Journal Review of Archival Science – Rebecca R.
Archival Science is a quarterly academic journal notable for its international, multicultural, and interdisciplinary scope, with its editorial board consisting of professionals and academics from six continents. A thorough reading of the journal’s publications of the past 24 months has revealed common trends of discourse among information professionals, including archives and trust, identity and memory, rights of indigenous peoples, and genre studies as applicable to archives practices.
Articles concerning trust and its relation to archives approached the topic in several different ways and presented different debates. Some articles addressed distrust of organizations and institutions, which the authors often culled from the idea of an increasing level of distrust in society. Especially when discussing trust in institutions, transparency and accountability were important attributes. Dara M. Price and Johanna J. Smith asserted in “The trust continuum in the information age: a Canadian perspective,” that these qualities have become so important to society; they are central in archival relevancy. Another topic was the standards of integrity and authenticity of digital material and electronic records. Several articles asserted the traditional standards of reliability for paper and physical material is unsuitable for digital files, due to their transformative and reproducible nature. The articles called for a new way of thinking concerning digital files, because they are not fixed and permanent, but necessarily reproduced, and inevitably transformed in that reproduction. Heather MacNeil stated, “[T]he measures taken by archivists and archival institutions in the interest of preserving and demonstrating [digital] record trustworthiness need to accommodate uncertainty, contingency and difference.” 
The topics of identity and memory were also prevalent enough for Archival Science to publish a special issue in June of 2013 entitled, “Memory, Identity and the Archival Paradigm.” Archives’ important role in the shaping of history and construction of identities, especially in marginalized groups and genealogical research, was often presented in the articles as a duty to be embraced and developed. Caroline Brown stated, “By creating, changing and preserving the archive we form and reform history and through this and through the cultural frameworks and points of reference that archives create, we have power over memory and identity.”
Memory and identity are also closely tied with the roles archives play in the rights of indigenous peoples. Most of these articles, many included in the June 2012 special issue, “Keeping Cultures Alive: Archives and Indigenous Human Rights,” were specifically written about indigenous peoples in Australia and New Zealand, but indigenous peoples in the United States and Canada echoed the ideas. For example, Vine Deloria, Jr. called for archival and library facilities to be established on reservations, as well as tribal material to be moved to these new facilities. The importance of indigenous community involvement with archival material was purported in several articles, as well as the problems that arise from indigenous history and culture, including oral history, being described and preserved in a traditional Western framework. “Distrust in the archive: reconciling records” by Sue McKemmish, Shannon Faulkhead, and Lynette Russell, detailed the process of reconciling the knowledge systems and forms of history of the indigenous Australian Koorie population with the archival systems in place in the region. The steps taken in the article “highlight the need for the Australian archival profession to understand the priorities of Indigenous communities and embrace Indigenous frameworks of knowledge, memory and evidence, including knowledge that is stored and transmitted orally.”
The topic of genre studies also prompted Archival Science to publish a special issue in December of 2012. Because genre had not been greatly discussed in terms of archives, the articles presented genre studies to be a way to deepen understanding of archival materials. This would enable them to create a more comprehensive and adept description and management system, by examining not just the content and linguistics in the document, but also the information and implications of its form, use, manufacture, intention, and consumption. These articles were more theoretical than many previously published, and required an existing or supplemental knowledge of relevant genre theory for the reader to understand the ideas presented.
A number of authors were influential throughout the articles. An associate professor at the University of Toronto, Heather MacNeil’s work on authenticity and trust in archives, and genre were often cited. Luciana Duranti contributions most often involve the trustworthiness of documents, diplomatics, and writings in support of neutrality and objectivity. Jacques Derrida’s philosophy concerning archives was also widely referenced. Several articles also featured opinions opposing neutrality by Anne Gilliland, Eric Ketelaar, and Terry Cook. Anne Gilliliand’s works about promoting plurality in archives, archival education, and digital records are cited in nearly a dozen articles from the past two years. A number of articles cite Eric Ketelaar’s work concerning memory and community, plurality in archives, and increased access through technology. Terry Cook’s ideas concerning archives’ role in collective memory and identity are often cited as well.
The most pressing subjects covered in the selected journal readings seemed to be digitization and the increasing recognition of the rights and needs of indigenous people and their respective cultures. Both of these topics have brought forth many new debates and questions among archives and records professionals. These also attest to a trend of great change in the archival profession, including the form of archive materials, access and descriptive methods, acquisition policies, and even how archivists view themselves, as neutral custodians or active shapers of history and memory.
 “Archival Science,” Springer, 23 September 2013, http://www.springer.com/computer/database+management+%26+information+retrieval/journal/10502?detailsPage=editorialBoard.
 Anneli Sundqvist, “Documentation practices and recordkeeping: a matter of trust or distrust?,” Archival Science 11, nos. 3-4 (2011): 278.
 Dara M. Price and Johanna J. Smith, “The trust continuum in the information age: a Canadian perspective,” Archival Science 11, nos. 3-4 (2011): 255.
 Heather MacNeil, “Trust and professional identity: narratives, counter-narratives and lingering ambiguities,” Archival Science 11, no. 2 (2011): 182, 187.
 Caroline Brown, “Memory, identity and the archival paradigm: introduction to the special issue,” Archival Science 13, nos. 2-3 (2013): 86.
 Allison Boucher Krebs, “Native America’s twenty-first-century right to know,” Archival Science 12, no. 2 (2012): 176.
 Sue McKemmish, Shannon Faulkhead, and Lynette Russell, “Distrust in the archive: reconciling records,” Archival Science 11, nos. 3-4 (2012): 212.
 Gillian Oliver and Wendy M. Duff, “Genre studies and archives: introduction to the special issue,” Archival Science 12, no. 4 (2012): 374.