How digital networks and services bring the issues of archives out of the realm of institutions and into the lives of everyday users
Archives have become a nexus in the wake of the digital turn. Electronic files, search engines, video sites, and media player libraries make the concepts of “archival” and “retrieval” practically synonymous with the experience of interconnected computing. Archives today are the center of much attention but few agendas. Can archives inform the redistribution of power and resources when the concept of the public library as an institution makes knowledge and culture accessible to all members of society regardless of social or economic status? This book sets out to show that archives need our active support and continuing engagement.
This volume offers three distinct perspectives on the present status of archives that are at once in disagreement and solidarity with each other, from contributors whose backgrounds cut across the theory–practice divide. Is the increasing digital storage of knowledge pushing us toward a turning point in its democratization? Can archives fulfill their paradoxical potential as utopian sites in which the analog and the digital, the past and future, and remembrance and forgetting commingle? Is there a downside to the present-day impulse toward total preservation?
Andrew Lison is assistant professor of media study at the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York.
Marcel Mars is research associate at the Centre for Postdigital Cultures at Coventry University.
Tomislav Medak is a doctoral student at the Centre for Postdigital Cultures at Coventry University.
Rick Prelinger is professor of film and digital media at University of California, Santa Cruz.