Comma (2005), 2005, (1), 1–7.


COMMA 2005.1 - Wien 2004 - Preface Preface This volume of Comma is the first of three issues dedicated to the proceedings of the 15th International Congress on Archives held in Vienna in August 2004. The Congress broke new ground in the number of parallel sessions available to delegates, thus much of the material presented here will be new even to those who attended the conference. The papers come from a wide range of sources. Working groups and Sections of the International Council on Archives (ICA) provide the latest information on matters of technical interest and practising archivists reflect on aspects of archives management. In addition, also included are more theoretical contributions that investigate the role of archives around the world, and the relationships which exist - or should exist - between archives practitioners and society at large. The conference theme, “Archives, Memory and Knowledge,” allowed for a wide-ranging interpretation. The articles in this first volume have been arranged in three very broad groupsmemory, preservation and appraisal - which represent aspects (and often overlapping aspects) of that main theme. Memory. The majority of the articles examine the relationships between memory - whether individual, or collective - and archives and archivists (as “custodians of memory”). The authors examine both philosophical notions of memory and also the practical ways in which archives (and oral history) can help reconcile or reconnect individuals with their past. The transfer of specific professional knowledge is also considered here: the ways in which archival knowledge is transmitted between generations, and between practitioners. Preservation. Contributions from the Committee on Archival Building in Temperate Climates (ICA/CBTE) remind us that the intellectual interpretation of archives is impossible without their physical preservation. Appraisal. The final articles examine one of the fundamental archival processes – appraisal - which must simultaneously take into account the physicality (or the structure) of records and their intellectual content. Appraisal has a direct impact on the shape of the archives and consequently on future users’ understanding of the past; and on the relationship between users’ own memories of events and how those events are represented in the archives (concepts examined in the earlier articles in this volume). Readers will be reminded that appraisal is not just a technical process, but one that can affect lives. Margaret Procter Teresa Brinati David Leitch

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Author details

Procter, Margaret

Brinati, Teresa

Leitch, David