Archival Science

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 227–245 | Cite as

Democratising or privileging: the democratisation of knowledge and the role of the archivist

  • Craig GauldEmail author
Original Paper


This paper will argue that a challenge to the archive has emerged over the past decade with the potential to alter the archival profession and change the role of the archivist as it has been traditionally understood. At its core is a call for the full democratisation of knowledge. Advocates of this movement take on notions of control and mediation in the digital realm, a consequence of which is the potential bypassing of the privileger/gatekeeper. This paper will examine this shift and will argue that now, more than ever, the profession needs to understand and recognise the transformative and democratic effects the archive can have via the act of privileging as it is precisely our continuing reliance upon filtering information for dissemination and preservation that will keep the profession relevant and important in the twenty-first century.


Democratising Privileging Archivist Gatekeeper Evidence Knowledge Access Digital 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Archive and Information Studies, Tower BasementUniversity of DundeeDundeeScotland, UK

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