Sunday, 8 November 2009

The Image of an Archive/Archivist

Something I found while surfing the Internet The Serge Prokofiev Archives and this great little paragraph.

To most people, archives conjure up a picture of dark rooms encumbered with archival boxes and rows of heavily-loaded, dusty shelves; silent places of musty scent, occasionally disturbed by the shuffling sound of quiet archivists whose life seems to revolve around descriptive catalogues and index cards; in a word, archives have been perceived for a long time as the undisturbed shrine of the past. This quaint cliché fades away as soon as one enters the Prokofiev Archive offices, two busy rooms in the Information Services Building at Goldsmiths College, or visits its collection kept in the Library's Special Collections.

It is one of my bug bears that this quaint little cliché still exists but I am glad to see someone a wonderful archive tackling it head on. Yes we still need quiet for readers and we need to protect the past but we don’t need the wider public to go around thinking we work in dusty archives (they should, if been properly managed, be wonderful and clean) or that we are a shuffling and mumbling profession!

I suppose we all are labelled in some way but lets hope by more interaction with the wider public this becomes something of a distant memory by all than a sneaky suspicion that is what we are like.

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