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Archives? Places for storing memories?

A recently published article summarises the definition and meaning of a word that is full of content

  

Archives are places where memories and work are stored, repositories of countless lives, places full of life, meditation, and stories that have finished but are not forgotten. The word “archive” can be discussed at length. Above all, we need to separate the word from the useless and dusty image that it is often associated with. Gianni Penzo Doria does this in “A new definition of archives”, which was recently published in the Italian Journal of Library, Archives & Information Science.

The article does not attempt to introduce a new idea of archives but to explore the features and specific characteristics of ones that are already in circulation, leading to a new definition of “archives” that is derived from existing ones. This is an important task because it helps readers, and anyone who wants to learn more about the subject, make sense of the definitions and concepts that contain different worlds and ways of understanding what it means to preserve documents and evidence from the past. Doria began this task “after an in-depth review of the established guidelines on this specific subject, analysing each lemma in the new proposal, word for word”.

This comes with an important premise: “No definition is valid in every context”. He also acknowledges that “archival theory seems to suffer heavily from a heterogeneous view, not quite a rigorous scientific approach, but full of unexpected conceptual and lexical contingencies”. This could only be the case since – on closer inspection – everything that lies behind the word “archive” reflects the history that the archive preserves, one that is made up of lives, events, connections and experiences that are different every time. Defining an archive once and for all seems almost impossible (and is often misleading). Doria explains: “Each term, with its meanings and contexts, does not provide a simple meaning, but refers to a specific set for each disciplinary and cultural tradition”.

Gianni Penzo Doria’s article may not be an easy read, but it is nonetheless a must-read for anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of the importance of storing memories in places that we know as “archives”.

Una nuova definizione di archivio (A new definition of archives)

Gianni Penzo Doria

JLIS.it, Italian Journal of Library, Archives & Information Science, May 2022, vol. 13 Edition 2, p156-173. 18p.

A recently published article summarises the definition and meaning of a word that is full of content

  

Archives are places where memories and work are stored, repositories of countless lives, places full of life, meditation, and stories that have finished but are not forgotten. The word “archive” can be discussed at length. Above all, we need to separate the word from the useless and dusty image that it is often associated with. Gianni Penzo Doria does this in “A new definition of archives”, which was recently published in the Italian Journal of Library, Archives & Information Science.

The article does not attempt to introduce a new idea of archives but to explore the features and specific characteristics of ones that are already in circulation, leading to a new definition of “archives” that is derived from existing ones. This is an important task because it helps readers, and anyone who wants to learn more about the subject, make sense of the definitions and concepts that contain different worlds and ways of understanding what it means to preserve documents and evidence from the past. Doria began this task “after an in-depth review of the established guidelines on this specific subject, analysing each lemma in the new proposal, word for word”.

This comes with an important premise: “No definition is valid in every context”. He also acknowledges that “archival theory seems to suffer heavily from a heterogeneous view, not quite a rigorous scientific approach, but full of unexpected conceptual and lexical contingencies”. This could only be the case since – on closer inspection – everything that lies behind the word “archive” reflects the history that the archive preserves, one that is made up of lives, events, connections and experiences that are different every time. Defining an archive once and for all seems almost impossible (and is often misleading). Doria explains: “Each term, with its meanings and contexts, does not provide a simple meaning, but refers to a specific set for each disciplinary and cultural tradition”.

Gianni Penzo Doria’s article may not be an easy read, but it is nonetheless a must-read for anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of the importance of storing memories in places that we know as “archives”.

Una nuova definizione di archivio (A new definition of archives)

Gianni Penzo Doria

JLIS.it, Italian Journal of Library, Archives & Information Science, May 2022, vol. 13 Edition 2, p156-173. 18p.