This is NOT an Archive(s)

This week, I was led to this amazing Tumblr post by Jessica Lingel in which she expresses an oh so familiar frustration for many archivists, librarians and information professionals. She calls here for a basic literacy for those invoking the archive as metaphor, just as archival scholars who use theoretical work and methodological tools from the humanities should be expected to do the same. The freedom with which the archival metaphor slips between institutions, professions, professionals and sometimes even telescopes out to encompass tropes such as memory and history should require closer attention to the limits of that metaphor. As a person who has used this “archival turn” in my own work, I am indebted to this archival metaphor for challenging the boundaries we place around our own field and profession and believe we as archival scholars should take the ways in which other people see our work (or do not see it as the case may be) very seriously. Keep reaching out and collaborating with colleagues in gender studies, media studies, literary studies – at least in my experience, when they have the opportunity to hear about the details of daily archival work, they are fascinated.

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