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Archival Futures: The Future of Archives

Cox, Richard J (2013) Archival Futures: The Future of Archives. 331 - 352.

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We are buried in documents, and more and more of these are digital. Concerns with the durability of digital documentation generate many fears about the future of archives. Despite the threats to this new doc- umentary universe, this essay argues there are many potential futures for archives. In this transitional era from analog to digital, there is much to give us hope about the future for our documentary heritage. Given that documenting ourselves and our activities are essential aspects of our human nature, we can be sure that we will devise new ways of preserving our sources in a digital world. Archives will not disappear, nor will archivists, but they will be (have to be) different. Many of the current challenges are merely extensions of much older challenges, and history tells us that essential and varied archival materials will be pre- served. However bleak they may sometimes see the future, archivists are needed now more than ever to engage with the issues related to an increasingly complicated documentary infrastructure. After all, we are not facing a documentary apocalypse, but just another challenging transitional era. And there are many reasons to be optimistic – gener- ated from educating the next generation of archivists, successes in preserving records supported by a wide variety of technologies, and gaining new public support and understanding even if we need to be cautious as we peer into the future.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Cox, Richard Jrjcox@pitt.eduRJCOX
Date: September 2013
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Volume: 9
Publisher: Rowman and Littlefield
Page Range: 331 - 352
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Information Sciences > Library and Information Science
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: archives, archives, future, archival, education, archives, policy
Article Type: Research Article
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2014 16:15
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2020 19:07


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