IS 291 Week 3 Reading Notes

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week 3 reading notes

Diplomatics: New Uses for an Old Science
Luciana Duranti
The study of the Wesen [being] and Werden [becoming] of documentation
Analysis of genesis, inner constitution and transmission of documents
Analysis of their relationship with the facts represented in them and with their creators
Identification, evaluation, control and communication
Modern adaptation of Latin res diplomatica
Critical analysis of the forms of diplomas
Origin and historical development
History, paleography, archival science derived as scientific disciplines using primary sources from diplomatics
Diplomatics as an independent science restricted to the chronological limits of medieval period
Principles, concepts, methods are universally valid
1960s: diplomatics and archival science divorced from exclusive association with the historical sciences

Selection of sources appropriate to preserve is conditioned by the culture, the historical-legal-administrative sensibility of the archivist, and the ways current records are formed and maintained
Special diplomatics: the application of a body of concepts to infinite individual cases is diplomatic criticism
Theory (general diplomatics) and criticism (special diplomatics) influence each other
French revolution, applied diplomatics to historical sources, not just current ones
Dom Jean Mabillon
Systematic study of types of script
Dom Bernardo de Montfauçon
Sytematic study of ancient scripts

Special archival science
Complex of documents as a whole
Special diplomatics
The single document, the elemental archival unit

Study of document creators gets easier
Standardization of records management
Freedom of information
Knowledge is losing its elitist character
Character as it relates to documents
Whenever an archivist studies records
Always an historical-administrative-legal-diplomatic character=an archival nature
When scholars began to look at documents as historical evidence diplomatics and paleography acquired a scientific and objective character, though confused as one discipline

Purposes, authenticity and originality
Duranti and Thibodeau on InterPARES
Topics regarding authentic records in electronic systems
Characteristics of electronic records
How records in electronic systems resemble and differ from traditional records in hard copy
Digital counterpart to traditional records
Preserved as bit stream(s) to be processed and rendered in the proper documentary form
Duranti and Thibodeau on InterPARES
Interactive, experiential and dynamic systems
Can produce documents capable of being kept as records
May have appropriately bounded variability in form and content
Selection, control of sequencing and presentation features
Enabling documents
Unique or spontaneous variation in content or form
Intellectually interrelated parts of records aggregation
Duranti and Thibodeau on InterPARES
Definition of record in context of interactive, experiential and dynamic systems
Depends on
Level of abstraction
Key terms
Darwinian approach
Situates a communicative action within its socio-cultural environment
Evolutive nature of genres is both outcome and means of social action (RGS)
Platonic approach
Categorize documents as reified, decontextualized entities, frozen in time, with clear boundaries
Social context as an integral part of human activity
Documents/genres as cultural artifacts
MacNeill on contemnporary archival diplomatics
Strength of diplomatics
Comprises a body of concepts and principles that provide a strong conceptual model of an authentic record
Administrative history and theory
Historical and contemporary knowledge of the nature of recordkeeping practices
Identifies common, shared elements of records
Ideal types
Not true or false, but useful or not
Need to be revised and re-invented to take into account changes in social phenomena
Revising the archival-diplomatic model
Return to inductive roots
Case studies provide empirical grounds to identify components of electronic records
Compare those components to the archival-diplomatic model
Identify relevant and meaningful components
Develop ideal-type(s) of electronic records
Create new theoretical-deductive model(s) of an electronic record

Objective of UBC and InterPARES
Development of an explanatory and predictive model or an authentic electronic record to enable archivists to identify authenticity requirements for current and future types of electronic records
Not enough knowledge
Shift research focus away from explanation and prediction toward description and exploration
Enhancing the relevance of contemporary archival diplomatics
Interpretivist philosophy
Conceptual model capable of various reconstructions
Contextualist approach
Requires ethnographic desrciption of background knowledge and frames of relevance
Two more aspects needed
Construing context
Researchers versus informants (terminology)
Situate the model within a more interpretive and contextualist framework
Incorporate multiple disciplinary and methodological perspectives