Debate-ably Archive-able

Determining what is and is not archive-able seems like a daunting task for any one person to delegate. To make such a brash decision, there has to stand a solid definition of the word “archive.” Derrida exchanges his thoughts about how “archive” is such an ambiguous term in Archive Fever. In his essay he also discusses how Freud expanded on the “death drive” and how it “not only incites forgetfulness, amnesia, the annihilation of memory…but also…the eradication…of…the archive, consignation, the documentary or monumental apparatus.” As much as people are driven to manifest an archive to capture the past in a containable and easy to reach arena, the death drive exists in everyone with an urge to destroy archives. In Manoff’s essay, he displays a view on how there have been archives destroyed, leaving cultural artifacts and its history in rubble. From the “war between Abkhazia and Georgia when, four Georgian members of the National Guard threw incendiary grenades into the Abkhazian State Archives resulting in the destruction of much of the history of the entire region,” to “the aftermath of the U.S. lead ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom,’ Iraqi’s Nation Museum, Nation Library, Nation Archives, and other repositories have been looted and burned,” There have been multiple times throughout history of a ginormous loss of important information. Manoff also describes Derrida’s thoughts on how “such destruction represents the failure of the present in its responsibility to the future.”

Manoff discusses how “Greetham wants to demonstrate what he calls the ‘archival hubris’ of ‘universal library cataloging.'” The Library of Congress is an example of a very traditional archive, in the sense mainly it only contains historical documents.  Richard Harvey Brown talks about how traditional archives should expand and remix their contents and positions on archive-able paraphernalia in an attempt to enrich the perspective of libraries and other archives.

 

What are some ways a traditional library or archive can remix itself without sounding ridiculous or too bizarre?

 

-Cody

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