How Archives Actually Work

Archivists determine how information is catalogued and therefore understood by the public. Additionally, archivists deliberately choose what goes into the archive and what does not for a number of reasons. These include insufficient data from the source material, data being unable to be formatted or converted for the archive, or the belief that some of the data is simply unnecessary. Consequently, archivists selecting certain information or data for documentation creates a new wealth of knowledge in the archive.

This process illustrates the arrangement of the archive and demonstrates why archivists make certain decisions that lead the creation of the archive and how they become part of the archive as well. Thus, when working on group projects such as Documenting a Citizen, digital media makers who work on video production and graphic images have to decide what gets cut out and what gets left in the editing process. If a clip of the citizen in question is cut down from twenty to ten minutes for editorial reasons still complete? Is a shot depicting the citizen in a different perspective than usual inaccurate? When the video portrait is complete, parts of it have been removed and altered and the result is a product that is eventually archived, does it still count?

As time goes on, archivization will become more advanced and there will be several complex methods of categorizing information. Choices will be made on what to include in futuristic archives and the necessity of documentation more prominent. Therefore, these two important questions we will need to ask ourselves when generating archives: what information is not included and why.


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