‘Encounters with the self: on the nature of archives’ in Hill, Jennie, ed. The Future of Archives and Recordkeeping: A reader, Facet, 2011
“The changes of the past few decades have occasioned a review of what it is that archives are doing as a discipline. These changes have come from several quarters: interdisciplinary engagement with the notion of the archive; technological developments, not least the advent of Web 2.0; and the information explosion and the growth of several allied disciplines, including records and information management. This timely reader asks where the discipline has come from and where it must now go to remain professionally relevant in the 21st century, by negotiating the complex boundaries and borders of the 'state of the archive', in terms of geographical borders and nationalities and disciplinary borders.”
Using examples from literary and critical theory, my chapter encourages archivists to consider the processes of the reader’s engagement with archival material, and thus the future lives the archives may have through that use. From this perspective, cataloguing, such a fundamental element of archival practice, is just one “version” of the archive: the stepping off point for infinite re-iterations and re-presentations of the material.