Contexts built and found: a pilot study on the process of archival meaning-making
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- Duff, W.M., Monks-Leeson, E., Galey, A. et al. Arch Sci (2012) 12: 69. doi:10.1007/s10502-011-9145-2
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Over the last 20 years, humanities and archival scholars have theorized the ways in which archives imbue records with meaning. However, archival scholars have not sufficiently examined how users understand the meaning of the records they find. Building on the premise that how users come to make meaning from records is greatly in need of examination, this paper reports on a pilot study of four book history students and their processes of archival meaning-making. We focus in particular on behaviors of an interpretive rather than forensic nature. This article includes a discussion of the theoretical concepts and scholarly literature that shaped our goals for this paper. It then discusses the methodology and our interpretations of the research findings, before turning to a discussion of the findings’ implications and directions for future work.