Archival Science

, 8:295 | Cite as

Documentary genre and digital recordkeeping: red herring or a way forward?

  • Gillian Oliver
  • Yunhyong Kim
  • Seamus Ross
Original paper


The purpose of this paper is to provide a preliminary assessment of the utility of the genre concept for digital recordkeeping. The exponential growth in the volume of records created since the 1940s has been a key motivator for the development of strategies that do not involve the review or processing of individual documents or files. Automation now allows processes at a level of granularity that is rarely, if at all, possible in the case of manual processes, without loss of cognisance of context. For this reason, it is timely to revisit concepts that may have been disregarded because of a perceived limited effectiveness in contributing anything to theory or practice. In this paper, the genre concept and its employability in the management of current and archival digital records are considered, as a form of social contextualisation of a document and as an attractive entry point of granularity at which to implement automation of appraisal processes. Particular attention is paid to the structurational view of genre and its connections with recordkeeping theory.


Genre Structurational theory Recordkeeping continuum 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Information ManagementVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand
  2. 2.School of Computing ScienceRobert Gordon UniversityAberdeenUK
  3. 3.Faculty of InformationUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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