Animating the archive

  • Jeffrey Schnapp Stanford Humanities Lab, Stanford University


Derived from ancient Greek άρχεϊου ("government"), the late Latin word "archive" has come in the modern era to refer not just to public records but also to the entire corpus of material remains that the past has bequeathed to the present: artifacts, writings, books, works of art, personal documents, and the like. It also refers to the institutions that house and preserve such remains, be they museums, libraries, or archives proper. In all of these meanings, archive connotes a past that is dead, that has severed its ties with the present, that has entered the crypt of history. The essay explores the ways in which Internet 2.0 offers new possibilities for institutions of memory: novel approaches to conservation and preservation based not upon limiting but multiplying access to the remains of the past; participatory models of content production and curatorship; mixed reality approaches to programming and informal education that expand traditional library and museum audiences; and enhanced means for vivifying and for promoting active modes of engagement with the past.
How to Cite
Schnapp, J. (2008). Animating the archive. First Monday, 13(8).
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