ARST 5000 Week 2 Class Notes Fall 2017
Image source: joshuafkitchens

ARST 5000 Week 2 Class Notes Fall 2017

Table of Contents


  • Define ‘record’ and discuss how it changes in different contexts
  • Describe the characteristics of records in terms of carrier and content, including media, signal, encoding, and structure (protocol, exposition, eschatocol)
  • List common genres, including report, form, certificate, correspondence, diaries, fiction, books
  • Distinguish and discuss primary and secondary sources, (published v. unpublished; unique v. original)


  • Roberts, Jennifer L. “The Power of Patience.” Harvard Magazine (July-August 2014).
  • O’Toole, James M. “On the Idea of Permanence,” AA 52:1 (Winter 1989), p. 10-25.
  • “Record” in A Glossary of Archival and Records Terminology (Society of American Archivists, 2005).
  • Levy, David M. “What are Documents?” in Scrolling Forward: Making Sense of Documents in the Digital Age (Arcade, 2001).
  • Yeo, Geoffrey. “Concepts of Record (1): Evidence, Information, and Persistent Representations.” in American Archivist 70 (Fall/Winter 2007), p. 315-343.
  • Beyond The Hashtag
    • PDF -



  • go over major issues, ask for questions about the readings.
  • Mention the article on patience


  • First paper due next week Review of Green Article
  • Assignment 1 Due Sept 4, short paper
  • Emphasis discussion boards

Brief History of Recorded Information

  • Discuss oral tradition as the earliest. Some groups who still practice this use a peer review system to keep the tradition going. The issue of human failing (cite urban legends)
  • Writing Systems
  • Machine
    • Age of the printer and type writer.
    • Reduced forgery to some extent. Could create more authentic records
  • Digital Assisted
    • Ease of change, but authenticity has been reduced. “fake news”


  • For these two questions prompt students about how humans desire to find a method to remember things. Some of these are culturally significant, some are related obligations
  • Differences can relate to social needs and the nature of the process used to record the information.

Common Attributes

  • These are basically self explanatory. Consider referencing O’toole at this point
    • Mention briefly the idea of permanence of information.
    • Ask is permanence really possible? O’Toole would say probably not. More later


Knowledge Hierarchy

  • Data also known as signal especially in electronic records
  • Information is inferring things from data, could be metadata, contextual information, or organization of data
  • Knowledge is information analyzed
  • Expertise is gained from understand knowledge from various forms.

Define a Record Personally

  • Consider taking notes for the group.
  • What records you as a person?
  • What records your family?
  • What records groups that you associate with?


Federal Definition

  • hit main parts
    • Explain it in the next slide
  • Read GA definition of a record
  • ‘Public record’ means all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, computer based or generated information, data, data fields, or similar material prepared and maintained or received by an agency or by a private person or entity in the performance of a service or function for or on behalf of an agency or when such documents have been transferred to a private person or entity by an agency for storage or future governmental use. 50-18-70.

SAA Glossary Definitions

  • Draw attention to the fixed form… Reference O’toole


  • Explain diplomatics at this point
  • Define Content, Context and Structure, Affordances
    • Quality that provides a particular benefit in a given context
    • Paper?
    • Digital?


  • Elvis
  • Content, Context, Structure Dec 21, 1971
  • Twitter


  • this vexed everyone on the discussion board a bit
  • Beyond the primary source


  • how does this compared to yeo

Document V Record

  • Documents are often transient and have not context
  • Records have quality that makes them useful for a period of time. There is context and structure


  • Stability Relates to proving authenticity


  • demonstrates that something did or didn’t happen given a specific point of view


  • Schellenburg values

So why all of these definitions

  • Situations mean we have to examine records differently depending upon how we are trying to archive subjects/etc

Is this a record and Case Studies

On the idea of Permanence

  • What is permanent?
  • How does the transition from oral to written culture affect the idea of permanence? How has the transition to digital affected it?
  • We discussed how values are separate from recordness? Should the concept of permanence playing this discussion
  • How should we think about knowledge that requires patience to understand in relationship to records?

Beyond the Hashtag

  • In light of this reading, do you see the value of social media as a record differently?
  • Thinking about how social media is created, does this pose a problem for working with these ”records”

Levy, David M. “What are Documents?” in Scrolling Forward: Making Sense of Documents in the Digital Age (Arcade, 2001).

  • If documents are surrogates of ourselves, what are records?
  • What aspects of documents should we focus on?

Concepts of Record 1

  • So what are records?
  • What did you think of the representational view of records?
  • Does that fit with the definition we discussed in class?
  • Did you get Yeo’s positivist view of definition? Do you skew more post-modern?

Joshua Kitchens

Joshua Kitchens
Joshua Kitchens is an archivist, history phd student and beer nerd. These are his research notes

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