I can has postmodernism? “Facts in texts cannot be separated from their ongoing and past interpretation, nor author from subject or audience, not author from authoring, not author from context. Nothing is neutral. Nothing is objective. Everything is shaped, presented, re-presented, symbolized, signified, signed, constructed” Terry Cooke “Archival science and postmodernism: new formulations for old concepts” 2001
“Traditional” Archival Science Positivist in approach: The archivist is impartial The archival record is objective, “merely” descriptive, an empirical fact “Respect des fonds”: provenance is the ‘authentic’ and authoritative archival context
Archives 2.0 or Participatory Archive… Neither archivist or user is neutral in relation to the archive The archival context is not more authentic or authoritative Participants are more knowledgeable than an archivist alone
BBC Memoryshare “BBC Memoryshare is a living archive of memories from 1900 to the present day. You can contribute, share and browse memories of life experiences and see them in the context of recent and historical events.” http://bbc.co.uk/memoryshare
Your Archives (TNA) “Your Archives is an exciting and accessible resource that enables anyone to share their knowledge of Britain's rich archival heritage and to reuse historical information in a way that has not previously been possible.” (http://yourarchives.nationalarchives.gov.uk/)
Have they come? The problem with crowds (even wise ones): Relies on a diverse collection of independently-minded individuals Relies on critical mass of users Adaptive systems (i.e. Amazon) require a concentration of data The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations. James Surowiecki 2004
From Crowds to Communities of Practice “Communities of practice are formed by people who engage in a process of collective learning in a shared domain of human endeavor: a tribe learning to survive, a band of artists seeking new forms of expression, a group of engineers working on similar problems, a clique of pupils defining their identity in the school, a network of surgeons exploring novel techniques, a gathering of first-time managers helping each other cope.” “Communities of practice are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly …” Ettiene Wenger, Communities of Practice 1998 “Even though the participatory archive is about crowd-sourcing, it focuses on deeper involvement and more complex semantics rather than on larger crowds and simple annotation.” Isto Huvila, “Participatory Archive” 2008
How? Rethink the archive as domain(s) of interest Consider potential CoPs (subject communities, learning communities) Consider 2.0 as tools to facilitate the CoP, not an end in itself.