The question I was pondering this week was: when did people start writing about personal digital collections? By "people", I mean archivists and record-keepers. And by "writing", I mean publishing academic/scholarly articles. In English.
I started out by singling out Archives and Manuscripts, which is the journal of the Australian Society of Archivists. Why? Because Australian archivists seem to have started most of the interesting conversations in the last few decades. (And also because I was going to look at a bunch of other journals from different regions too - but ran out of time!)
So anyway, here are seven of the earliest articles that I came across that discuss personal digital collections:
McKemmish, Sue. Understanding electronic recordkeeping systems: understanding ourselves. Archives and Manuscripts, Vol. 22, No. 1, May 1994: 150-162.
Cunningham, Adrian. The archival management of personal records in electronic form: some suggestions. Archives and Manuscripts, Vol. 22, No. 1, May 1994: 94-105.
O'Shea, Greg. The medium is not the message: appraisal of electronic records by Australian Archives. Archives and Manuscripts, Vol. 22, No. 1, May 1994: 68-93.
Parer, Dagmar and Parrott, Keith. Management practices in the electronic records environment. Archives and Manuscripts, Vol. 22, No. 1, May 1994: 106-122.
Roberts, David and O'Shea, Greg. Living in a digital world: recognising the electronic and post custodial realities. Archives and Manuscripts, Vol. 24, No. 2, Nov 1996: 286-311.
Paquet, Lucie. Appraisal, acquisition and control of personal electronic records: from myth to reality. Archives and Manuscripts, Vol. 28, No. 2, Nov 2000: 71-91.
Ketelaar, Eric. Being Digital in People's Archives. Archives and Manuscripts, Vol. 31, No. 2, Nov 2003: 8-22.
I think it's interesting that these early articles focus on the difficulties of caring for digital material after it has been deposited in an archive. That isn't particularly surprising, given that the target audience was professional record-keepers. But there isn't much in the way of helping people care for their own digital possessions.
That said, I have only looked at this one Australian journal so far. It will be interesting to compare journals from elsewhere in the world.
Much more stuff has been published in recent years to fill that gap - I was just curious to see what were the earliest examples I could find!
Thanks for reading :) This article is part of my Deep Dive into Personal Digital Archiving Series.
Series Intro: Why Stuff Matters (to us)?
Previous Article: Caring for our Digital Belongings... according to people in 2006!
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