Saturday, August 30, 2008

SAA Stream of Consciousness

I will be writing about my experiences at SAA and I'll begin with a list of scribbled notes I kept while attending sessions and meetings for the past three days.

Issues of ownership, consultation, mutual understanding and respect
Different ways of knowing, understanding, doing, and remembering.
Resilience and flexibility.
Archives are sites of power where archivists make decisions shaped by political and social factors
Different conceptual terms with different meanings/context, authentic, authority
Archives are inert; nothing happens until someone weaves it into a story; the telling is different from what happened.
Absences in the archives have an effect
Meanings can be impeded or concealed
Archives are arranged to frame different questions; to ask, reveal, conceal and obscure.
Archival records are produced from culturally embedded assumptions.
Purposes of archives/document and protect cultural heritage, protect legal rights, essential evidence
Archives are alien and mysterious to most
Relationship between documents and social memory
Archives are sites of power relationships in society
We rely on the integrity of archives
Privileged groups can control societal memory by manipulating archives
Archives are not about the past; they are about the future.
How do we pluralize and make definition of records inclusive?
Words like custody and holdings imply possession; try guardianship and stewardship
Describe yourself in a way that is useful to me so that I can understand it.
Job postings focus on digital skills and cultural understanding; latter is not valued
“I am the caretaker of the old words”
Access—retrieve information passed on orally
Archives organized by season of the year
Archival programs related to political change/example: end of colonization
Consultation= collaboration.
Culture= carrying a message from the creator
Construct, act, and listen
Look at it from a moral, not just legal, perspective
Protocols are not demands; they are an invitation
How can we resolve spiritual concerns in Protocols with separation of state and religion?
How can we resolve concerns about how material objects are viewed? Artifacts should be allowed to die a natural death/preservation.
If it’s afternoon you can’t listen to a morning song or then it would be an afternoon song; come back tomorrow morning.
Gaps and silences are just as important as records
Respectful subject headings
Information about creation of documents necessary to provide context
Demystify special collections/consider multiple perspectives
Who has the authority to speak for the community?
In Western law intellectual rights are for individual, not community

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