Review: The Archival Edge, by Gerald Ham (1975)

“The Archival Edge,” by Gerald Ham (1975),
in A Modern Archives Reader, Daniels & Walch, editors, pp. 326-335.

This article is a “think-piece” intended to provoke consideration of the future of archives and how best to proceed into the coming years.  While now dated, there are certainly points here that can still be valid considerations to take up and ponder.

From the section introduction, the editors offer this summary of Ham’s article:

“. . . Ham observes that archival repositories cannot preserve all available contemporary documentation and argues that archivists must establish priorities to document adequately the broad spectrum of human experience.  [we might add here, or rather, the full spectrum of materials pertinent to each archive’s mission statement].  Ham proposes a new degree of cooperation among archivists as the foundation for identifying and establishing these priorities.  Though all archivists may not agree with Ham’s conclusions, his discussion provides a vivid demonstration of the importance for archivists of examining their profession and balancing the complex of activities that must be interwoven for an effective archival program.”


About wsparkman

Director of the PCA Historical Center, St. Louis, Missouri.
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