INFO 6800 (Winter 2013) Week Five Seminar Handout


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Handout for week five seminar of INFO 6800 Archives (Winter 2013).

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INFO 6800 (Winter 2013) Week Five Seminar Handout

  1. 1. INFO 6800 Archives – February 4, 2013 Week Five – Archival AppraisalObjectives 1. Introduce the fundamental concepts of appraisal theory 2. Explore the implications of selecting archival materials 3. Examine the documentation of archival appraisalActivities: Seminar presentationsDue: Neptune Theatre production history assignmentRequired ReadingsDuranti, Luciana. “The Concept of Appraisal and Archival Theory.” American Archivist57.2 (1994): 328-344. and Archives Canada. “Appraisal Methodology: Macro-Appraisal and FunctionalAnalysis. Part A: Concepts and Theory,” prepared by Terry Cook. Ottawa: Library andArchives Canada, 2001., Tom “Documenting Appraisal as a Societal-Archival Process: Theory,Practice, and Ethics in the Wake of Helen Willa Samuels.” In Controlling the Past:Documenting Society and Institutions – Essays in Honor of Helen Willa Samuels, p. 31-50.Terry Cook, ed. Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2011.Cox, Richard J. “The End of Collecting: Toward a New Purpose for Archival Appraisal.”In No Innocent Deposits: Forming Archives by Rethinking Appraisal, p. 19-46. Lanham,Md., and Oxford: Scarecrow Press, 2004.Optional ReadingsTschan, Reto. “A Comparison of Jenkinson and Schellenberg on Appraisal.” AmericanArchivist 65.2 (Fall-Winter 2002): 176-195. INFO 6800 Archives (Winter 2013) – Week Five Seminar | 1
  2. 2. Prepare for Discussion 1. What is archival appraisal and what are its objectives? 2. What is the problem with basing appraisal decisions on the needs of historians and other researchers? 3. What are the characteristics of archives? What are some of the practical challenges involved with observing and respecting these characteristics? 4. How does Duranti examine the theoretical concept of archival appraisal? How does the digital environment challenge this approach? Are there other means of examining appraisal theory? 5. What is the “moral defense” of archives? How does this concept relate to archival appraisal? How does it affect the work of today’s archivists? 6. How did Schellenberg depart from Jenkinson’s theory of archives? What were the implications for archival theory? 7. Can archivists reliably and consistently rank or assign value to records? Which is more important, the evidential or informational value of a record? 8. What tools should archivists have in place to carry out archival appraisal? 9. What is documentation strategy and how does it depart from traditional ideas about archival appraisal? 10. What is the societal-appraisal process outlined by Nesmith? How does he suggest archivists fulfill their ethical obligation for greater archival accountability in the appraisal process? 11. What are the challenges involved with documenting archival appraisal? What kind of information about appraisal policies and procedures should be made available to the public? 12. Is macro-appraisal appropriate for electronic records? Or would a content-based analysis of the documents (diplomatics) be a better means of appraised electronic records? INFO 6800 Archives (Winter 2013) – Week Five Seminar | 2
  3. 3. 13. What is the relationship between the concept of respect des fonds and archival appraisal theory? How does the shifting definition of provenance affect archival appraisal? INFO 6800 Archives (Winter 2013) – Week Five Seminar | 3