Review: Archival Janus: The Records Center

“Archival Janus: The Records Center, by Herbert E. Angel (1968),
A Modern Archives Reader, Daniels and Walch, editors, pp. 46-53.

Did you know the Greek word for government house was archeion [Αρχείον], from which we get our word archives.  There was of course no word for records center in the Greek language, so author Herbert Angel cleverly makes use of the Roman god Janus, who was characterized as the god of gates and doors, or “good beginnings which insure good endings”, and who was pictured as facing in two directions at once.   Records centers, Angel contends, face both towards the offices they serve and towards the archives and/or waste recyclers where their records eventually end up.

Mr. Angel’s next bit of ingenuity is to apply the word purgatory to the status of records deposited in a records center.  Bad theology but here a useful concept, in that they are there until they move along to their eventual destination.

The article tracks the progress of the records management concept from the old records depots (I appreciated his recognition that we all have these, in the garage, in the attic, etc.), to the modern records centers, from austere, primitive beginnings to state-of-the-art facilities, both for government and commercial operations.  In short, this article might be considered an extension of the article by Frank B. Evans, but I also found it to be the least useful of these three articles in chapter two.  Least useful so far as the ACA exam is concerned, anyway.


About wsparkman

Director of the PCA Historical Center, St. Louis, Missouri.
This entry was posted in Reviews, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Review: Archival Janus: The Records Center

  1. Pingback: Readings for ACA Domain 6 | A Providential Archivist

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