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Archival Science

, Volume 2, Issue 1–2, pp 21–43 | Cite as

Archives, memory, and interfaces with the past

  • Margaret Hedstrom
Articles

Abstract

Archival interfaces are critical nodes in archival systems where archivists negotiate and exercise power over the constitution and representation of archives. Drawing on notions of interfaces from physical, technological, and computer systems, archival interfaces are both a metaphor for archivists' roles as intermediaries between documentary evidence and its readers and a tangible set of structures and tools that place archival documents in a context and provide an interpretative framework. Interfaces in modern institutions and technological systems are neither natural nor neutral. In probing archival interfaces, what may appear as neutral and objective processes are revealed as places where archivists determine what constitutes legitimate evidence of the past and shape social memories. The emergence of computer interfaces as an increasingly common mode of user interaction with archives demands that archivists confront the interpretative nature of their work and exploit opportunities to place themselves visibly in the interfaces they construct.

Keywords

archival description archival systems digital documents (electronic records) interfaces representation 

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References

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret Hedstrom
    • 1
  1. 1.School of InformationUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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