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Archives and Societal Provenance

Book Description

Records and archival arrangements in Australia are globally relevant because Australia’s indigenous people represent the oldest living culture in the world, and because modern Australia is an ex-colonial society now heavily multicultural in outlook. Archives and Societal Provenance explores this distinctiveness using the theoretical concept of societal provenance as propounded by Canadian archival scholars led by Dr Tom Nesmith. The book’s seventeen essays blend new writing and re-workings of earlier work, comprising the fi rst text to apply a societal provenance perspective to a national setting.

After a prologue by Professor Michael Moss entitled A prologue to the afterlife, this title consists of four sections. The first considers historical themes in Australian recordkeeping. The second covers some of the institutions which make the Australian archival story distinctive, such as the Australian War Memorial and prime ministerial libraries. The third discusses the formation of archives. The fourth and final part explores debates surrounding archives in Australia. The book concludes by considering the notion of an archival afterlife.

  • Presents material from a life’s career working and thinking about archives and records and their multiple relationships with history, biography, culture and society
  • The first book to focus specifically on the Australian archival scene
  • Covers a wide variety of themes, including: the theoretical concept of the records continuum; census records destruction; Prime Ministerial Libraries; and the documentation of war

Table of Contents

  1. Cover image
  2. Title page
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Copyright
  5. A prologue to the afterlife
  6. Acknowledgements
  7. About the author
  8. Chapter 1: Introduction: societal provenance
    1. Abstract.
    2. Terroir, culture and the individual
    3. The aura of societal provenance
    4. Australia and the Australian people
    5. Other terminology
    6. Applying societal provenance
  9. Part 1: History
    1. Chapter 2: Themes in Australian recordkeeping, 1788–2010
      1. Abstract.
      2. British recordkeeping legacy
      3. The governing machinery
      4. Immigrant nation
      5. The ordinary Australian: free immigrants and soldiers
      6. Conclusion
    2. Chapter 3: Schellenberg in Australia: meaning and precedent
      1. Abstract.
      2. Assessing Schellenberg’s visit
      3. Impact on the Paton Inquiry, and on Schellenberg
      4. Political use
      5. Cultural cringe
      6. Impact of later visitors
    3. Chapter 4: Archives: an indispensable resource for Australian historians?
      1. Abstract.
      2. The three-stage discovery model
      3. Just how important are archives?
      4. The Australian archives-history nexus
      5. In summary
    4. Chapter 5: The file on H
      1. Abstract.
  10. Part 2: Institutions
    1. Chapter 6: Libraries and archives: from subordination to partnership
      1. Abstract.
      2. The setting – the 1950s
      3. Schellenberg and the Paton Inquiry
      4. Librarians’ guest, archivists’ hope
      5. National Library Inquiry Committee
      6. Inquiry membership
      7. The inquiry supports separation
      8. The arguments
      9. Other later developments
    2. Chapter 7: Making sense of prime ministerial libraries
      1. Abstract.
      2. Meanings
      3. Benefits
      4. Challenges
      5. Conclusion
    3. Chapter 8: War, sacred archiving and C.E.W.Bean
      1. Abstract.
      2. The setting
      3. Archives
      4. What it all meant
  11. Part 3: Formation
    1. Chapter 9: Saving the statistics, destroying the census
      1. Abstract.
      2. Conducting the census
      3. Confidentiality
      4. The current debate
      5. Supporting destruction
      6. The case for retention
      7. Claim and counter-claim
      8. The independent inquiry
      9. Reflections
    2. Chapter 10: Documenting Australian business: invisible hand or centrally planned?
      1. Abstract
      2. Handicaps and solutions
      3. Conditioning factors
    3. Chapter 11: Appraisal ‘firsts’ in twenty-first-century Australia
      1. Abstract.
      2. Trust and Technology
      3. Appraising census forms
      4. Business archives
      5. Australian Society of Archivists
      6. In summary
  12. Part 4: Debates
    1. Chapter 12: Two cheers for the records continuum
      1. Abstract.
      2. The early to mid-1990s
      3. Monash University
      4. Frank Upward
      5. The Australian audience
      6. Abstractions, words and diagrams
      7. Accolades and assessments
      8. The inevitable limits of continuum theory
    2. Chapter 13: Recordkeeping and recordari: listening to Percy Grainger
      1. Abstract:
      2. Percy Grainger
      3. Rose Grainger
      4. The recordkeeper
      5. Finding an archives host
      6. A convenient form of artificial memory
      7. The Remembrancer
      8. Rich archive, wretched memory
      9. Memory-dependent recordkeeping
    3. Chapter 14: Alchemist magpies? Collecting archivists and their critics
      1. Abstract.
      2. Historian friends
      3. Sir Hilary Jenkinson
      4. Chris Hurley
      5. Richard Cox
      6. A partial rejoinder
      7. The collecting archivist
      8. The results of collecting: it hardly matters
      9. The results of collecting: it matters
    4. Chapter 15: The poverty of Australia’s recordkeeping history
      1. Abstract.
      2. Acquisition
      3. Destruction
      4. Problems with traditional history
      5. Criticism 1: it starts only in 1788
      6. Criticism 2: a dated notion of what archives are and what archivists do
      7. Criticism 3: the neglect of recordkeeping systems history
      8. Criticism 4: the absence of a history of the record
      9. Conclusion
    5. Chapter 16: Acknowledging Indigenous recordkeeping
      1. Abstract.
      2. Definitions
      3. The need for new definitions
      4. Tanderrum
      5. Message sticks
      6. Cognitive records, Dreaming archives
      7. Towards an inclusive Australian archival science
  13. Epilogue: an archival afterlife
  14. Reference
  15. Index