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Guarding Against Collective Amnesia? Making Significance Problematic: An Exploration of Issues

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Title: Guarding Against Collective Amnesia? Making Significance Problematic: An Exploration of Issues
Author(s): Lloyd, Annemaree
Subject(s): Appraisal
Abstract: A nation’s collective consciousness relies on the traces of memory collected by institutions such as libraries, archives, and museums. Such institutions have a responsibility to preserve documents and objects that reflect individual and collective endeavors and that have had an impact on culture and society at national, regional, and local levels. Institutions need to assess documents and objects against criteria that, in effect, “name” these items as significant. Most institutions claim that this process is objective, failing to acknowledge that it is underpinned by ideological, political, economic, cultural, and social influences. The position adopted in this paper is that the process of naming a document or object as significant will always reflect the directions and consciousness of a society’s dominant groups, and that this will shape interpretations and narratives of the past. Thus the voices of a community’s minority or special interest groups will be silenced. This paper suggests that neither the concept of significance nor the process of assessing significance is benign; both should be seen as areas of tension and contestation.
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Citation Info: In Library Trends 56(1) Summer 2007: 53–65.
Genre: Article
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/3779
ISSN: 0024-2594
Publication Status: published or submitted for publication
Rights Information: Copyright 2007 Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
Date Available in IDEALS: 2008-03-14
 

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