In a previous post I referred to Mark Greene’s SAA address, “The Power of Archives: Archivists’ Values and Value in the Post-Modern Age.” The full text is now available on the SAA site, but here is the “elevator speech” quote I referred to:
“Archivists are professionals who shoulder the power of defining and providing access to the primary sources of history, primary sources that protect rights, educate students, inform the public, and support a primal human desire to understand our past.”
I like this; it’s about purpose rather than function, or activities such as preservation, appraisal, etc etc, and gets at something essential.
That said, part of what we intend to do on this blog is to speak more concretely about our work, demystify it, share some of its problems, challenges, pitfalls, questions and solutions. As we move forward with digitization, with a new asset management structure, with developing selection policies for online, cellphone and other new forms of media, and as the role of archives within the human rights realm becomes more articulated, we have a lot to figure out.