Archival Science

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 19–33 | Cite as

Cultivating archives: meanings and identities

  • Eric Ketelaar
Original paper


By cultivating archives through successive activations, people and communities define their identities. In these activations, the meanings of archives are constructed and reconstructed. Archives are not a static artifact imbued with the record creator’s voice alone, but a dynamic process involving an infinite number of stakeholders over time and space. Thus, archives are never closed, but open into the future. Furthermore, digital archives are always in a state of becoming, being created and recreated by technologies of migration and reconstruction.


Archives Meaning making Identities 



This paper is a revision of an address given at the congress “The Future of Memory: The Digital Archival Heritage”, Santiago de Compostela, 18–19 November 2010. Parts were also presented in 2009 in seminars at Monash University, Melbourne; Gakushuin University, Tokyo; and in my valedictory address given at the University of Amsterdam (Ketelaar 2009b). I also would like to thank Alejandro Delgado Gómez and the archives service of the Congreso de los Diputados in Madrid, for providing me with a reproduction of one of the two manuscript originals of the Coleccion 1811–1813


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AmsterdamAmsterdamNetherlands

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