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Archives and Recordkeeping: Theory into practice


This groundbreaking text demystifies archival and recordkeeping theory and its role in modern day practice. The book's great strength is in articulating some of the core principles and issues that shape the discipline and the impact and relevance they have for the 21st century professional. Using an accessible approach, it outlines and explores key literature and concepts and the role they can play in practice. Leading international thinkers and practitioners from the archives and records management world, Jeannette Bastian, Alan Bell, Anne Gilliland, Rachel Hardiman, Eric Ketelaar, Jennifer Meehan and Caroline Williams, consider the concepts and ideas behind the practicalities of archives and records management to draw out their importance and relevance. Key topics covered include: • Concepts, roles and definitions of records and archives • Archival appraisal • Arrangement and description • Ethics for archivists and records managers • Archives, memories and identities • The impact of philosophy on archives and records management • Does technological change marginalize recordkeeping theory? Readership: This is essential reading for students and educators in archives and recordkeeping and invaluable as a guide for practitioners who want to better understand and inform their day-to-day work. It is also a useful guide across related disciplines in the information sciences and humanities.
Introduction - Caroline Brown 1. Records and archives: concepts, roles and definition - Caroline Williams 2. Archival appraisal: practising on shifting sand - Anne J. Gilliland 3. Arrangement and description: between theory and practice - Jennifer Meehan 4. Ethics for archivists and records managers - Jeannette A. Bastian 5. Archives, memories and identities - Eric Ketelaar 6. Under the influence: the impact of philosophy on archives and records management - Rachel Hardiman 7. Participation vs principle: does technological change marginalize recordkeeping theory? - Alan R. Bell.

Caroline Brown is the Programme Leader and Honorary Lecturer for the archives programmes at the Centre for Archive and Information Studies, University of Dundee, where she is also Deputy 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. Recent publications include an article on memory in Archival Science and two editions of Archival Science for which she was guest editor.

"Archives and Recordkeeping: Theory into practice is described on its back cover as "essential reading for students and educators" in the field. I could not agree with this more. If you are a professor of archives or recordkeeping courses, put this book on your syllabus. If you are a student preparing to enter the profession, pick this book up. In addition, those of us who are already working in the archival profession should look at the essays in this text to expand our own understanding of the historical and theoretical contexts of the world in which we work. In particular, current professionals should closely read Jennifer Meehan's chapter on arrangement and description and Rachel Hardiman's fabulous discussion of philosophy in chapter 6. These two chapters are the cream of a very good crop.

The American Archivist

This book is a welcome reminder of what archivists like best: talk about archives. For those who originally studied archive theory 30 or more years ago, it is particularly striking how many sources there are now compared to the relatively few published sources available on archival theory then. The bringing together of past and current thinking in this way will hopefully encourage and inform existing and future debate. For more recently qualified archivists, the book is a welcome chance to revisit some of the theoretical thinking underpinning archive work, in the light of the issues they have faced in their professional experiences since leaving university. For those new to the profession or studying to qualify, the book will provide an overview of milestones of archival thinking, with references to further reading.

Archives and Records excellent introduction to the many and varied strands of thought in recordkeeping. The thorough bibliographies provided by the authors will enable the reader to go on their own voyage of discovery.

Archives and Manuscripts

...ideal for anyone looking to seriously develop their theoretical knowledge of the archival and records management disciplines.


This book provides a synthesis and an overview of all theories concerning the management of documents and archives, which were developed during the last century to the present...I encourage both professionals and students to read this book to complement and cultivate their theoretical knowledge in document management and archives.


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