Navigation – Plan du site
Troisième partie : Les archivistes
Question d'image...

Archivist friend or foe

Michael Moss
p. 243-253

Texte intégral

  • 1 He wishes to thank James Currall, Tina Fiske, Craig Gauld, Gemma John, Susan Stuart, Alistair Tough (...)
  • 2 Richard Cox makes this point in “Archival Appraisal Alchemy” Choices and Challenges, Collecting by (...)

1In the French and German archive traditions there is a clear distinction between the creation of the record and its selection or privileging for permanent preservation1. From this perspective the activity of transferring the record to the archive is considered not as a continuation of records management but as a quite separate and explicit function in creating the “memory of a nation”, an organization or a community, in which the archive moves from a private to a public sphere2.

  • 3 M. T. Clanchy, From memory to the written record : England 1066-1307, London, 1977, p. 163. The web (...)

2The concept of a public archive (cimiliarchio publico) is deeply embedded in western culture dating back to classical times and gained renewed legitimacy during the French Revolution3.

  • 4 P. Burke, op. cit., 2000, p. 138-41.

3In this context the archive enjoys an independent fiduciary function where records are preserved for the benefit of the community, which has rights of access, and users can have confidence that when they consult them they are what they purport to be, at least what they purported to be when they were selected for permanent preservation. Information management has its origins in the need for centralising bureaucracies to be able to retrieve essential documents expeditiously and were, paradoxically, often called archives, even though they were part of the arcna imperii (secrets of state)4.

  • 5 H. Jenkinson, A Manual of Archive Administration, London, 1925.
  • 6 In his inaugural address as archivist of United States, Professor Allen Weinstein accepted this vie (...)
  • 7 D. R. McCoy, The National Archives : America’s ministry of documents, 1934-1968, Chapel Hill, 1978, (...)
  • 8 M. J. Pemberton, “U.S. federal committees and commissions and the emergence of records management” (...)

4This is the European tradition in which the writings of Sir Hilary Jenkinson, the founder of archive theory in the United Kingdom, sit5. Today in the Anglophone world (North America, Australasia and the United Kingdom) records management and archives are regarded as one and the same and the juridical function of the archive has been questioned6. In the United States this came about as a result of administrative tidying up of the 1947 Hoover Commissions on the Organization of the Executive Branch of Government that was designed to reduce waste, and more recently in Australasia as a consequence of scandals laid at the door of poor record keeping which in the words of the Commonwealth Auditor General of Australia “attracts corruption like flies to a carcass”7. Increasingly records management programmes are used to justify the retention of an historic archive, and partly out of a belief that unless the records manager and or archivist are/is engaged in the process of creation long-term preservation (particularly in the digital environment) cannot be guaranteed. There are two polarised camps with neither side being willing to explore the theoretical assumptions of the other or to consider whether there are external threats, which have been drawn into sharp relief in the wake of 9/11, that might invalidate their own8.

  • 9 V. Harris drew attention to this threat “On the Back of a Tiger : Deconstructive Possibilities in ‘ (...)
  • 10 For example, Sarbanes Oxley Act (2002) has implications that extend to any business that trades wit (...)
  • 11 “Securities and Exchange Commission, litigation release no. 18115, April 2003”, available at http:/ (...)
  • 12 EU Directive 95/46/EC.

5While it is undoubtedly true that the record or document is a constant (but not necessarily constant) from the moment of its creation until its destruction or preservation in the archives, the records manager and the archivist are only two of many actors who might influence its form and destiny. A record created within a bureaucracy (a government department, business, university or whatever) will be governed by both external and internal constraints as to what it contains, what it can be used as and for, and how long it can prudently be kept. Records created by individuals are less obviously constrained, even if they relate to activities of these bureaucracies, unless they happen to be libellous or make disclosures that breach their terms of employment as legally enforceable regulations9. (As we shall see, there are insidious threats even to such evidence) One consequence of the emergence of global companies and markets is the increasing convergence of regulatory regimes which have serious implications for record keeping, particularly if there is any likelihood of records being “discovered” as evidence in legal actions or by regulatory authorities10. Large companies or even small ones that trade globally are unlikely to want to have smoking guns amongst their records. The tightening of governance in the wake of corporate scandals across the world places far greater responsibility to ensure that this is not the case on the shoulders of non-executive directors, who, if malfeasance can be proved, become personally liable11. If alerted to the danger of the contingent liability of keeping records (evidence), which could have been destroyed as part of due process, their reaction will be to insist on destruction even if the records might be considered for preservation in the archives as a component in our collective memory. This danger is, perhaps, not so great in the public sector, but the threat cannot be ignored. The most popular classes of records amongst users of public records are those that relate to individuals, such as registers of censuses, births, marriages and deaths. Such personal information in the European community is covered by data protection legislation, even if it is a matter of public record, which may problematize its eventual transfer to an archive12. Individuals may expect some classes of such records, for example those relating to criminal prosecutions, to be destroyed when culpability has elapsed. Government may also take the view that contingent liability is such that classes of records should be destroyed, for example health and social welfare case notes.

  • 13 M. Power, Audit Society : Rituals and Verification, Oxford, 1997.

  • 14 D. Miller, “A theory of virtualism”, Virtualism : A new political economy, D. Miller & J. Carrier ( (...)
  • 15 The World Bank emphasises the use of audit to prevent the misallocation of resources and corruption (...)
  • 16 T. Cook, op. cit., 2000, p. 3.

  • 17 O. O’Neill, A Question of Trust, London, 2002, available at March 2005, and O. O’Neill, ‘Accuracy, (...)
  • 18 F. Upward and S. McKemmish, “In Search of the Lost Tiger, by Way of Sainte-Beuve : Reconstructing t (...)
  • 19 V. Harris, op. cit., 2001, p. 20.

  • 20 G. Orwell, Animal Farm, 1945, online version at http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/animalfarm/(...)

6Even if archives result from the records management chain, this suggests that the archive or memory is simply the last stop in our increasingly global audit society where all transactions, not just those with a financial expression, are potentially exposed to scrutiny13. Daniel Miller pointedly commented on the audit or regulatory process : “The paradox is that, while consumption is the pivot upon which these developments in history spin, the concern is not the cost and benefits of actual consumers, but of what we might call virtual consumers, which are generated by management theories and models [...] [And] the rise of auditing in Britain [is thus] symptomatic not of capitalism, but of a new form of abstraction that is emerging, a form more abstract than the capitalism of firms dealing in commodities”14. We might also add government and substitute the world for Britain. This tendency to normalize behaviour can be seen everywhere, 84 percent of trains run on time, 78 percent of students achieve a pass and so on. Only the most primitive subsistence communities can shield themselves from the gaze of auditors with their normalising tendencies, if Medicin sans Frontières has provided aid then you can be sure the auditor will not be far behind15. If this is true and, I believe it is, then we would do well not to confuse accountability with memory or what Terry Cook calls confusingly, but admittedly from a different perspective, “evidence and memory”16. It is a truism that audit depends on records, but the records will only reflect what the regulator or auditor wants to know at a given time. This approach has contributed, as the moral philosopher Onora O’Neill has reminded us, to a breakdown in trust between citizens and government and consumers and suppliers17. When I am sitting for hours in an accident and emergency department in a hospital, I do not find it very helpful or credible to be reminded that waiting times are falling. If what we as archivists preserve are simply the records on which such abstraction is based then we deserve all the criticism that historians can hurl at us. I simply do not buy the nostrum that “the rhythms of each story are the rhythms of the continuum”18. I want some evidence of me, like Verne Harris, wild and untamed19. I want to know where Boxer, the hardworking carthorse in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, really went to, not what the objectionable pig, Napoleon, led us to believe20.

  • 21 M. Strathern, “Abstraction and decontextualisation : an anthropological comment or : e for ethnogra (...)
  • 22 J. Derrida, Archive Fever A Freudian Impression, translated by E. Prenowitz, Chicago, 1996, p. 16.

  • 23 J. Derrida, op. cit., 1996, p. 17.

7In a very perceptive piece, Marilyn Strathern, a Cambridge social anthropologist, explored this critical audit culture where, as she puts it, the “ought” becomes “is” and things do indeed work backwards, where “the form in which the outcome is to be described is known in advance”21. Jacques Derrida warned of such entanglement when he wrote “the technical structure of the archiving archive also determines the structure of the archivable content even its very coming into existence and in its relationship to the future”22. This circularity is on the one hand reinforced by the digital, as the processes become faster and because of the way the systems work the “loose ends” (inconsistencies, aberrant behaviour and so on) disappear, and on the other are challenged by them. Derrida, old as he was, grasped the transforming effect of the digital as early as 199623. The year before Geert Lovink worried that :

  • 24 G. Lovink, “Utopian Promises – Net Realities, Critical Art Ensemble”, 1995, available at http://www (...)

If people feel that they are under surveillance, they are less likely to act in manner that is beyond normalized activity ; that is, they are less likely to express themselves freely, and to otherwise act in manner that could produce political and social changes within their environments. In this sense, the net serves the purpose of negating activity rather than encouraging it. It channels people toward orderly homogeneous activity, rather than reinforcing the acceptance of difference that democratic societies need24.

  • 25 See for example R. Rinehart, “A system of formal notation for scoring works of digital and variable (...)
  • 26 S. Albert, “ ’Interactivity’, Image, Text, and Content in 404.jodi.org. Introduction : How my compu (...)
  • 27 “Corps and Auditors : The Rhetoric of Records”, in S. B. Sitken and R.J. Bies (eds.), The Legalisti (...)

8Others, who declare their opinions, ideas and creative works on the web, take an opposite and radical view and combine to form “social network architectures and collaborative models for cultural resistance”25. The digital, also, raises serious questions about preservation, particularly over the concepts of identity, originality and fixity, which can from some perspectives seem subversive, overturning existing concepts and rules of behaviour. Saul Albert claims, for example, “the notion of the author disappears as material is added to the enormous database, and interpolated with hyperlinks”26. John Van Maanen and Brian Pentland argue that all records are essentially self-conscious and self interested and never neutral when serving either legitimate or illegitimate ends27. These can be used as arguments for agreeing with the perspective of the post- structuralists and post-modernist that truth is unknowable, because not only the text itself is problematic, but so is the medium on which it was created. For archivists and for that matter other curators to adopt such a point of view would be dereliction of their duty. Steve Dietz comments of digital art, but he could just as well have been referring of all digital output :

  • 28 S. Dietz, “The Digital Object” conference of the American Museum of the Moving Image, 2000, availab (...)

Another way of thinking about this issue of “Why do we want to archive these things ?” is to turn the question around, and ask : what’s at stake if we don’t collect, archives, and somehow save these cultural memories ? To me, I think that the downside is a huge lacuna in our cultural memory, if we don’t try to save some kind of representation of this tremendously fertile and important moment. I think it’s important to think about and question differences in the convergence between the archive, the library, and the collection. This becomes very confused in the digital meta-medium, where the archive does not follow the traditional separation between intellectual access to an object and, in a sense, physical access to the object28.

  • 29 A. Allison, J. Currall, M. MOSS and S. Stuart, “Digital Identity Matters”, Journal of the American (...)
  • 30 See for example Robert Blatt, “Web enabled document management technology”, 1999, available at http (...)

9This does not mean that in the digital the concept of the original no longer exists. It does, as it has reference and can be described as a unique bit stream, a series of 1s and 0s29. We cannot interpret it without mediation, but no more could we interpret certain ancient hieroglyphics without the Rosetta stone. We can disagree about renditions but we can observe the bit stream and the hieroglyphics. There are logical problems with digital identity, but that does not mean there is no original. Making a physical rendition on acid free paper is not an alternative, attractive as that may seem, since the web enables many digital documents30. Given the transient nature of much of the content of the web, this makes them even more fragile and ephemeral, a feature that appeals to many who declare their oeuvre on the web.

10Dietz poses the question : “what does it mean to archive/collect network-based digital media that has connections outside of the physical projects, the actual files you are holding. This is the exchange of course”31. He explored this question by commissioning a piece of web art The Unreliable Archivist to mark the accessioning of äda’web32 in the Walker Art Centre, which “works with some of the elements of the idea of a database, the idea of an archive, the idea of catalyzation, deconstruction, metadata, etc.”33. He goes further with the Wonder Walker that attempts to replicate on the web the cabinet collection or Wonderkammer of the pre-modern museum, which would of course have embraced manuscripts and books34.

11The content of the archive, however, will never all be digital, in the same way as the world we live in will never be either entirely virtual or virtuous. There will still be jottings on scraps of paper and there may be other evidence, which we might wish to add to our memory bank and a call a document. We will continue to describe these physical objects as originals or copies and we simply cannot inhabit a universe where some objects, because of the way they were created, lack any fixity. Let me give you an example. In September 2004 I was in the fabulous Prunksaal of the National Library in Vienna. There were exhibition cases containing material from literary archives with photographs and objects (I would call them documents) from authors’ studies. One was pure confusion, notes hurriedly scribbled on the back of bills, letters typed and hand written, bits of manuscripts, marginal notes in books, music and so on – here I was at home. Another was German tidiness to a fault, the clean blotting pad, the pencil case with neatly sharpened pencils, correspondence and notes filed and in order, books squarely on the shelves. This is how archives will continue to be. What we have to do is to assimilate the digital into the differing worlds of both these authors, where arguably it is even more important to record the different contexts in which they both wrote if we truly believe in the supremacy of original order or is it disorder. To my mind this discipline, which is analogous to the archaeologists” careful recording of the site of each tiny discovery, is essential if we are to avoid the surreal world of a public sphere in which everything appears relative and even the evidential continuum is transformed into an historical snowball indiscriminately gathering “public and private memories” as it hurtles past35. This is not a world in which I wish to live, but I can see how you get there once you abandon any sense of reference. What we must avoid is an abstraction that bears no relation to individual practice, evidence of me.

  • 36 M. Strathern, op. cit., 2000.

12Strathern draws on ethnography to show how all these “loose ends” “become resource from some vantage point in the future”. Here is work for the archivist, whom I would want to characterise as an ethnographer. She ends by drawing a clear distinction between “accountability rendering an account to those to whom one is accountable, manifest in the self-evident efficacy of audit, and responsibility, which is discharged to those in one’s care, whether students or colleagues or the wider society”36. We can see this distinction at work in the United Kingdom in perceptions of the war in Iraq. Mr Blair claims he has passed the accountability test through the findings of four enquiries and yet hardly any one in the United Kingdom and no one in France believes he acted responsibly. Now we have something to debate. Where is the archivist going to find the loose ends in the relentless progression from records management to the archives that will allow ultimate users, whatever their interests, to do their knitting ? They will not be there and much else besides as processes to limit contingent liability and to protect personal rights take their toll of individual observations, leaving further abstraction.

  • 37 T. Cook, op. cit., 2000, p. 8.

13The answer is self-evident. The progression from records management to archives in the European tradition has never constrained the content of memory, even in the most controlled societies. Cook contends that “this broader pluralized dimension focuses first and foremost on citizen’s impact on, interaction with, and variance from the state ; it is especially attentive to the voices of the marginalized”37. Much as he wanted to, Hitler could not execute his powerful critic, the First World War veteran and pastor Martin Niemöller. The archive must continue to be made up of the random and the aberrant (the brave in Niemöller’s case) where “loose ends” can find partners and contribute to understanding. As Derek Keene puts it :

Archives are often structured by discourses of power and come to be used in the cause of public or scientific truth. But at the same time the archive, as an institution, has a way of accommodating quirky details, narratives and even entire collections that seem to have little to do with its formal or original purpose.

  • 38 U. Orlow and R. MacLennan, Re : the archive, the image, and the very dead sheep, London, 2005, A8.

Exaptive elements, such as these, are a vital element in the archive’s long-term value as a site for understanding and for establishing sympathy with our fellow human beings38.

14These will come, as they have always done, from those who have opposed, criticised or participated in the actions that created the narratives of our histories. We can pay a little tribute to Derrida for alerting us all to this possiblity when he wrote :

  • 39 J. Derrida, op. cit., 1996, p. 67.


By incorporating the knowledge deployed in reference to it, the archive augments itself, engrosses itself, it gains in auctoritas. But in the same stroke it loses the absolute and meta-textual authority it might claim to have. One will never be able to objectivize it with no remainder. The archivist produces more archive, and that is why the archive is never closed. It opens out of the future39.

15The archivist’s job, as it has always been, is to “discover” the “loose ends” and be willing to store them, albeit hidden from public view until they can safely be made accessible. This may be for a very long time and herein lies the difference for the archivist between accountability with its short horizons and responsibility with a real linear dynamic. The war on Iraq cannot be judged in the court of history, which Mr Blair always seems to want to appear before and M.

Haut de page

Notes

1 He wishes to thank James Currall, Tina Fiske, Craig Gauld, Gemma John, Susan Stuart, Alistair Tough, Sarah Tyache and Verne Harris for their help and thoughts on the ideas developed in this paper.

2 Richard Cox makes this point in “Archival Appraisal Alchemy” Choices and Challenges, Collecting by Museums and Archives, Nov. 1-3, 2002, while at the same time criticising what he terms the neo-Jenkinsonian school from his appraisal hobbyhorse.

3 M. T. Clanchy, From memory to the written record : England 1066-1307, London, 1977, p. 163. The website of the Archives Nationales, http://www.archivesdefrance.culture.gouv.fr/ and the Bundesarchiv, http://www.bundesarchiv.de/ make no reference to records management. See also M. Gharsallah, “Congrès Interassociation : la cour des métiers”, Archimag, février 2005, available at http://www.archimag.com/ , March 2005, where he quotes Henri Zuber’s defence of the role of the archivist. For the French Revolution impact on archives, see P. Burke, A Social History of Knowledge From Gutenberg to Diderot, Cambridge, 2000, 141. The Archive nationales was established in 1790 and written into law in June 1794. One of its three objectives was “l’établissement de leur publicité en opposition avec la pratique antérieure du secret d’État”. There are earlier examples in Europe of scholars gaining access to archives, see P. Burke, op. cit., 2000, p. 145.

4 P. Burke, op. cit., 2000, p. 138-41.

5 H. Jenkinson, A Manual of Archive Administration, London, 1925.

6 In his inaugural address as archivist of United States, Professor Allen Weinstein accepted this view, http://www.archives.gov/about_us/archivists_speeches/speech_03-07-05.html , March 2005, and in the United Kingdom, the proposals for new legislation seeks to follow this lead, see http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/policy/proposed/default.htm , March 2005. For the Australian perspective, see S. Mckemmish and G. Ackland, “Archivists at Risk : Accountability and the Role of the Professional Society”, 1998, and S. Mckemmish ‘The Smoking Gun : Recordkeeping and Accountability’, 1999, available at http://www.sims.monash.edu.au/research/rcrg/publications/recordscontinuum/smoking.html , March 2005.

7 D. R. McCoy, The National Archives : America’s ministry of documents, 1934-1968, Chapel Hill, 1978, p. 220-246, he points out p. 229 that there was no time for the archivist, Wayne Grover, to mobilize support against the loss of independence of the National Archives, p. 229, http://www.archives.gov/research_room/federal_records_guide/commissions_on_organization_of_executive_rg264.html , March 2005, and J. McKinnon, “The ’Sports Rorts’ Affair : A Case Study in Recordkeeping, Accountablity and Media reporting”, New Zealand Archivist, v, 4, 1994, p. 1-5.

8 M. J. Pemberton, “U.S. federal committees and commissions and the emergence of records management” ARMA Records Management Quarterly, April 1996, available at http://www.cci.utk.edu/node/9323 , March 2005. Terry Cook addressed this dichotomy which he characterized as between evidence and memory in “Beyond the Screen : The Records Continuum and Archival Cultural Heritage”, paper delivered at the Australian Society of Archivists Conference, Melbourne, 18 August 2000..

9 V. Harris drew attention to this threat “On the Back of a Tiger : Deconstructive Possibilities in ‘Evidence of Me’ ”, Archives and Manuscripts, 24, 1, 2001, 8-23, http://www.mybestdocs.com/harris-v-tiger-edited0105.htm .

10 For example, Sarbanes Oxley Act (2002) has implications that extend to any business that trades with the United States, see http://www.sarbanes-oxley.com/ , March 2005, and Food and Drug Administration, et al. petitioners v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation et al., 2000..

11 “Securities and Exchange Commission, litigation release no. 18115, April 2003”, available at http://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/lr18115.htm , March 2005.

12 EU Directive 95/46/EC.

13 M. Power, Audit Society : Rituals and Verification, Oxford, 1997.


14 D. Miller, “A theory of virtualism”, Virtualism : A new political economy, D. Miller & J. Carrier (ed), Oxford, 1998, p. 204-205.

15 The World Bank emphasises the use of audit to prevent the misallocation of resources and corruption, see http://www1.worldbank.org , March 2005.

16 T. Cook, op. cit., 2000, p. 3.


17 O. O’Neill, A Question of Trust, London, 2002, available at March 2005, and O. O’Neill, ‘Accuracy, Independence, and Trust”, W. G. Runciman (ed.), Hutton and Butler : Lifting the Lid on the Workings of Power, Oxford, 2004.

18 F. Upward and S. McKemmish, “In Search of the Lost Tiger, by Way of Sainte-Beuve : Reconstructing the Possibilities in ‘Evidence of Me...”, Archives and Manuscripts, 29, 1, 2001, p. 22-43, available at http://www.mybestdocs.com/mckemmish-s-upward-f-ontiger-w.htm .

19 V. Harris, op. cit., 2001, p. 20.


20 G. Orwell, Animal Farm, 1945, online version at http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/animalfarm/, March 2005.

21 M. Strathern, “Abstraction and decontextualisation : an anthropological comment or : e for ethnography”, 2000, available at http://virtualsociety.sbs.ox.ac.uk/GRpapers/strathern.htm, March 2005.


22 J. Derrida, Archive Fever A Freudian Impression, translated by E. Prenowitz, Chicago, 1996, p. 16.


23 J. Derrida, op. cit., 1996, p. 17.

24 G. Lovink, “Utopian Promises – Net Realities, Critical Art Ensemble”, 1995, available at http://www.well.com/user/hlr/texts/utopiancrit.html , March 2005.

25 See for example R. Rinehart, “A system of formal notation for scoring works of digital and variable media works of art”, 2003, available at http://www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/about/avantgarde , March 2005.

26 S. Albert, “ ’Interactivity’, Image, Text, and Content in 404.jodi.org. Introduction : How my computer and I fell in love with Jodi”.

27 “Corps and Auditors : The Rhetoric of Records”, in S. B. Sitken and R.J. Bies (eds.), The Legalistic Organization, Oaks, 1994.

28 S. Dietz, “The Digital Object” conference of the American Museum of the Moving Image, 2000, available at http://www.yproductions.com/writing/archives/the_digital_object.html, March 2005.

29 A. Allison, J. Currall, M. MOSS and S. Stuart, “Digital Identity Matters”, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 56, 4, p. 364-372 and M. Headstrom and Ch. A. Lee, “Significant Properties of digital objects : definitions, applications, implications”, Proceedings of the DLM Forum, 2002.

30 See for example Robert Blatt, “Web enabled document management technology”, 1999, available at http://www.eid-inc.com/white_paper/199908t.pdf .

31 S. Dietz, op. cit., 2000.


32 http://www.adaweb.com/home.shtml , April 2005.

33 http://www.walkerart.org/archive/8/A773750C8FDB27636164.htm , March 2005.

34 - http://wonderwalker.walkerart.org/index.html , March 2005.

35 E. Ketelaar, “The Archive as a Time Machine”. 2002, available at http://www.mybestdocs.com/ketelaar-e-dlm2002.htm , March 2002, and M. Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge, London, 1972.

36 M. Strathern, op. cit., 2000.

37 T. Cook, op. cit., 2000, p. 8.

38 U. Orlow and R. MacLennan, Re : the archive, the image, and the very dead sheep, London, 2005, A8.

39 J. Derrida, op. cit., 1996, p. 67.


40 U. Orlow and R. MacLennan, op. cit., 2005, A8.

41 This issue is explored by C. Shore and S. Wright, ’Coercive accountability’, Marilyn Strathern (ed.) Audit Cultures — Anthropological studies in accountability, ethics and the academy, London, 2000, p. 57-89.

42 S. B. Drury, Leo Strauss and the American Right, New York, 1997, p. 1, and for reference see http://rightweb.irc-online.org/analysis/2004/0402nsai.php , April 2005.

43 J. Derrida, op. cit., 1996, 1 p.


44 Available at http://www.archives.gov/about_us/vision_mission_values.Html , March 2005.

45 - http://www.archivists.org/news/pr-weinstein2.asp , April 2005.


46 See for example M. Clanchy, op. cit., 1977 and T. Miller, “The German Registry : The Evolution of a Recordkeeping Model”, Archvial Science, 2003, 3, p. 43-63.

47 D. Milbank, “And the Verdict on Justice Kennedy Is : Guilty”, Washington Post, April 9, 2005, p. A03.

48 David Bates, the director of the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London, set out to rewrite David Douglas ’s canonical biography, William the Conqueror : the Norman impact upon England, London 1964. Douglas, who was brought up against the background of Freud, had assumed that the fact that William the Conqueror was illegitimate implied an unhappy childhood and a struggle for power. Far from it, as Bates will show, it was not uncommon for illegitimate children to become kings in contemporary Europe and he did not have an unhappy childhood. He can do this because archives and for that matter libraries and museums contain all the references used by Douglas and some he had overlooked.

49 V. Harris, “The Truth and Reconciliation Commission : An Exercise in Forgetting ?”, 2002.

50 See M. Moss, “The Hutton inquiry, the President of Nigeria and what the Butler hoped to see”, English Historical Review, 120, 485, 2005.

Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Michael Moss, « Archivist friend or foe », in Martine Aubry, Isabelle Chave et Vincent Doom (dir.), Archives, archivistes, archivistique dans l'Europe du Nord-Ouest du Moyen Âge à nos jours, Villeneuve d'Ascq, IRHiS (« Histoire et littérature de l'Europe du Nord-Ouest », no 36), 2007, p. 243-253.

Référence électronique

Michael Moss, « Archivist friend or foe », in Martine Aubry, Isabelle Chave et Vincent Doom (dir.), Archives, archivistes, archivistique dans l'Europe du Nord-Ouest du Moyen Âge à nos jours, Villeneuve d'Ascq, IRHiS (« Histoire et littérature de l'Europe du Nord-Ouest », no 36), 2007 [En ligne], mis en ligne le 13 octobre 2012, consulté le 11 décembre 2017. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/hleno/181

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur

© IRHiS

Haut de page
  • Logo IRHIS
  • Logo CNRS
  • OpenEdition Journals