4 Replies to “Respecter le change inévitable”

  1. Sarah, I took away a similar notion from this weeks readings, that we need to reevaluate archival standards as the records and media types change and evolve. This might be a bit of a stretch, but I worry about the possibility of archivists failing to meet the public’s need to fully satisfy their digital archival needs that private Big Data companies see an opening and new lucrative field to pursue. I know Amazon already is a big player in cloud storage, but I’m curious about what happens when the creators of apps like Uber and Instagram start offering to gather and store your data. They not only know the monetary value in collecting/exploiting data (which is a little scary), but they may not having any knowledge or interest in proper archival practices. We need to stay technologically relevant to do our jobs properly and maybe even keep archiving out of for-profit hands. Again, this is probably a bit of a stretch, but it’s an interesting thing to consider.

    1. I agree and share that same worry that archivists could lose some control over preserving digital items as more for profit companies come into the picture, with the promise to users that they will be able to meet all of their needs. Like you said, places like Amazon, and definitely Google, are in the business of collecting more and more data about individuals for their own monetary gain. I think you’re right that these companies won’t have the necessary knowledge in archival practice, and I bet they’ll probably create their own standard that’s centered around what’s best for the company, not necessarily what’s best for their users. The cynic in me thinks that there is almost no way to stop companies from coming into the digital archival profession as we keep amounting more and more digital objects, but I completely agree that we do need to stay up to speed on any technology advancements. If they do come into our space, we should be prepared by trying to partner with companies early on to help shepherd them in the right direction when it comes to archival standards. By being up to date on standards as well as relevant technologies, we can market ourselves to for profit companies and present it as a win-win situation: they get our expertise, advice and possibly reputable name recognition of our institutions; we get to be involved and maintain some elements of control.

  2. Hi Sarah!

    I completely agree with your blog post (and as I said on Rosemary’s post, I think most of us are in agreement this week). I do wonder, however, how exactly we will as you say, “meet the inevitable changes necessary.” You say that we should review old standards and recreate them as technology changes, but I also think we should do more than that. Maybe we should be more active advocates, the kind who write blog posts and give talks, the kind of advocates who try to shake things up. Respect des fonds is so entrenched in the archival profession that I think it will take along time before any widespread change happens.

    Or, like I expressed in Rosemary’s post, maybe we should find some sort of middle ground. Is it really necessary to uproot everything? Is there no way that we can use provenance with digital records, copies and all? It’s a complicated issue and I realize that we won’t solve it in one blog post, one semester, or probably even in the next ten years. But I think it’s an issue worth discussing.


    1. Such a good point about advocacy. We’ve talked in various classes about how libraries and archives need to advocate for themselves in the community (which is obviously very important), but as new people in the profession (or as Dr. Heger says “Baby Archivists” – love this) we should try to challenge the status quo of archival procedure to ensure that it’s still relevant to today’s mediums. Like you alluded to in Rosemary’s post, I don’t think we need to uproot everything, but suggest some practical changes as needed. No need to throw the baby out with the bathwater; just fix what needs to be updated.

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