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Forskningskonferansenovkompr2012

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  • 1. Private archives - from random collection to a moreresearch-based selection of records and otherdocumentation? Ellen Røsjø,  20 kilometres (1000 archives in total, 294 private archives). ellen.rosjo@kul.oslo.kommune.no  Oldest document 1651.  650 000 photographs.  Films (160 documentaries, and 1100 News Reels).  The Commission of the Poor, on the Norwegian documentary heritage list Oslo City Archives: Advisor in record keeping for the municipality & Custodian of records (1992-). http://www.byarkivet.oslo.kommune.no/ 1
  • 2. Some facts and figures on private sectorarchives in institutions ABM-utvikling / The Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority’s report “Til kildene! Kartlegging av regionale og lokale arkiver“ / To the sources! Survey of regional and local archives“ (ABM-skrift # 40) from 2007 shows that preserved archives do not sufficiently represent a comprehensive and representative societal documentation. Important sectors of society are too weakly documented and there are large regional imbalances. Archival statistics show that out of the total holdings of paper archives - in 59 archival institutions – in 2011 only 17 % were from the private sector. 2
  • 3. 40 % of the pupils in Oslo have an immigrantbackgroundTotal population: 29.6 % with immigrantbackground in 2012 What can they find out about the first generation? Who can they identify with? Oslo City Archives – the city’s memory… but: Where are the immigrants own voices we asked in 2004? 330 registered ethnic and multicultural organizations in Oslo Which traces of their activities will be preserved here in 100 years? (awareness: if you don’t leave a trace…) 3
  • 4. The ”Oslo Multicultural Archives Project”- motto: Everyone has the right to a past! (Edvard Bull, Norwegian historian) The “Oslo Multicultural Archives Project” was an attempt to obtain a more representative societal memory. The purpose of the project was to collect, preserve and make available a number of archives from new minorities in Oslo. The aim was that Oslo Citys cultural diversity should thus become part of the citys memory and could be used in our outreach work.  The project period March 2004 – 2007.  Funding by The Norwegian Archive, Library and Museum Authority, Arts Council Norway and The Fritt Ord Foundation 4
  • 5. Results The project resulted in about twenty collected archives Four interviews A booklet and the exhibition “Our traces" / "Spor etter oss " Theatre about immigration a century ago - in our repository - in 2005 in cooperation with Nordic Black Theatre, for pupils 2006-08 A study package for pupils in Oslo (Robert Levin f. eks.) Follow-up: with The MiRA Centre we interviewed leading women in immigrant communities (8 edited in a book, Multiple voices – minority women in organizational life ) 5
  • 6. Research project: Majority and minorityperspectives in archives selection and preservation  Examined content of public agencies’ records that dealt with immigrant organizations with private records collected. Hypothesis:  That the public archives expressed the governments vision and a top-down perspective  That we would find these peoples own perspective and voices in their own archives. — Funding: Arts Council Norway & The Fritt Ord Foundation 6
  • 7. «Quod non est in actis, non est in mundo» (If you’re not in the archives, you don’t exist) The archive is a selective memory. Automatic preservation of public archives (by law). Private archives are rather randomly preserved - dependent on legislation, tradition and the resources society is willing to spend on this field. Result: a distorted societal memory. 7
  • 8. «Quod non est in actis, non est in mundo» (If you’re not in the archives, you don’t exist) The Norwegian Archives Act, mission statement: to secure archives of considerable cultural or research value or that hold legal or important administrative documentation, so that these can be preserved and made accessible for posterity Major weakness: The Nordic Black Theatre. Drama i hukommelsen relationship between purpose and measures only applies to public records. 8
  • 9. Theoretical background – Booms, a more societalapproach Classical archival theory does not discuss the archival value of records. A more societal approach, based on archives reflecting the society that creates them, was addressed for the first time by Hans Booms in the 1970s. His approach was that the records should reflect values through the societal functions of the records creator and to preserve a diverse societal documentation on societys own terms. (Booms, Hans (1991-92): Überlieferungsbildung: Keeping Archives as a Social and Political Activity, Archivaria 33 (Winter 1991-92). This is also the orientation of the function based archival appraisal methodology that was developed in Canada in the late 1980s, inspired by Booms. 9
  • 10. Appraisal - the archivist’s “first responsibility”  Terry Cook: “Appraisal is the critical act by archivists. Helen Samuels and Richard Cox have called it the archivist’s “first responsibility”, upon which everything else depends. As archivists appraise records, they are determining what the future will know about its past: who will have a continuing voice and who will be silenced. Archivists thereby co-create the archive.” (Cook, Terry (Ed.): Controlling the Past. Documenting Society and Institutions. Essays in Honor of Helen Willa Samuels. SAA 2011)Bodil Lundsten Buchacz: Hvorfor er du så sinnaOldemor / Why are you so angry greatgrandmother? Detail. 10
  • 11. Derrida There is no political power without control of the archive, if not memory. Effective democratization can always be measured by this essential criterion: the participation in and access to the archive, its constitution, and its interpretation.” (Derrida, Jacques (1995): Mal d’archives: une impression freudienne (Archive Fever: a Freudian Impression), p. 15)Marit Hosar: Quod non est in actis, nonest in mundo, detail 11
  • 12. Verne Harris – the political power of thestoryteller “Appraisal brings into sharpest focus the power wielded by archivists. The power of what the French philosopher Jacques Derrida calls consignation.* Which stories will be consigned to the archive and which will not. This power of the storyteller is ultimately a political power. Which is why, in a democracy, society must find ways of holding archivists accountable for their appraisal decisions.” (Harris, Verne (2007): Archives and Justice. A South African Perspective (Society of American Archivists, Chigaco 2007 p. 104) *Begrepet consignation på fransk og engelsk oversetter jeg med nedskrivning (registrering). 12
  • 13. Samuels l - a model including both public and private archives in the selection process “An objective of the analysis in Varsity Letters is to demonstrate that both official and non-official materials are required to achieve an adequate documentation of an institution. The work tries to merge these perceived disparate approaches by demonstrating how and when both types of records are needed, how they support and complement each other, and therefore why they must be examined in an integrated approach. With the emphasis placed first on what is to be documented - the function - the location of the record, which office or individual actually holds the material, becomes a secondary issue.” (Samuels, Helen W. (1991-92): Improving Our Disposition: Documentation Strategy. Archivaria 33 (Winter 1991-92), p. 133) 13
  • 14. Samuels ll “Yet, if archivists perceive their responsibility as documenting an institution, then the intervention to create or ensure the creation of records must also be an integrated part of their documentary activities. Archivists, however, need not be the people who actually create records. Their most important roles are as analyst, planner and agent who create an awareness about documentary problems. Archivists can then work knowledgeably with appropriate individuals to carry out oral history, photographic, video or other documentary activities as needed. To achieve this, archivists must do archival research sufficient to articulate a coherent documentary plan.” (Samuels 1991-92, p. 137) 14
  • 15. Majority and minority perspectives… – the contents of public and private records To improve the documentation of immigration & new minorities Oslo City Archives and then Oppland County Private Records Archives and Drammen City Archives have been collecting private archives, oral records and various types of material. Research project: What do records of public agencies (in Oslo City and one Ministry) dealing with immigrant organizations hold about these organizations? Were the public records a one-sided expression of the central or local governments perspective? 15
  • 16. Some results – Public archives l The Oslo Refugee and Immigrant Agency managed funding that the immigrant organizations can apply for. My review of the Agencys records largely confirms the thesis. The public archives are created from the public offices’ own needs. The municipality’s and the states need for documentation of how the granted money is spent decides the contents. The Oslo Refugee and Immigrant Agencys processing of the applications reveals a variety of associations, which of these who succeeded in obtaining funds and which activities the Agency supported or rejected to fund. Their policy influenced the financial solidity of the organizations. 16
  • 17. Public archives ll In a sense, public records are narratives of power and powerlessness as Kaisa Maliniemi concluded in her research project What did the archives hide. An examination of Kven and Sami in the public records in Kistrand (Porsanger) and Nordreisa 1865 to 1948, (ABM media as 2010). This meant that she had to read the documents "against the grain" in Laura Stoler’s terminology. Majority and minority perspective is important - the central focus is the majoritys view of the minority and its expectations and assessments of the minority. We do not know whether minorities would have organized themselves formally to the same extent without the governments system for funding, or if this would have come later as a result of integration. The minority meets in a way the majoritys desire to form an organized society that mainstream society can relate to. 17
  • 18. Private archives l What is found in the organizations and individuals own archives? Do we see more traces of "direct voices" as my hypothesis was? We find their correspondence, reports, posters, magazines, minutes, photos and newspaper clips. We can often trace a far more multifaceted material that spans a much longer period of time. We can meet their own thoughts about their status and follow the shift in mentality as time goes by. 18
  • 19. Private archives ll May consist only of fragments. The records we collected from a dance group and a theatre don’t reflect their artistic activity, although both records contain photographs. But this can be supplemented by other documentation as Samuels has pointed out. Private archives can also be so much richer and give a more complete picture than any traces you may find of the same  In short, in private archives you phenomenon scattered in can find people’s own voices and different public archives. perspectives that are not in the public records. 19
  • 20. Private archives lll Unique content: Private archival material indicates individual group activities, efforts, self-understanding, needs and problems. The material is in fact created by these people based on needs that they recognized. Unique because the material was compiled in a very special way. Even if all documents were to be found scattered in public records, the private archives still have their unique value due to their special aggregation of the documents. From this material we will also be able to track partners of correspondence and thereby identify other archives, both public and private, where we may find more material. Descendants and others will be conveyed distinct traces and perspectives they don’t know about their ancestors. 20
  • 21. What are the consequences?- if we only preserve the public records? We create a fairly distorted picture of the new minorities if we just preserve the public archives, which largely exclude their own voices from our collective memory. This will have consequences for the archives outreach and communication work and for the users’ opportunity to search information of relevance to their own identity. The examples brought up relate to the documentation of new minorities. They can be seen as representative of the situation for the preservation of private archives. How can we proceed in order to make informed choices of strategies to obtain a better societal documentation? 21
  • 22. Other types of documentation, research anddocumentation plans Acknowledging that the archives preserved in our institutions are deficient, we need to supplement them with other archives and other documentation, such as interviews, photos and videos as pointed out by Samuels. Archival institutions do not have to produce this, but they should feel a responsibility to ensure that initiatives are taken and secure that documentation for preservation. Samuels also argues that we must engage in archival research to be able to make coherent documentation plans. There must be a division of responsibility between the archival institutions. 22
  • 23. Cooperation and participation Documentation plans are no guarantee for success. In order to collect private archives, outreach and communication work, cooperation and contact with organizations, institutions and Forente minoriteter in Oslo City Archives – the individuals are essential. song ”Oslo” Guiding private records creators we want to get documentation from if needed. Continual contact and exchange gives mutual benefit and better results. 23
  • 24. Web 2.0 and interaction Eric Ketelaar has pointed out that archival institutions using Web 2.0 have begun stimulating forms of user interaction. The user becomes more and more a co-creator. (Ketelaar, Eric (2008): Archives as Spaces of Memory, Journal of the Society of Archivists, vol 29, no 1, April 2008). Ketelaar illustrates how outreach activities can result in the preservation of new archives and vice versa. Digitizing records to make them more accessible and letting the public upload their own stories and documents can facilitate democratization - use, sharing, improving information, and a broader preservation is possible. Less distinction between public and private archives? 24
  • 25. Web 2.0 and interaction - effectivedemocratization (Derrida)? A new relationship with our users? See them: Less as patrons [låntakere, gjester] and clients, and more as community members us: Connecting communities with records(Elizabeth Yakel: “Who Represents the Past? Archives, Records and the Social Web” in Cook, Terry (Ed.): Controlling thePast. Documenting Society and Institutions. Essays in Honor of Helen Willa Samuels. SAA 2011) The Participatory Archiving Model says: “Participatory archivingencourages community involvement during the appraisal, arrangement,and description phases of creating an archival record.”(Katie Shilton and Ramesh Srinivasan: “Participatory Appraisal and Arrangement for Multicultural Archival Collections”,Archivaria 63 (Spring 2007) 25
  • 26. An integrated societal memory! I Material from the public sector has a very dominant position, practically independent of archival value. If we are to overcome this situation, the focus of our selection and preservation policies radically has to change: More resources must be allocated to private archives and documentation activities. Funding scheme for private archives – 15-20 mill. NOK (instead of 2 mill. NOK – now to be reserved only for museums according to white paper) Strong regional archival institutions – especially to preserve and communicate electronic records 26
  • 27. An integrated societal memory! II Active outreach work from the institutions and interaction with the private archives creators - to preserve a larger share of private archives. Establish a research agenda to improve the profession’s ability to document society on the basis of coherent documentation plans for the sectors of society (Helen Samuels). Only then will we lay the groundwork for an integrated societal memory that will provide relevant societal documentation as a basis for rights, research, historical analysis, visibility, identity formation, experiences and entertainment. We will also obtain a better relationship between the Norwegian Archives Act’s mission statement and the policy instruments for the preservation of private archives. 27

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