What We Talk About When We Talk About “Archives”

As Kenneth Price affirms, “current terms describing digital scholarship both clarify and obscure our collective enterprise.” When we talk about the term “archive” we have to define in which context and for what practices. Also, we have to talk about many important terms and definitions for a digital theory, but primarily we are left with a series of questions related to those terms and definitions, as preservation, memory, database, code, as well as the practices of edition, reading and writing in a digital environment. The archive is at the heart of the question of the digital scholarship specificities, yet it is still difficult to define it or (re)name it.

What is an archive? What is in that name? Does it reflect the (new, current) practices associated to the digital scholarship?

Can we use the same terms for digital scholarship until they begin to convey a broader meaning? Or is it better to create new terms? And eventually, how terms are created?

Taking into account our readings (Kenneth Price, Kate Theimer, Vannebar Bush, Susan Schreibman and Wendy Chun), I would like to propose a series of questions associated with the term “archive”:

Can we think of

digital archive/ Thematic Research Collection/ arsenal

Memex (as a precursor or not of Internet)

memory (digital memory)

digital objects / born digital

as an “archive” or a medium to create one?

What are the specificities of the digital archives and digital objects?

Which term would you create for “archive” in DH?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>