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Processing the PastContesting Authorities in History and the Archives$
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Francis X. Blouin, Jr and William G. Rosenberg

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199740543

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199740543.001.0001

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Archives and the Cyberinfrastructure

Archives and the Cyberinfrastructure

(p.183) 10 Archives and the Cyberinfrastructure
Processing the Past

Francis X. Blouin Jr.

William G. Rosenberg (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter takes up the discussion begun in Chapter 3 about digitization and explores in a comprehensive way the changes information technology are bringing to the various issues and processes discussed throughout the book. The imagined possibilities of this world where now nearly all records are born digital, some of which contain real perils for preservation in the historical sense of the term. The chapter explores how the cyberinfrastructure creates challenges for historians and the archives both in terms of the authority of their work and reviews the responses to these challenges from the archival community. It expresses concern about the impact the digital revolution has already had on artifacts and scholarship. It also questions the very nature of archival institutions as physical structures when historical research passes over a “threshold of adequacy” when nearly all questions can be resolved by digital sources.

Keywords:   artifact, bulk, cyberinfrastructure, digitization, cyberarchives, erasure, threshold of adequacy, documentation, born digital, architecture

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