Facet Publishing announce the publication of Archival Futures edited by Caroline Brown.
It is widely acknowledged that the archival discipline is facing a time of change. The digital world has presented changes in how records are created, used, stored and communicated. At the same time, there is increased public debate over issues such as ownership of and access to information and its authenticity and reliability in a networked and interconnected world.
Archival Futures draws on the contributions of a range of international experts to consider the current archival landscape and imagine the archive of the future. Firmly rooted in current professional debate and scholarship, the book offers thought provoking and accessible chapters that aim to challenge and inspire archivists globally and to encourage debate about their futures. Chapters cover the role of archives in relation to individuals, organisations, communities and society; how appraisal, arrangement, description and access might be affected in the future; changing societal expectations in terms of access to information, how information is exchanged, and how things are recorded and remembered; the impact of new technologies, including blockchain and automation; the place of traditional archives and what ‘the archive’ is or might become; the future role of the archive profession; and archives as authentic and reliable evidence
Tom Nesmith (University of Manitoba), said
‘Archives play a unique and powerful role in making the past available for an extraordinary array of current purposes. But do archives have a future, particularly given disruptive changes in communication technologies? Archival Futures addresses this and other challenges to find ways forward for the now pivotal role of archives in society.’
The book will appeal to an international audience of students, academics and practitioners in archival science, records management, and library and information science.
Caroline Brown is Programme Leader for the archives programmes at the Centre for Archive and Information Studies at the University of Dundee where she is also University Archivist.. She is a Chair of Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland’s) Conference Committee, sits on its Professional Development Committee, having formerly served as the Chair of the Education, Training and Development Committee, and is a member of the Executive Committee for ARA Scotland. She is a sits on the Section Bureau of the International Council on Archives Section on Archival Education and is active in ICA/SUV . She is an Arts and Humanities Research Council Peer Review College and Panel Member and has written and spoken on a range of archival and recordkeeping issues. She is the editor of Archives and Recordkeeping: Theory into practice (Facet, 2013).
Jenny Bunn, University College London; Luciana Duranti, University of British Columbia; Joanne Evans, Monash University; Craig Gauld, University of Dundee; Victoria Lemieux, University of British Columbia; Michael Moss, Northumbria University; Gillian Oliver, Monash University; Sonia Ranade, The National Archives; Barbara Reed, consultant; Kate Theimer, writer, speaker and commentator; David Thomas, Northumbria University; Frank Upward, Monash University; Geoffrey Yeo University College London.
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Guest post by Geoffrey Yeo, author of Records, Information and Data: Exploring the role of record-keeping in an information culture
If you look at older books about record-keeping (Hilary Jenkinson’s famous 1922 Manual of Archive Administration, for example), you may notice that information is hardly mentioned at all. Even in the 1970s, when I was among a bunch of students learning about archives and records management, the tutors who instructed us rarely said anything that linked records with information.
But in today’s discussions of record-keeping we hear about information all the time. Some records professionals say that records – and archives – contain information. Some say that records are a kind of information: a kind that needs to be managed in a special way. Others say that ‘information objects’ become records when someone selects them for preservation or captures them in a record-keeping system; or that information is a record when it can be used as evidence. And growing numbers of records managers now affirm that distinctions between records and information are of little importance, that they are disappearing, or that no-one cares about them any longer.
Something very interesting is going on. Records professionals are putting forward a great variety of opinions, but they all connect records – in one way or another – to information. It becomes even more interesting when you look at some of the things that philosophers have said about information. John Searle describes information as ‘one of the most confused and ill-defined notions in contemporary intellectual life’. Fred Dretske points out that ‘if you think information is important … you must have some vague idea of what it is. … It is easy enough to find people who think they know what it is, but very hard to find two people who agree.’ If information is such a nebulous and precarious concept, why does it have such a high profile? Why have records professionals given it so much emphasis in recent years?
Of course, the records profession isn’t the only professional group that has chosen to frame its practices in terms of ‘information’. Librarians, data analysts, statisticians, knowledge managers and computer scientists all claim that their work is focused on information and its capture, control or use. As Dretske puts it, ‘a lot of people these days want their product to be (or at least be intimately related to) information. So everybody ends up talking about his or her product as information. … There is a mess in this area and, as a result, a lot of confusion’.
I’ve explored these questions in my new book Records, Information and Data (Facet Publishing, 2018). In the book, I look at when and how concepts of information (and information management) became fashionable among records professionals. I also investigate the question of how records and information are, or might be, related: a question that isn’t as easy to answer as it might seem. I argue that seeing records in terms of information doesn’t give us a full picture of how records operate. Undoubtedly, users of records may view them as informative. But at the moment of their creation, records aren’t just a matter of information; they have distinctive roles in performing social actions. Many kinds of actions – some simple, others more complex – can be performed using records, and defining records as information crucially overlooks their performative aspects. People may expect to gain information from using records, but information and records aren’t identical. Information isn’t what records contain, or what records are; it’s an intangible benefit that records can offer to their users.
Not everyone will agree with my conclusions. Some, I’m sure, will violently disagree. I’d like to know what other people think. And I’d like to know whether reading my book helps them to focus their thoughts on the place of records and record-keeping in today’s society.
About the author
Geoffrey Yeo is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at University College London. He writes about many different aspects of archives and records management. His personal webpage is at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/information-studies/geoffrey-yeo.
J. Searle, Making the Social World (Oxford University Press, 2010), p.71
F. Dretske, ‘The Metaphysics of Information’, in Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Information, ed. A. Pichler & H. Hrachovec (Ontos, 2008), pp.273-4.
Facet Publishing announce the release of Records, Information and Data: Exploring the role of record-keeping in an information culture by Geoffrey Yeo.
In a society that increasingly emphasizes digital information and data, questions arise about the place of longer-established concepts such as records and archives. Records, Information and Data sets out to investigate the relationships between information (or data) and records, and, to examine the place of record-making and record-keeping in today’s information culture.
Eric Ketelaar, Professor Emeritus of Archivistics at the University of Amsterdam said, “Yeo’s book argues that the prevalent discourse which equates records simply with information or data is wrong. His innovative analysis of the performativity of records results in a fascinating new conceptual and practical understanding of the roles of records and archives in social action. Professionals in handling records, information and data, as well as users of records and archives and everyone interested in ‘the archive’, will gain from this perceptive and highly readable book a new comprehension of past, present and future information cultures.”
The book starts with an exploration of the concepts of records and archives; setting today’s record-keeping and archival practices in their historical context whilst examining changing perceptions of how these concepts are understood. It asks whether and how far understandings derived from the fields of information management and data science/administration can enhance our knowledge of how records function. Finally, it argues that concepts of information and data cannot provide a fully adequate basis for reflective professional thinking about records and that record-keeping practices still have distinct and important roles to play in contemporary society.
Professor Emeritus at The University of British Columbia, Terry Eastwood praised “Yeo’s searching examination” and said that “everyone in the records field or aspiring to enter it should read this book and ponder its many cogent arguments.”
Geoffrey Yeo is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Information Studies at University College London, UK. His previous work for Facet includes Managing records: a handbook of principles and practice (with Elizabeth Shepherd, 2003), and Managing records in global financial markets (with Lynn Coleman, Victoria Lemieux and Rod Stone, 2011).
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Facet Publishing have announced the release of Engaging with Records and Archives: Histories and theories
Engaging with Records and Archives showcases the myriad ways in which archival ideas and practices are being engaged and developed and offers a selection of original, insightful and imaginative papers by emerging and internationally renowned scholars, taken from the Seventh International Conference on the History of Records and Archives (I-CHORA 7).
The book, edited by Fiorella Foscarini, Heather MacNeil, Bonnie Mak and Gillian Oliver, reveals the richness of archival thinking through compelling examples from a wide variety of views of records, archives and archival functions, spanning diverse regions, communities, disciplinary perspectives and time that will captivate the reader. Examples include the origins of contemporary grassroots archival activism in Poland, the role of women archivists in early 20th century England, the management of records in the Dutch East Indies in the 19th century, the relationship between Western and Indigenous cultures in North America and other modern archival conundrums.
The editors said, “Today, more than ever before, everyone, not only archives specialists, would benefit from a deeper and better informed engagement with archival objects and practices as they become increasingly engrained in our daily lives, from the pervasiveness of archival materials on the web, to the use of archive-based knowledge in all sciences, to the uncertainty about the preservation of our digital memories that we may all ex
perience sooner or later. The 11 essays selected for inclusion in this book explore different ways of historicizing and theorizing record making, recordkeeping and archiving pr
actices from a range of disciplinary perspectives and through the eyes of creators, custodians and users.”
Fiorella Foscarini PhD is an associate professor in the Faculty of
Information at the University of Toronto. She is Co-editor in Chief of the Records Management Journal and co-author of Records Management and Information Culture (Facet 2014)
Heather MacNeil PhD is a professor in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto where she teaches courses in the areas of archival theory and practice and the history of record keeping.
Bonnie Mak PhD is an associate professor at the University of Illinois, jointly appointed in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science and the Program in Medieval Studies. She teaches courses in the history and future of the book, reading practices, and knowledge production.
Gillian Oliver PhD is an associate professor at Victoria Univeristy of Wellington. She is the co-author of Records Management and Information Culture (Facet 2014) and Digital Curation, 2nd edition (Facet 2016) and is Co-editor in Chief of the journal Archival Science.
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The No-nonsense Guide to Archives and Recordkeeping is ideal for professionals involved in the management of archives and records, especially if they are just starting out or without formal training.
The book covers all aspects of recordkeeping and archives management. It follows the records’ journey from creation, through the application of classification and access techniques, evaluation for business, legal and historical value and finally to destruction or preservation and access in the archive.
Based on the internationally renowned training days run by the author and her business partner, the book deals with records and archives in all formats. It utilizes checklists, practical exercises, sample documentation, case studies and helpful diagrams to ensure a very accessible and pragmatic approach, allowing anyone to get to grips with the basics quickly.
The book is divided into four main work areas:
- current records: including creation, filing, classification and security
- records management: including aims, risks, planning, preparation and delivery
- archives management: including collecting policies, intellectual property rights, appraisal, digitization and outreach
- archival preservation: including policy, disaster prevention and repositories.
Author Margaret Crockett said, “managing records and archives is really interesting and rewarding but it is also really important: if we can’t tame our paper and digital mountains into manageable documentation which tells the story of our lives, our organisations and our societies we cannot prove the things we need to prove and lose our memory of the past. My book aims to set out clearly all you need to know to understand the basic principles and concepts which underpin this often underestimated but crucial activity”.
More information: http://www.facetpublishing.co.uk/title.php?id=048552#.VlRCwXbhDcs
Sample chapter: http://www.booksonix.co.uk/facetpublishing/9781856048552.pdf
This presentation takes you chapter-by-chapter through Caroline Brown’s new edited collection, Archives and Recordkeeping: Theory into Practice.