Trajectories of Personal Archiving: Discovering, Preserving, and Making Available Diverse Data Resources in Faculty Research

Authors: Gregory Knapp*, University of Texas - Austin
Topics: Historical Geography, History of Geography
Keywords: Archives, archiving, field notes
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Virginia B, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Geographers have long discussed problems of archiving and even defining what an archive is. Data can be encountered in many surprising locales, not just traditional archives and libraries. Most researchers have field notes of interviews and observations, which often are never published or archived. Digital photography in theory is relatively easy to put online, while photographic prints and slides present challenging problems of organization and scanning. Field researchers often come across data sets and maps in farms, private companies, local and national government agencies, international development organizations, and nongovernmental organizations which can be purchased, photocopied, or recorded in field notes on the spot for future use. In-house publications and publications in limited editions in local presses provide another opportunity for the researcher to “rescue” data which might otherwise be difficult of access. What happens to these copies, especially if the original data sets disappear? File cabinets and personal libraries are temporary. In terms of publicizing and “making available,” different strategies work differently in different settings, but at all times one has to be conscious of power relationships and ethical issues, as well as hidden as well as overt hegemonic processes and discourses. Research on more complex and controversial topics has created many new challenges for ethical acquisition, archiving, and diffusion of research data and interpretations, but is vital for understanding cross currents of modernization in a polyvalent world. Finally, there is the question of what happens to faculty archives after retirement or death.

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