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Do Archives Have Value?



This book will explore ways of establishing value in the archives by using a variety of methodologies and exploring a range of contexts.

In the United Kingdom DCMS uses various valuation matrices to allocate resources, whilst other organizations both internationally and domestically (such as local authorities and universities) are following suit. In some contexts in the UK, other developed countries, and particularly developing countries, archives have an evidential value to redress grievances and to assist in the fight against fraud and corruption. The retention of records for evidential value demands the retention of case papers relating to individuals that until now have not normally been retained. As more and more record keeping becomes digital, costs of preservation will inevitably increase which makes developing methodologies to justify additional costs urgent, particularly in poorly resourced developing countries which have been encouraged to go digital by aid agencies and donor countries.

This book will be useful reading for professional archivists and students on archival studies courses. In the wider world of cultural heritage valuation is of increasing importance in justifying services and bidding for scant resources. As a result, Do Archives Have Value? will also be of interest to senior management with oversight of libraries and museums, owners of collections and external funders.

About the contributors

David Thomas and Michael Moss

1 Valuing oral and written texts in Malawi
Paul Lihoma

2 Building an evidenced based culture for documentary heritage collections
Nancy Bell, Michael Moss and David Thomas

3 Value in fragments: an Australian perspective on re-contextualisation
Helen Morgan, Cate O'Neill, Nikki Henningham, Gavan McCarthy and Annelie De Villiers

4 Trusting the records: the Hillsborough football disaster 1989 and the work of the Independent Panel 2010–12
Sarah Tyacke

5 Sharing history: coupling the archives and history compilation in Japan
Sachiko Morimoto

6 Memories of the future: archives in India
Swapan Chakravorty

7 Business archives in Hong Kong: an overview
Pui-Tak Lee

8 The search for Ithaca? The value of personal memory in the archive of the digital age
Louise Craven

9 The commercialisation of archives: the impact of online family history sites in the UK
David Thomas and Michael Moss

10 A search for truthiness: archival research in a post-truth world
Daniel German


Michael Moss is Professor of Archival Science at the University of Northumbria. Previously, he was research professor in archival studies in the Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute at the University of Glasgow, where he directed the Information Management and Preservation MSc programme. He is a non-executive director of the National Records of Scotland and until 2014 a member of the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Council on National Archives and Records. In 2015 he was Miegunyah distinguished fellow at the University of Melbourne.
David Thomas is a Visiting Professor at the University of Northumbria. Previously, he worked at the National Archives where he was Director of Technology and was responsible for digital preservation and for providing access to digital material.

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