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Tagging Assignment: Archives


February 20, 2015 by kdaly3

My tagging assignment was in relation to the tag cloud associated with ten articles whose subjects were archives. In particular, I focused on articles that primarily dealt with the practices that archives hold to professionally and the discussions that surround current archival practices. I think the authors hit key subjects when tagging, the most relevant today being advocacy and access, though I do think some improvements can be made in terms of both consistency in tagging and the use of more specific terms.

I have both criticisms and things that I liked for each article, and I will discuss them in a general way. First off, I did appreciate that the tags that had the most usage were ‘access,’ which can encompass many things in archives, but I feel as though its best to keep this one general because people looking into archival practice will be interested in an array of different issues regarding access. ‘Advocacy’ is one term in which one could argue that there is a difference between public and political advocacy, but they generally go hand-in-hand, and differentiating would dilute the amount of rich information that can be provided. Finally, ‘memory’ is a general historical term, but again, it might be a hindrance for the purpose of tagging if narrowed down too much.

On the other hand, I think some of the other terms were too broad, such as ‘government.’ What role does the government play? Is the article related to government assistance or government records? Also, the ‘profession’ tag is used both too broadly and too liberally in many cases. In particular, one article (“Community Archives at a Moment of Change”) discusses changes that are required in professional leadership, which I think is a key issue in not only archives, but in other disciplines within history. I think a ‘professional leadership’ or ‘professional leadership skills’ tag might be more appropriate for this article, and would help narrow down topics related to professional issues within history. I also feel as though the issues or challenges that archives face weren’t represented clearly enough within this cluster; something like ‘professional challenges’ or ‘archival issues’ could address a plethora of information without being annoyingly specific.

There is also an issue of consistency at hand in some of these articles. I think they generally do a good job of addressing the major themes via tagging, but there are large issues such as digitization of materials that do not include the ‘digitization’ tag. Also, I think when an article discusses ‘community history,’ that also necessitates the use of a tag such as ‘public memory’ or ‘memory.’

List of articles:

“All that is solid? The politics of digitization”

“Introducing History Communicators”

“Bridging the new digital divide: Open records in the age of digital reproduction”

“Community archives at a moment of change”

“The Ruskin College records: Destroying a radical past”

“New uses for old interviews”

“Oral histories of the land: Creating community dialogues on the environment”

“Collecting Guantánamo Public Memory”

“Reading the artifact: The story in the archives”

“Reading the artifact: From inquiry to interpretation”





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