“We are what we keep: challenging tradition in appraisal and acquisition”

The 2010 Society of Archivists’ conference begins tomorrow in Manchester.  The programme can be found here.

“This year our conference theme challenges us to rethink our approaches to appraisal and acquisition. We have invited a strong line-up of international and home-grown speakers to explore with us these key professional issues. Of course we all face financial pressures to justify the scale of our operations but we must balance this with a clear vision about what information it is necessary to preserve in all media and communicate that vision to our paymasters and to society more widely.

This is especially relevant in the digital world where there is a whole spectrum of record-keeping and access aspirations from unlimited storage and access, as we heard at last year’s conference, to releasing nothing (thinking of the University of East Anglia’s climate data and MP’s redacted claims!) We have a strong programme of speakers on this theme and I hope that we will leave Manchester with some new ways of thinking about what we do and some ideas about how to communicate that better outside the professions.”

Katy Goodrum
Chair Society of Archivists

The Society is pleased to welcome Terry Cook, of Clio Consulting, and the Archival Studies Program, Department of History, University of Manitoba (Winnipeg) as our keynote speaker. Terry’s paper is entitled Missing Piece or First Responsibility: Archival Appraisal Past, Present, and Future.

Terry says:
“In appraisal, archivists co-create the archive. They decide who and what will be remembered across generations and, equally and with finality, who and what will be excluded from collective memory. Appraisal has been ignored, denied, or delegated in practice, yet also asserted to be the archivist’s first and most important responsibility. This paper will trace the evolution of appraisal concepts and practices, look at the current state of the art, and suggest avenues for future exploration.”

The conference hashtag on twitter seems to have been agreed at #soa10, and a twapperkeeper archive is available.

Having experimented with live tweeting during the Cimtech conference in July, twitter followers may be relieved to hear I’m going to revert to trying to blog about the conference instead of live tweeting.  I hugely appreciate following a conference on twitter that I’m not attending in person (the Archives Without Borders conference over the last 2 days has been really interesting to follow – see the archive) but found there wasn’t time for reflection or pondering on what was being said as I tweeted.

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