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American Archivist (Vol. 62, No.1 / Spring 1999)

Abstracts and Author Bios


Information Culture and the Archival Record

Steven Lubar


New technologies pose new challenges for archivists not only because they change the material nature of archives, but also because they change ideas about information and its place in our culture. This article uses contemporary cultural theory to consider the intersections of information, culture, and technology in archives. It argues that context is essential to understanding archives and that archives are creators and reinforcers of power and authority. Finally, it considers two archetypal archives, assemblages of clay tokens in the ancient Near East, and today's World Wide Web, to suggest the importance of considering archives' connectivity and context in order to understand their use and power.

Author Bio

Steven Lubar is chair of the Division of the History of Technology at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. He is the author of InfoCulture: The Smithsonian Book of Information Age Inventions, and many articles on the history of technology, materials culture, and public history.

The Archival Image in Fiction: An Analysis and Annotated Bibliography

Arlene Schmuland


The news media, television, and nonfiction and fiction books all disseminate and perpetuate many stereotypes of the archival profession. This article is a study of the images of archives and archivists based on a reading of 128 novels. It is divided into four parts: how authors define the term "archives," perceptions of the archivists themselves, the issues of dust and the images of death regularly associated with archives, and the importance of archives and archival holdings. The images of archives and archival work presented in these books are discussed in the context of archivists' long-standing concern about their professional image.

Author Bio

Arlene Schmuland is patron services archivist at the Utah State Archives. From 1994 to 1998 she worked as court archivist at the Bonneville County Court Archives in Idaho Falls, Idaho. She earned a bachelor's degree in history from Idaho State University in 1990 and a master's in history with a concentration in archives and records management from Western Washington University in 1997.

"Green" Archivism: The Archival Response to Environmental Research

Todd Welch


This article outlines the current relationship between archival materials and environmental research using information provided by a survey of repositories. The survey examined the use of archival sources in archives and manuscript repositories by environmental researchers and the efforts of archival institutions to meet the needs of such users. Results demonstrate trends in record use among environmental users and the lack of efforts by archivists to modify their programs to encourage and satisfy such use.

Author Bio

Todd Welch has been the assistant archivist in the manuscript department of the Oregon Historical Society since 1994. He received a B.S. in history from Portland State University in 1989 and an M.A. in history with a concentration in archives and records management from Western Washington University in 1995.

Integrated Archives and Records Management Programs at Professional Membership Associations: A Case Study and a Model

Stephen C. Wagner


Professional membership associations present special problems for archivists because of the highly dispersed nature of their activities (and hence recordkeeping) and the constant turnover of actors. This paper presents a case study and a model for addressing archives and records issues in these types of settings, based on the conception of the archivist as a coordinator of others' activities and not a curator of records. The strategy and tactics employed here may also work well in an era when organizational hierarchies are being eliminated and when electronic recordkeeping systems are becoming dominant.

Author Bio

Stephen C. Wagner is the bibliographer of the History of Science Society, a project based in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Oklahoma. Previously he has been History of Science Librarian at the University of Oklahoma Libraries (1995-1998) and director of Archives, Records, and Library Services at the Oncology Nursing Society (1992-1995). He has an M.A. (history and philosophy of science) and an M.L.S. (archives) from the University of Pittsburgh.

Life with Grant: Administering Manuscripts Cataloging Grant Projects

Susan Hamburger


Administering manuscripts cataloging grant projects requires planning and flexibility. The author uses three separate retrospective conversion projects for personal papers at the Library of Virginia (formerly the Virginia State Library and Archives), the University of Virginia, and the Virginia Historical Society as the basis for discussing staffing, training, record quality, workflow, and quality control. The author points out the problem areas and the successes, and makes suggestions for future manuscripts cataloging retrospective conversion projects.

Author Bio

Susan Hamburger is the manuscripts librarian in the Special Collections Department, Pattee Library, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park. She began her career in special collections at Florida State University. She then served as archivist at the Virginia State Library and Archives, the University of Virginia, and the Virginia Historical Society. She earned a master's degree in history in 1984 and a Ph.D. in American history in 1994, both from Florida State University.

The Indiana University Electronic Records Project Revisited

Philip C. Bantin


Further work on the Indiana University Electronic Records Project has demonstrated the value of systems analysis in identifying the functions, subfunctions, and individual inputs and outputs that need to be documented. In addition to this new methodology, the project has also found its new strategy of aligning the Archives with Internal Audit to be an effective way to participate in information systems review and to provide a forum to present archival considerations and concerns regarding electronic recordkeeping.

Author Bio

Philip C. Bantin is university archivist at Indiana University, where he has been actively involved in the management of IU's electronic resources as a member and co-chair of the university's Data Stewards Committee. Before working at IU, Bantin was an assistant archivist at Marquette University, university archivist at UCLA, and head of the Archives and Manuscripts Department at Boston College.

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