Archival Science

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

Cultivating archives: meanings and identities

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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