catalogues as tools for navigation, orientation, sense-making and empowerment.
* The shift from paper finding aids to databases as freeing descriptive metadata from the straightjacket of the traditional list or inventory.
* Archival description as selection, abstraction, privileging and even distortion, rather than direct reproduction of information.
* Cataloguing as a potentially iterative process, with multiple originators over time and intermediate stages of ‘finished’ product.
* Recognising and centring the importance of provenance for metadata, as well as for the records themselves.
* Evolving best practice for arranging and describing born-digital material in archives.

Like maps, archival finding aids are not merely representational but propositional, i.e. arguments that records are records and have their proper places within the archives.
Catalogues are ‘meta-records’ that assert, as well as explicate, both the recordness of archival material and key relationships between individual records and accumulations of records. Asserting record status is particularly important where traditional recordkeeping has included non-text materials (such as photographs, textiles and artworks) and when considering the diversity of formats used in digital recordkeeping.

By offering a fresh compass for navigating the well-trodden paths of cataloguing and description, this presentation aims to inspire participants to reflect on this core aspect of archival practice and approach it differently.

Nuclear Technical Information: Advanced Search and Discovery: Jennifer Stevenson and Jeffrey McAninch

Using a case study based on the authors’ current work at the Defense Threat Reduction Information Analysis Center (DTRIAC), this paper reports preliminary results of an advanced search and discovery program (ASD) applied to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) nuclear testing archives. DTRIAC is a component of the Nuclear Technologies Department of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). The DTRIAC archives contain information dating from the Manhattan Project through today. Current DTRIAC missions require timely availability of this archived information to U.S. Government researchers. The ASD program is taking initial steps to support this requirement through machine learning and automated arrangement and description. The leading research question is: how do you get to the science quickly while creating a space that allows one to evaluate recorded materials and permits accessibility? This paper describes solutions of working with archival documents and making the information discoverable in a space where the arrangement and description needs are based at an item level description, consequently, utilizing the more product less process (MPLP) method was not a viable option. The biggest implication of this research is potentially exposing a way to arrange and describe a backlog of over 12,000 cubic feet. MPLP offers a framework for providing a skimmed view of collections and offers an alternative approach than basic mass digitization, however, the DTRIAC machine learning framework starts with a small richly described portion of the collection, and through the use of machine learning harnesses the machines to work with the scale of the collection. The end goal is to develop methods allowing rich descriptions of small unprocessed portions of archival holdings by feeding information into supervised machine learning, allowing the machines to overcome the scale of the collections.

How can records continuum thinking become embedded in Chinese practice?: Wenting Lyu

Treating record and archive as two separate objects has long been considered the best way to manage archives by Chinese archivists. They are usually very loyal, impartial and neutral guardians of archives serving for their enterprise or government. However, under the new digital environment, some old ideas no longer seem to be suitable. The biggest problem faced by Chinese practitioners at present is that they still see archival management inside the walls of their repositories rather than with a broader view. Fortunately, records continuum thinking provides a helpful and appropriate perspective to explain and solve the problems.
Different from records life cycle model, records continuum theory shows us a multi-dimensional structure about how records are captured, managed, preserved and represented as evidence of social and business activity for business, social and cultural purposes for as long as they are of value, whether that be for a nanosecond or a millennium. It is interpreted as not only an abstract conceptual model, but also both a metaphor and a new worldview. In 2000, Ning Zhang from Renmin University of China published an article about recordkeeping in the electronic environment, in which records continuum theory was first introduced to Chinese archival field. However, from the literature review, it is obvious that many Chinese researchers and practitioners held reservations about this new theory. Nowadays, records continuum theory is mentioned and even emphasized again under the context of knowledge management and big data but there are still some obstacles to implementing the theory in Chinese practice.
Actually, although records continuum theory has not been fully accepted by Chinese practitioners, continuum thinking has become apparent in some Chinese practices, which means that there could be greater scope for the application of records continuum theory in China. This paper aims at exploring the greater scope of implementation of continuum thinking in China in order to find feasible ways to solve problems. Through interviews with Chinese practitioners, we try to answer: 1) What are the reasons for their inconsistent attitude towards records continuum thinking; 2) How feasible is the records continuum thinking in the Chinese administrative environment; and 3). How to design a practice guideline for the transition of Chinese recordkeeping from paper era to electronic era reflecting records continuum theory. We hope that this study can attract more attention from Chinese researchers and practitioners to records continuum theory and its significance, correct their misunderstanding and promote the development of Chinese practices and continuum thinking itself.


13:00 – 14:30

Seminar Room 5

Why study histories of records and archives?: Geoffrey Yeo

This second paper will build on my first presentation (‘A record is whatever I say it is’) to examine some aspects of the historical study of records and archives. In today’s world, where conceptual research in archival science emphasises exploration of the meanings that may be found in records by contemporary individuals and societies, and applied research seeks to discover new solutions to current record-keeping challenges, is there anything to be gained from investigating how records were made, kept and used in the past?

Let’s talk about history …: James Lowry and Heather MacNeil.

The first International Conference on the History of Records and Archives (I-CHORA) was held in Toronto, Canada in 2003. It was conceived as a vehicle for exploring the diverse socio-cultural, political, and technological contexts in which records have been created, used, and preserved over the centuries and the roles they have played in the lives of organizations, communities, and individuals. Its organizers hoped that a scholarly conference dedicated to examining specific themes under the umbrella of archival history and histories of archives (broadly understood), would encourage international and interdisciplinary sharing, open up new conceptual and methodological frameworks, and generally promote and deepen research in this area. Since that inaugural conference seven more I-CHORAs have taken place in Amsterdam, Boston, London, Austin, and Melbourne and papers from those conferences have been published in a range of peer-reviewed archival journals and monographs.

In 2018, the International Intellectual History of Archival Studies (IIHAS) Research Network – an informal network of archival studies scholars – was formed to promote the study of the intellectual history of archival studies in different national, cultural, juridical and social contexts. As James Lowry, the Network Convenor explains, “The network was established following discussions – long present in the literature – about the need for a clearer picture of the development of archival practices, theories and traditions in different national and social contexts, and their transposition and movement over time. The objective of the IIHAS network is to illuminate this history to better understand inherited ideas and present day norms. IIHAS pursues this objective by promoting the translation of canonical archival texts across languages, encouraging new research in archival and administrative history, particularly history that situates current issues and developments in historical context, and by providing forums for sharing information with practitioners of archival science and scholars in other fields.”

The purpose of this information session is to publicize these initiatives to the AERI community, invite members of that community to talk about related initiatives that are being undertaken and, more generally, to discuss ways and means of furthering the aims of such initiatives and increasing international and interdisciplinary participation in them.

Developing cultural understanding in the international recordkeeping discourse: An exploratory study of the causes of misunderstandings of Continuum concepts among Francophone archivists: Viviane Frings-Hessami.

International collaboration in the archives and recordkeeping field has been hampered by differences in historical archival traditions and practices. In particular, the absence of an equivalent concept to that of the English “records” in many European languages and a different understanding of the concept of “archives” in most other European countries have led to misunderstandings and to communication problems. Australian archival theories and practices are misunderstood in France despite similarities with French archival traditions. This paper presented by a native French speaker who has studied in Belgium, in the UK and in Australia and is teaching archives and recordkeeping at Monash University will report on an exploratory study on the causes of the misunderstandings of Continuum concepts among French-speaking archivists and on her attempts at promoting cultural understanding and inter-cultural communication through publishing her research both in French and in English

Research on Zhou Liankuan’s Archival Thought: Fuqiu Ma

In the 1930s, China was in the age of chaos. In order to improve the administrative efficiency, Nanjing National Government launched the Administrative Efficiency Movement. Records and Archives Reform was the entry point of this huge movement. The reform centered on the Chain Method of Document and Archives which was a new method at that time. Zhou Liankuan was the designer and practitioner of the Chain Method of Document and Archives. Not only that, he wrote two books to guide the Record and Archives Reform in 1935 and revised and published these two books in 1945. The Administrative Efficiency Movement has triggered a public debate on archives management and gave the birth of archival science of China. Zhou Liankuan’s archival thought influenced Chinese archival science without doubt. Studying his archival thought is of great significance to our study of the history and features of Chinese archival science.

An introduction to the idea:
By in-depth analysis of Zhou Liankuan’s archival thought, the auther presents that Zhou Liankuan’s archival thought has 5 attributes, including administrative attribute, foreign attribute, practice attribute, naïve attribute and utilization-oriented attribute. Zhou Liankuan’s archival thought has obvious features, which relates to 5 aspects: archives classification, the opinion of the relationship between documents and archives, archives appraisal, the function of archives management and archives protection.

Method or approach proposed:
Content analysis. The study will analyze Zhou Liankuan’s classic works,like The method of manage archives affair, the handing of official documents. The author will dig into Zhou Liankuan’s archival thought.
Historical method. The author will put Zhou Liankuan in the context of Chinese archival science history, and study the reason and the influence of Zhou Liankuan’s archival thought.

Contributions of the work:
The author summarizes the influence for the beginning of Chinese archival science of Zhou Liankuan’s archival thought. There are including 6 points such as the births of Zhou Liankuan’s first writings are the symbol of the sprout of Chinese archival science, Zhou Liankuan’s archival thought built the basic framework of the theory research of Chinese archival science, Zhou Liankuan’s archival thought has been influence of foreign thought and so on.
The author summarizes the influence for the modern of Chinese archival science of Zhou Liankuan’s archival thought. There are 6 points also, such as Zhou Liankuan’s archival thought lasting effect on the administrative attribute of Chinese archival science, the classification method of Permanent Preservation, Long-term Preservation and Short-term Preservation is always applied for the archives management.


14:45 – 16:15

Seminar Room 1

Transparency and the sensitive archival collection – Indigenous methodologies for research in a collecting institution: Lauren Booker

How does one negotiate transparency and ethical practice when working with traumatic archival collections and multiple stakeholders?

Addressing issues of colonial and discriminatory collections in the archival space raises the need for social justice frameworks to be applied to any research undertaken. In working with sensitive and traumatic collections of racist documentation and surveillance, research aims and outputs need to be critiqued to ensure trauma and patterns of unethical practice are not reinforced.

There is an obvious need to discuss materials held in archives, however the repetition of discriminatory language, imagery or concepts associated with those materials needs to be negotiated. Cultural protocols of knowledge restriction (e.g. gendered protocols or sorrow related restrictions) attached to particular materials may also need to be taken into account when sharing information with project stakeholders, at the same time as avoiding assumptions regarding such restrictions. Additionally, sensitive or traumatic archival collections may pose a perceived risk for the institutions holding the collections and this may manifest in reluctance or caution to proceed with access and discussion. This raises questions regarding transparency between all project participants, particularly when dealing with requests for withholding of information from institutions. Actions that are appropriate and facilitating of agency for community stakeholders should be paramount, however issues such as institutional blocks or copyright may be disenabling of aims for self-determination. Furthermore, this raises issues regarding of the role of the researcher and an ethical standpoint in which one must decide be active or not.

This short paper is situated at the beginning of a PhD project investigating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sensitive collections, and will discuss engaging in Indigenous methodologies from the beginning of project planning and how established institutional structures may affect how the project can progress. The key themes of the paper are positioned in the broader landscape of Australian Indigenous research protocols and participatory approaches applicable when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and communities.

Indigenous Cultural Safety and Self-Determination in Australian Libraries and Archives: Kirsten Thorpe

Indigenous peoples in Australia have a complex relationship with libraries and archives. They are both places of distrust and places which hold significant cultural heritage materials that can be drawn upon for language and cultural revitalisation and maintenance. There is recognition nationally and internationally that libraries and archives need to be decolonised, yet a significant amount of work needs to be undertaken to reshape and reassert Indigenous worldviews and priorities within library and archival studies and practice.

This short paper will introduce doctoral research relating to Indigenous Cultural Safety and Self-Determination in Australian Libraries and Archives. The research will examine how colonial legacies continue to be embedded within the structures of libraries and archives and question how these legacies might impact the cultural safety of Indigenous Australian peoples. It will also describe the ways in which colonisation and dispossession have enabled a silencing of Indigenous worldviews and voice in Australian libraries and archives, and how this in turn has affected the ways in which Indigenous people experience and engage with the major collecting institutions. The potency and power of records is considered within the research, to identify ways in which Indigenous peoples are made to feel either culturally safe or conversely to feel culturally unsafe. This is of particular importance when considering the spiritual and emotional aspects of connecting with, and caring for, collections held in libraries and archives.

The paper will also outline the Indigenous research methodologies that are being utilised as part of the project. These methodologies both privilege Indigenous voice and representation, and seek transformative solutions for change. Broader themes around Indigenous research methodologies include respect, reciprocity and cultural continuity. These methodologies are considered in relation to wider library and archive theory and practice – to build transformative praxis – so that librarians and archivists can work more effectively with their respective communities in culturally safe ways.

Co-Curation and Collaboration in Native American Archival Materials Local Praxis: Sarah Buchanan

Among the legacies of the New Deal of 1933-43 are a constellation of federally sponsored public works programs that transformed the American landscape, crossing every state. While the libraries, hospitals, airports, parks, and artworks it produced we still use and celebrate, its archaeological survey and excavation projects echo quite loudly for archivists. The mainly-CCC and WPA-funded projects generated not only a new heritage tourism sector but also galvanized the then-small number of American archaeologists to hire large field crews to investigate primarily Native American-related sites, especially in job-receptive locales and because of emerging historical archaeology leanings (Means 2015). The projects’ haphazard implementation, uncredited funding, brief reporting, and poor record-keeping activities complicate efforts to enumerate the material legacy of the era – not least because unlabeled collections became geographically separated from documentation and their source communities – but one estimate asserts displacement of the remains of 200,000 Native American individuals plus over a million funeral and other sacred objects. While the transfer of such collections into museums and archives carried through much of the 20th century, the 1990 passage of NAGPRA effectually thrust Native materials’ presence into the public sphere, spurring campus demonstrations, journalistic investigations, and museum inventories – or at least acknowledgements. This presentation will analyze how local and land-grant praxis engaged with and has been transformed by community activism and mandated compliance. In stewarding Native American and Indigenous materials we must question whether if in archival education, teaching respect must necessarily grow out to collection policy development. In responding to Thorpe’s (2019) key areas of transformation and support for Indigenous self-determination in archives, we will discuss how a collecting institution has adopted NAGPRA compliance and the guidelines of SAA Protocols for Native American Archival Materials in daily praxis. More broadly, the paper will articulate a lineage between NAGPRA and the Protocols and how each contends with museum and archival professional practice.

Community Archives and Living Archives in Aboriginal Cultural Centres: Annelie de Villiers 

Aboriginal cultural centres are organisations with the mandate to support, maintain and share Aboriginal culture within Australia. This PhD project considers the role of the archive within Aboriginal cultural centres with a decolonised understanding of ‘the archive’ as being composed of both ‘community archives’ and ‘living archives’, where community archives are composed of tangible forms of knowledge, while living archives encompass intangible forms of knowledge. Both are fundamental to supporting the activities and goals of Aboriginal cultural centres. This PhD considers the relationship between community archives and living archives within Aboriginal cultural centres, and asks how they are currently being used by examining a couple of current initiatives of this participatory action research project’s community partner – the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre. Drawing upon these initiatives as key examples, this presentation will illustrate and discuss the initial findings of this project. The key examples used to illustrate the initial findings will include: the process of reintegrating cultural knowledge following the repatriation of cultural objects from museums, and; the process of reviving key cultural ceremonies by drawing upon community memory and archival research.


Seminar Room 2

A review of China undergraduate curricula in Archival Science: Haitao Li, Linlin Song and Yaxin Miao

The information revolution that began in the 1990s had a significant impact on the archival management. New skills are being needed from archivists, and these needs also have an noticeable effects on the undergraduate education in Archival Science in China. Over the past 10 years, many scholars have proposed improvements to the undergraduate education in Archival Science. Suggestions have included the introduction of a practical teaching program, improvements in teaching methods and in faculty members, adjustments to the undergraduate curricula; and guidance to encourage students to think professionally. However, there are still some problems. For instance, undergraduates specialising in archival science are disadvantaged.
To address the challenges, the academic community has continued to explore the issue of the undergraduate curricula in Archival Science, what’s more, some key universities in China which offer bachelor degrees in Archival Science have implemented numerous reforms to their programs. In order to promote the development of Archival Science, we used the sample from some key universities in China which included Renmin University of China, Wuhan University, Sun Yat-Sen University, Sichuan University, Shandong University, Suzhou University, Yunnan University, Jilin University, and Nanjing University, to explore the construction status of professional discipline system in China archival education in terms of undergraduate training objectives, professional basic courses, professional compulsory courses, and professional elective courses.
Based on the research on the teaching goals, curricula and contents for the undergraduate in Archival Science from some key universities in China, our study points out some lacks in the undergraduate curricula setting in Archival Science in China such as understated professional features, the absence of information technology courses, duplicate contents in different courses and so on. According to the specific problems above, we puts forward some countermeasures to address them such as reforming the teaching goals, constructing scientific curricula and setting reasonable practical courses.

The comparative research on Online Education services for middle and primary courses between China and foreign countries: Ke Liu

This paper has selected Beijing archives website, Shanghai archives website, the United Kingdom national archives website and the United States national archives website as investigation object,and compared Chinese archives’online services for primary and secondary courses to foreign archives in terms of service aim, organization mode, service contents and service technology by means of literature and online research. It is concluded that Chinese archives’services have a big difference from foreign ones. The main reason is that educational function, management system and organizational culture are different. In addition, this paper has proposed some suggestions like changing services aims, remodeling archives position, using new technology, broadening the service content and developing the mode of “archives-archives of the ministry of education-school ”according to the current situation in China, so as to provide useful references for archives to carry out the practice and theoretical research of online educational services for primary and middle schools.

Integrated graduation in archivistics at the Reinwardt Academy: Ellen van Veen and Marieke van der Duin

In our contribution we will explain the integrated method employed at the Reinwardt Academy to organize bachelor research projects in archivistics. We present students’ esults and discuss our approach with colleagues and (hopefully) students. Also, we look forward to comparing our ideas and practices with other courses at an undergraduate level.

The Characteristics of the Development of Archival Higher Education in China and Its International Impacts: Yongsheng Chen and Huanning Su

The archival higher education in China has been developing for 80 years since the establishment of the “Special Training for Archives Management” in Wuchang Wenhua Library Science Private College in 1934 (Xu & Zhang, 2011). By 2018, 38 colleges and universities in China have established a major in archival science. The development of archival higher education in China presents the following characteristics, and it shows some international significance.

Firstly, it formed a complete educational system which includes three education levels from undergraduate to master and doctor. Different from archival higher education in many European and North American countries which takes master’s education as the main body, the archival higher education in China focuses on undergraduate’s education. According to statistics, more than 40,000 students who were major in archival science have graduated from 1978 to 2018, of which about 36,000 were bachelors (Feng, 2018). The undergraduate-based archival higher education in China is complementary to the master-based education in foreign countries. That means the large scale of undergraduate education in China can send students and talents studying archival science to foreign countries continuously.

Secondly, China has established many archival education institutions. At the same time, there are a large number of teachers and students who involved in archival science. Thus, the number of institutions and scholars of archival science has leaped to the first place in the world, and is developing steadily. The quantity strength of archival higher education in China contributes many professional talents not only to the development of Chinese archival work, but also to the world archival cause.

Thirdly, researchers teaching archival science in colleges and universities are the core contributors of archival research in China. Xu and Zhang listed 31 core scholars in high research production, which based on the authors’ research achievements, such as the number of papers and the cited frequency (Xu & Zhang, 2011). 29 of them are from colleges and universities, and only 2 of them are engaged in practical work. The results show that the teachers in colleges and universities are the main force not only to archival research in China but also to international conferences of archives. According to the statistics of Feng (Feng, 2018), in the past 40 years, over 200 archival scholars in China have participated in international academic conferences, and more than 90 of them have been invited to speak at international conferences.

In a word, this paper describes the development of the archival higher education in China briefly. Based on that, the paper summarizes three characteristics of the development and analyzes its international impacts.


Seminar Room 4

Recordkeepers and research data management: mapping the landscape: Rebecca Grant

This short paper will present a work in progress, describing the author’s current PhD research which is investigating the connections between the work of recordkeeping professionals, and research data management practices.

Research data are the raw or analysed data generated through research processes. While research data are commonly thought of as an output of science, any research discipline which is not purely theoretical produces some form of data. The rise of the Open Access publishing movement and a “reproducibility crisis” in academic research has led to an increasing focus on the management and open sharing of research data, seen for example in the requirements of the Horizon 2020 funding scheme.

While researchers are increasingly required to manage, store and share their data, it is not clear who can provide the necessary support. Academic librarians often contribute to the administration of Open Access journal publishing, and many take on the role of institutional research data management, although the key aspects of data curation (appraisal, preservation, cataloguing, disposal) map more closely to recordkeeping theory and practice.

This paper will provide an overview of the author’s research to date, including a literature review on the connections between data management and recordkeeping practices and contemporary and historical roles for recordkeepers in managing research data.

Preliminary findings from two original pieces of research will then be presented:
A survey of Irish organisations which assessed data management practices and the contribution of recordkeepers will be described. The findings of four in-depth case studies will be also be summarised, which provide additional insights into the processes and policies implemented at Irish organisations, and the potential impacts of recordkeepers’ skills. Finally, the next steps for the research will be outlined.

Characterizing The Diffusion of Research Data Management Services: Jinfang Niu

Research Data Management Services (RDMS) is essentially a topic in archives management due to the unique and unpublished nature of research data. Nevertheless, most existing studies on RDMS have been conducted by library scholars and librarians. These studies are surveys, interviews, participant observations and case studies of RDMS provided by libraries, RDM training needed by librarians, as well as data management practices and needs of researchers. They mainly report facts specific to particular libraries and researchers. In contrast, this study attempts to characterize the diffusion of RDMS through the lens of the Diffusion of Innovation (DOI) theories. The author gathered and analysed various kinds of literature about the development of RDMS in particular libraries, and identified the following characteristics of the diffusion of RDMS: First, the diffusion of RDMS is a decentralized process with high-degree of reinvention. Second, the diffusion path of RDMS is a complicated web, which involves the diffusion of the various component innovations of RDMS, each of which supports one particular RDMS function. Third, RDMS adoption is often a continuous process that lasts several years, and it is often tricky to decide when RDMS is adopted in a particular library. Fourth, existing adopters can be roughly categorized as innovators and late adopters. Innovators conduct much original research in order to create RDMS and they often serve as change agents in diffusing their RDMS and related innovations to other libraries. In contrast, late adopters usually learn from early adopters and use their innovations for establishing their own RDMS. Fifth, communication channels utilized in diffusing RDMS deviate slightly from those reported in general Diffusion of Innovations (DOI) theories. Scholarly communication and inter-organization networks emerge as new types of communication channels that are not well accounted for in existing DOI theories. This project contributes valuable findings to general DOI theories. However, it does have limitations. Gathered literature provides incomplete and uneven information for RDMS adopters. This makes it difficult to identify adopter categories and test many generalizations in DOI theories. In order to overcome these limitations, surveys and interviews will be conducted in the future.

Integrating data management into the education of versatile information professionals: Armin Straube

The presentation will discuss how archives and records management, as well as data management, was integrated into a Master of Library and Information Studies at UCL Qatar.


Seminar Room 6

Information workers can support grassroots movements for liberation: Erin Glasco 

In my lightning talk, I will discuss the various ways in which information professionals can be of service to grassroots movements for liberation. I’m hopeful that there are many of us in the field who would like to be involved in activist work, but don’t have a clear idea of how to do that. I believe that we possess unique skills to be of service to various campaigns, agitations and fights for liberation.

The bulk of my talk will center on my role as the Research Team Lead for the #NoCopAcademy campaign. In addition to helping to fulfill the research needs of the campaign, I also filed FOIA requests, was a co-litigant on a case in which we sued the Mayor’s office for not producing records we request via FOIA, and helped to co-author a report about why the cop academy should not be built.

#NoCopAcademy is an intergenerational, multi-race, Black youth-led campaign of more than 100 grassroots organizations fighting against the building of a $95 million police training facility in the West Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago. West Garfield Park is a majority Black, impoverished neighborhood that has seen systemic disinvestment from the city for decades.

Making Standards in Digital Evidence: Stacy Wood

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has been involved in forensic science since the 1920s, issuing standards for the integrity and analysis of myriad forms of evidence including fingerprints, firearms, DNA and digital evidence. In recent years, it has produced probabilistic network models for evidence analysis, confronted the complex security issues precipitated by cloud-based storage, undertaken research on image-based biometric recognition and video technologies. NIST maintains both formal and informal relationships with various bodies within the criminal legal system through (now defunct) programs such as the National Commission on Forensic Science as well as with entities in the private sector who develop technologies for law enforcement and for attorneys. This paper foregrounds the contemporary projects of NIST’S Digital Evidence Subcommittee in order to provide a framework for understanding the development and circulation of standards for records and digital evidence that circulate or fail to circulate throughout the criminal legal system. Simultaneously, law enforcement agencies are developing in-house policies, archivists and digital preservations are developing their own standards for digital evidence, judges consider both federal and local standards of evidence, and documents specifically created to aid in courtroom narrative such as reenactments or digital renderings continue to fall outside of the standards creation process. Mapping the terrain of these domains and analyzing their points of convergence and divergence will provide a challenge to communities invested in understanding emergent rhetorics of evidence and authenticity. How are concepts of authenticity, trust and context operationalized in these environments? What are the challenges for empowering and mobilizing communities to speak back to or interrogate these techniques and technologies?

The Inverted Archive: Thresholds, Authenticity and the Demos: James Lowry

The concept of the archival threshold as the delimitation between document and evidence is rooted in a legal theory that assumes trust in public institutions and officers. In ‘post-truth’ and ‘post-trust’ societies, this ‘fides publica’ can no longer be assumed. It is not only in recent mass abstentions or protest votes that we find evidence of dissatisfaction with public institutions and officials, but in the technical and infrastructural mechanisms that are being designed by communities, industries and other networks to bypass the places and positions in which public trust more commonly used to reside. The most prominent example is the rise of bitcoin. Distributed ledger technology is being used to work around banks, using peer-to-peer authentication as a way of publicly ‘witnessing’ and validating transactions. This is a return to public witnessing as necessary for the valid execution of a transaction. I will argue that open government data is performing the same diffusion of authenticating power in the civic sphere as bitcoin is in the commercial sphere, returning the transaction to publicity, and authority to the demos. The logic of open government data is reversing the archival threshold. While this has important implications for governance, I will discuss this changed way of working in the context of Deleuze’s concept of a ‘crisis of the institutions’, which he saw as part of a shift to a ‘society of control’. I will consider what the crisis of the institutions means for archives, noting that Deleuze observed that the new mechanisms of domination would be participatory when he wrote: ‘Many young people strangely boast of being “motivated”; they re-request apprenticeships and permanent training. It’s up to them to discover what they’re being made to serve, just as their elders discovered, not without difficulty, the telos of the disciplines’.

From Data Tables to Databases: Tracing the Roots of Data Stewardship in the US Federal Government: Adam Kriesberg

Recent policies implemented by scientific research and funding agencies around the world have sharpened the focus on data management, curation, and preservation. These activities have placed archivists, digital preservationists, technologists, and scientists in conversation with each other in search of ways to steward data in digital environments. In the United States, the federal government’s interest in research data management dates to early work in agricultural science in the 19th century. When the United State Department of Agriculture was established in 1862, the newly appointed Commissioner was charged to “acquire and preserve in his(sic) Department all information concerning agriculture which he can obtain by means of books and…by the collection of statistics, and by any other appropriate means within his power.” ( This language places data stewardship and preservation at the heart of USDA’s mission and makes it unique among cabinet-level departments in the federal government.

This paper will draw from historical USDA sources to situate data management within the broader set of scientific research activities taking place at the agency in its early years. Using departmental publications such as the annual “Report of the Secretary of Agriculture,” I seek to uncover how USDA employees managed scientific data, preserved it, and made it available to colleagues as well as researchers outside of the department. Tracing the department’s involvement in data management to more recent years, I will compare these historical reports with contemporary USDA publications to examine how the department’s understanding of and position towards data has shifted over time.

Through a deeper understanding of the historical trajectory of data curation and management in the US federal government, this paper concludes by seeking to identify questions and challenges posed by the current proliferation of digital environments. How has the federal government’s attitude towards federally-funded data shifted over time? What are the organizational challenges inherent in committing resources for preserving digital content after storing similar information in analog format for centuries, if not longer?


Friday 12 July

10:30 – 12:00

Seminar Room 2

Fostering Undergraduate #eurekamoments in the Archives: Carol Street

While intensive archival research is typically reserved for graduate and doctoral students, there are significant benefits to undergraduates, as well as their institutions, from opening special collections for scholarly research by highly motivated undergraduates. The Learning Lab program at the University of Kentucky Special Collections Research Center opens the door to special collections by inviting undergraduates to apply to their year-long, paid internship program where a cohort of students learns principles of archival theory, arrangement and description, provenance, security, handling, and privacy to prepare them for their intensive research project. Students are selected from any discipline at the University of Kentucky, with particular attention paid to students from disciplines less likely to utilize the archives, such as STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and design, and math)-related majors.

Each intern chooses to process an unprocessed or under-processed collection and conducts student-driven research inquiry based on the collection. Students must disseminate their research in an academic format; for some students that will be poster or oral presentations at national and international conferences, and for others that could take the form of a journal article or even a creative format, such as a musical performance. Analysis of student assessments administered at the beginning, mid-year, and end of the internship indicate students derive much more than advanced research skills from their participation in the program. For many students, their internship was the highlight of their entire undergraduate education. They were committed to the research, felt their work held real world consequences, and developed advanced communication skills from disseminating their findings. This paper will discuss how an archival internship program devoted to undergraduate research can simultaneously build institutional interest in archives while affecting an undergraduate’s education in powerful and unlikely ways.

Exploring and collaborating: Rediscovering the RUSI Museum through student engagement: Kristen Schuster and Jacqui Grainger

Our paper consists of three parts. First, we will provide an overview of the history of the Royal United Service Institute (RUSI) museum, its collections, its closure and the dispersal of its collections. Our discussion will reflect on the challenges of undertaking a collective memory project that represents the rise and fall of empire. To synthesize these two points, during this section of our presentation we will discuss the museum’s history and will highlight how digital cultural heritage initiatives have catalyzed an interest in digitizing and archiving RUSI’s collection records.

Following our review of RUSI’s lost museum, we will discuss the value of academics forming partnerships with cultural heritage institutions. This portion of our presentation will outline and analyze our experiences managing two student projects hosted at RUSI. Over the past two academic terms, students enrolled in Digital Archives and Research Data Management have explored methods for implementing best practice guidelines for digitizing, organizing and preserving museum records. Our discussion of student work will reflect on methods for designing engaging curriculum that encourages students to practice record keeping for cultural heritage institutions.

The final part of our presentation will address future plans for developing digital tools and infrastructures for a ‘lost museum’. We will discuss the roles we envision student work playing in our project – both pedagogically and practically. Overall, our presentation will offer strategies for integrating theories and practices from archives and records management into digital humanities curriculum.

A case study of imagined archives design by young pioneers –Introduction to the education project Future Archivists in China: Wenhong Zhou

Since 2017, an education project called “Future archivists” has been launched by Sichuan University in China, which aims to innovative young powers of archival community by encouraging them to outline future archivists and archives within a both archival professional and new media training program. The project is mentioned as representative education case by Teaching Committee of Archival Science of Ministry of Education. It has gained participation of more than 160 undergraduate students in Sichuan University and 10 mentors across China, who have jointly presented their imagination design on future archivists and archives on most popular Chinese social media platform WeChat. Until December in 2019, 30 multi-media future archive conceptual designs like Mirror archives, Archive Planet, Food Archives, Communication Archives, Personal 3D Archives and Time-machine Archives have been published online and targeted over 200 thousand audiences. The paper introduces the background of the project related to reform of social governance, technology advancement, and education upgrading in China, which posts both opportunities and challenges to archival fields to explore future pictures. Then the paper tells how the project was conducted including the professional teaching curriculum, online and offline observation and investigation of archives and other stakeholders, new media training, the team setting and operation process. Further, the paper presents overall imaginations on archives design by those young pioneers who are potential archivists in China with excellent cases. On the one hand, these imaginations will show their basic understanding and future expectations about what record and archive will be and include, and what archives will be based on their profiling archivists as information professionals, story-tellers, justice soldier, asset managers, governance leaders and so on. On the other hand, the paper will also discuss how these imaginations on future archive design connect with society and people, put forward new technologies and their application and presentation in archives, and propose skills to use new media to present their imaginations. At last, the paper will make a conclusion of theoretical analysis of these designs and future project implementation which calls for a cooperation beyond China.

Undergraduate Student Engagement and Instruction in University Archives: Des Alaniz

This project, supported by the AERI Emerging Archival Scholars Program, seeks to understand how academic archivists interact with students as creators and users of archival records, and the opportunities and restraints on archivists engaging in this work. Outreach and engagement are two core areas of archival practice, however there is little existing research on how archivists and special collections librarians engage in these activities in academic spaces, and course offerings in MLS programs are inconsistent at best. Using in-depth surveys with six academic archivists in the United States, this study seeks to understand how academic archivists experience working in these spaces and how they engage with students and student life. This project seeks to understand how archivists are able to engage with and document student experiences on campus, and the varying factors impacting this work, such as funding and collaborative partners on campus or in the wider local community.


Seminar Room 5

Research on Open Government Data Quality Evaluation Index System: Jiarui Sun

Open government data plays an important role in the modernization of government governance, social development and national competitiveness. Open data quality is one of the key factors in determining the value of open data, and it is also the key to data pricing and trading. At present, the research on open data quality mostly focuses on the overall evaluation of the open data platform, but lacks the fine-grained quality evaluation of the open data in the platform.
In this study, modified Delphi method is used to formulate and select open data quality evaluation indexes on the basis of academic literatures, international standards from ISO, laws and policies from different countries related to data quality and open data. Besides, the Analytic Hierarchy Process is used to allocate the weights of data quality evaluation indexes, so as to construct a relatively comprehensive, systematic and scientific open data quality evaluation index system.

Case Analysis and Enlightenment of web archiving of The National Archives of the UK: Yi Chen

The paper undertook an in-depth study of The National Archives of UK aimed at providing suggestions for web archive work in China, which can further the study of archive management theories and methods in the Internet era. With case analysis and text analysis, we analyze the UKGWA’s policies, summarize the implementation methods, explore the specific characteristics collection resources and present the achievements of the archive work. Based on the reality of China, the paper proposes countermeasures on the four aspects: strengthening the construction of web archiving system, establishing a multi-subject cooperation framework, conducting web archive resource integration work based on open and utilization, and building business and technical capabilities for intellectual support.


The Application of Blockchain: Building Trust at the Beginning of Electronic Records Lifecycle: Ping Wang and Muyan Li

Trust management is essential throughout the life cycle of electronic records. During the lifecycle of electronic records, maintaining the authenticity, integrity and reliability in the current stage is the premise and foundation for continuing the trust of electronic records after filing. In the era of big data, there are circumstances which magnify the difficulties of protecting the trustworthiness of electronic records:

(1) Virtual network reduces the authenticity and accuracy of electronic records in each business node.
(2) It is hard to guarantee the completeness of record links and metadata in the interaction and storage during massive data delivery, which affects the availability and reliability of records.
(3) Non-directional data sharing has problems such as the access control and privacy protection, which cause risks in the security of electronic records.

This study introduces the concept of blockchain with its technical characteristics to build a trust management architecture of electronic records based on “Consortium Chain + Private Chain”, proposes the concept of information block for electronic records, and to establish the records information block using encapsulation model, delivery model and storage model, expecting to solve the current trust management issues.

The blockchain architecture is divided into four layers: user layer, API layer, platform layer, and base layer which includes data layer and technology layer. It also uses double chain drive: Consortium Chain and Private Chain. The former establishes external contact to achieve data synchronization, sharing and tamper-proofing of data through consensus mechanism, and to control access nodes to ensure the information authenticity and data security. The later stabilizes internal structure to protect the integrity of links and metadata in distributed ledger, which applies the smart contract to improve the efficiency of the system’s business process and to ensure its standardization and accuracy.

In the encapsulation model, both timestamp and digital signature are used to maintain the traceability and availability of data. The delivery model applies asymmetric encryption to prevent information leakage and malicious tampering, and only the nodes on the authorization chain can be accessed. To protect the integrity of record links and metadata, the storage model adopts the distributed ledger, which prepares for the subsequent transformation of archival bonds.

The Spacial Expansion of Public Cultural Service in National Archives of China:Research on LAM-based Collaboration: Han Liu and Yaolin Zhou

The National Archives of China is a scientific and cultural institution established by the central and local Party committees and governments at all levels for the permanent preservation of archives. At the beginning of the foundation of the People’s Republic of China, the National Archives took assisting government affairs as its own responsibility, which had a strong political character and was less in line with the public’s cultural needs. In the 1980s, with the deepening of China’s reform and opening up and the establishment of policy of “opening historical archives”, the door of archives was gradually opened, and the public had the right to use archives. In 1997, Report on the Work of the Government defined archives as public cultural facilities for the first time, and established the public and cultural attributes of archives. Since then, the Chinese government has issued a number of policies to support and encourage the construction of archives, and continuously promoted the improvement of the public cultural service capacity of archives. However, up to now, the construction of public cultural service space of National Archives is still relatively slow, and the research on how to expand public cultural service space of National Archives is basically blank, which needs further research from the perspective of space theory.
Taking the space of National Archives as the research object, this paper divides the spatial hierarchy of modern archives into two basic forms, namely, physical space and digital space, and dialyzes its humanistic, memory and communication characteristics of modern archives which will provide new thinking and new paths for the expansion of archives space in the new era. The authors point out that the spacial expansion of public cultural service in National Archives of China can construct a multi-dimensional archives space from the subject dimension, resource dimension and technology dimension. Specifically, in the subject dimension, with human as the medium, it shows the charm of archival culture and creates a democratic and harmonious humanistic space in the open, inclusive and equal space atmosphere. In the resource dimension, with resources as the medium, we should not only increase the volume of archives resources, but also constantly innovate the forms of archival cultural products and services to build a real three-dimensional memory space. In the technology dimension, with technology as the medium, the interactive space scheme is designed into the physical archives space to enhance the user experience and communication. Meanwhile, the network interactive technology represented by social media constructs the technical service space to form a stable virtual community of archives and expand the deep interactive archives communication space. In addition, the National Archives should actively seek cooperation with libraries, museums and other institutions (LAM collaboration), learn from the achievements of the library’s maker space and Museum exhibition space construction, and jointly build and expand the space of public cultural services.


Seminar Room 6

Identifying the Value and Impact of the Ontario Jewish Archives: Wendy Duff, Yoonhee Lee, Henria Aton, Donna Bernardo-Ceriz and Dara Solomon

Within the last decade, community archives have increasingly become objects of study within the field of archival science. During this time, the increasing calls to evaluate programs and services have caused scholars and archival professionals to seek new ways to understand how effectively a program or organization performs, to gather input for evidence-based decision-making, and to demonstrate an organization’s impact on its community or stakeholders. By nature, community archives are unique organizations and are often established in response to the heritage, identity and memory-preserving needs of a particular group. Their diversity means that traditional evaluative measures often do not capture the breadth of the impact on their community. This research project reports on a pilot study that sought to identify effective methodologies that shed light on the impact of a community archive, the Ontario Jewish Archives, Blankenstein Family Heritage Centre (OJA).

The research project sought to apply and test the recent archival theory that community archives in particular require wide-ranging methodologies to identify their impact with the OJA. The OJA acquires, preserves, and makes accessible records that chronicle Ontario’s Jewish history. The OJA’s archival collection, educational initiatives, exhibitions, programs ,and social media presence reach a multi-generational audience, including scholars, students, genealogists, and members of the Jewish community seeking information about their community’s and family’s past. Volunteers form a significant part of OJA projects with many long-time volunteers contributing to archival work, research, and other initiatives. As a not-for-profit, the OJA operates under the umbrella of the funding organization United Jewish Appeal (UJA) Federation of Greater Toronto. Informed by recent archival theories on impact and a critical understanding of the OJA’s organizational culture and the Ontario Jewish community, this pilot case study will identify methodologies that demonstrate the impact and value of the OJA. The project used focused groups, semi-structured interviews and a questionnaire to gather data from Board Members, volunteers, UJA Federation staff, OJA staff, researchers and teachers who use the Archives. Furthermore, the student researcher was embedded in the day-to-day operations of the OJA and worked as an archivist under the mentorship and supervision of the managing director of the OJA and reflected on their experience as a form of autoethnography. The paper will report on the methods and their effectiveness.

Postcolonial Challenges of a Minority Religious Archive in South Asia: Henria Aton and Mark E. Balmforth

Decades after independence, core questions remain for many South Asian archives established during colonial rule: whose history is being preserved, for what purpose, and who will pay for it? Increased affiliation between postcolonial governments and majority religions—such as Hindutva in India and Buddhist nationalism in Sri Lanka—is also an unmistakable part of South Asia’s political present. This political landscape constitutes a significant obstacle for the archival collections of South Asia’s minority religions. This case study of a Christian institutional archive in northern Sri Lanka explores the complex postcolonial challenges facing minority religious archives in South Asia.

The Bishop’s House archive, located roughly 40 kilometres from India’s southern coast in Sri Lanka’s Jaffna Peninsula, is the current repository of the records of the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India (JDCSI). The institutional inheritors of the American Ceylon Mission (ACM), the JDCSI is the custodian of a range of materials from early nineteenth-century missionary meeting minutes, journals, and correspondence, to the post-independence papers of three Tamil bishops and documentation of the JDCSI’s existence throughout the war (1983–2009). The collection is the most valuable resource for the study of Jaffna’s nineteenth-century history currently held on the Peninsula. Today, it is affected by a multi-layered conflict between a United States-based organization with historical and financial ties to the ACM, the JDCSI, and a dissenting group called the Church of the American Ceylon Mission.

This paper considers how disagreement over leadership and funding exacerbates factors that contribute to archival instability in the region, including climate and violence against minorities. Focusing on regionally-specific issues of caste and trust, the paper provides the historical, political, and environmental context necessary for a robust analysis of the Bishop’s House archive’s condition. We argue that the disputes surrounding this archive reflect the complex role played by archival spaces in the ongoing construction of historical, religious, and political memory in Sri Lanka.

Alternative to deeds of gift: Krystell Jimenez and Xaviera Flores

In working with community archives, particularly communities of color, appropriation of historical materials is a common concern. Communities can find themselves working with special collections at larger institutions due to financial or capacity constraints, which leads to concern over losing control of their own history and materials. This paper looks at one case: a joint project between the Chicano Studies Research Center (CSRC) at UCLA and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights based in Los Angeles. The CSRC has sought to change language and contracts to better reflect a more collaborative approach in which communities do not have to give up custody of their materials while still being aware of legal and institutional challenges that archives may face. Post-custodial approaches and alternative custodial models are promising for similar projects.

What are we talking about when we talk about ‘Ethiopian Archives’? Highlighting some conceptual conundrums: Ayantu Tibeso

For a country that is home to more than 50 distinct cultural, linguistic, and social communities, Ethiopia continues to be portrayed as a culturally and historically monolithic entity in both scholarly literature and popular imaginations. The monolithic depiction of Ethiopia continues to be framed through the discourse of the “Greater Ethiopia” narrative—which reads akin to: an ancient Christian civilization with a three thousand years old history, long history of statehood, the Ge’ez script, Coptic Christianity, the monarchy, and victory against a white colonial power during the scramble for Africa. These themes are the subject of dozens of historical, anthropological, linguistic, philosophical and architectural inquiries and are closely aligned with what the dominant Ethiopian elites consider to be the national identity, history and culture. Despite over three decades of scholarship critiquing the conceptual limitations of the ‘Greater Ethiopia’ framework, its use persists within Ethiopian historiography and in scholarship on archives. This paper explores some of the unique conceptual conundrums the continued use of the ‘Greater Ethiopia’ framework poses for the study of archives in Ethiopia. It focuses on identifying ways in which this framework limits the kinds of questions, archival concerns and themes that are explored, with an eye towards drawing out lessons for building alternative frameworks. By positioning the discussion within the emerging body of work on critical archival studies, it also raises questions about methodological nationalism within the field.