This paper provides a survey of some developments in the application of information visualization and visual analytics within the field of archives. The paper begins by discussing the origins and development of information visualization and visual analytics, followed by an explanation of their differences. It then moves on to a critical analysis of the literature on the application of these approaches within the field of archives, arguing that more attention should be paid to applying these technologies to unprocessed archival material than to the output of archival analysis. The paper also contends that greater emphasis is needed in the research on analyzing the cognitive tasks of archivists and of different types of users to create ‘snug’ interfaces as opposed to ones that are just ‘generous’. The paper further calls for more formal evaluation of the efficacy of different tools in relation to claims made about them. Finally, the paper calls for greater critical reflection in the literature on the ways in which information visualization and visual analytics mediate the archives.