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Archives and memory

TitelArchives and memory
AuteursJimerson, R. C.
Secondaire titelOCLC Systems & Services
VolumeVolume 19
UItgaveNumber 3
Type of ArticleResearch paper

Archives are repositories of memory, providing reliable evidence for examining the past. The four types of memory - personal, collective, historical, and archival - interact in complex and sometimes baffling ways to enable one to understand the past and to draw lessons from it. Archival memory is a social construct reflecting power relationships in society. Archivists and manuscripts curators play the important role of mediator in selecting records for preservation and providing research access to such collections. By recognizing and overcoming the bias toward records of powerful groups in society, archivists can provide a more balanced perspective on the past, and enable future generations to examine and evaluate the activities and contributions of all voices in one’s culture. Archives thus serve an important role in identifying and preserving the documentation that forms one’s historical memory.


Far from being a neutral repository for recorded memory, archives (and archivists) actively mediate and shape the archival record.

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