Jenkinson Lectures

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In 2007, The Department of Information Studies established a new annual lecture named in honour of Sir Hilary Jenkinson, Deputy Keeper of the Public Record Office, who was instrumental in instituting the new Diploma in Archives Studies at UCL in 1947, the first such programme in England. The lecture series was launched to celebrate the diamond jubilee of archival education at UCL.

In 1947 Hilary Jenkinson, Deputy Keeper of the Public Records, gave the inaugural lecture ‘The English Archivist: a new profession’ for the new Diploma at UCL.

Traces and Transformations: A Case for the Archival Nature of Digital Surrogates

Paul Conway, Associate Professor, University of Michigan School of Information

25 September 2013

Paul Conway


Large-scale digitization is generating extraordinary collections of visual and textual surrogates, potentially endowed with transcendent long-term cultural and research values. Understanding the nature of digital surrogacy is a substantial intellectual opportunity for archival science and the digital humanities. The paper presents an argument that one of the most significant requirements for the long-term access to collections of digital surrogates is to treat digital surrogates as archives in their own right, worthy of preservation as archives. It advances a theory of the archival nature of surrogacy founded on longstanding notions of archival quality, the traces of their source and the conditions of their creation, and the functional “work of the archive.” The paper presents evidence supporting a post-custodial “secondary provenance” derived from re-digitization, re-ingestion of multiple versions, and de facto replacement of the original sources. The design of the underlying research that motivates the paper and summary findings are reported separately. The project has been supported generously by the US Institute of Museum and Library Services and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Paul Conway is associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. In the autumn of 2013 he is Visiting Senior Research Fellow at Kings College, University of London. He conducts research and teaches courses on archival science, the digitization and preservation of photographs, books, and audiovisual resources, and the ethics of new technologies. Prior to joining the Michigan faculty, he was a senior administrator for the libraries at Yale and Duke University. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and is a Fellow of the Society of American Archivists.

Listen to the lecture on soundcloud here

Forgetting to Remember; Archivists and the Memory Imperative

Professor Jeannette Bastian, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, Simmons College, Boston

13 March 2013

The ‘memory boom ‘ of the past several decades, has moved memory studies to the forefront of academic concerns bringing fresh lenses to bear on such diverse areas as social history, anthropology, geography, and literature. Through these memory lenses that largely focus on non-textual tropes and traces, scholars have found new ways to explore and understand questions of identities, cultures and communities. Although archivists have long claimed a special relationship with memory, they have been slow – even reluctant - to jump on this bandwagon. This presentation theorizes why this might be so, suggesting ways that archivists might think about incorporating memory into their practice and, by so doing, expand the archival ability to ‘document’ contemporary society.

Professor Bastian is Director of the Archives Management Program at Simmons College, Boston, USA. Prior to coming to Simmons, she was the Director of Libraries and Archives and Territorial Librarian of the United States Virgin Islands and served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas. Professor Bastian received her master's in library science from Shippensburg University, and a master's degree in philosophy from the University of the West Indies in Jamaica; she received her doctoral degree at the University of Pittsburgh, School of Information Science. Her publications include articles and books focusing on archival education, memory, community archives and postcolonialism.

Listen to the lecture on soundcloud here

The Day Parliament Burned Down and its impact on British record keeping

Dr Caroline Shenton, Clerk of the Records and Director of the Parliamentary Archives

26 September 2012

In the early evening of 16 October 1834, to the horror of bystanders, a huge ball of fire exploded through the roof of the Houses of Parliament, creating a blaze so enormous that it could be seen by the King and Queen at Windsor, and from stagecoaches on top of the South Downs. In front of hundreds of thousands of witnesses the great conflagration destroyed Parliament's glorious old buildings and their contents. No one who witnessed the disaster would ever forget it - yet today this national catastrophe is a forgotten disaster. Find out about one of the most seminal events of 19th century London, which not only changed the face of the capital but also had a profound impact on recordkeeping in the UK. 

Dr Shenton is Clerk of the Records and Director of  the Parliamentary Archives in London. Educated at the University of St Andrews, Worcester College Oxford and University College London, she was previously a senior archivist at the National Archives where her interest in the fire of 1834 was first kindled. She has worked in and around collections relating to the old Palace of Westminster for over 20 years, and is a Fellow of both the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Historical Society. She is author of the acclaimed new book, 'The Day Parliament Burned Down'

Trust, Custodianship and Digital Records

Oliver Morley, Chief Executive and Keeper of the Public Records

29 September 2011

Oliver Morley


In presenting the third in the ongoing Jenkinson Lecture Series, Oliver Morley spoke about the challenges offered by technological change and 'big data' and suggested that the best way to build a long term digital archive was to build a sustainable institution. It is hoped that his lecture will be published in the future and details will be placed on this page as they become available.

Archival Identities

Professor Eric Ketelaar, Emeritus Professor, University of Amsterdam

5 March 2009

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The recently published reader What are Archives? Cultural and Theoretical Perspectives concerns the distinguishing characters of the archive and the Archives, of the archivist and the archival discipline, and of people creating and using archives. Are all these different but interrelated “archival identities” true? Louise Craven, the editor of this collection of essays, writes (p. 17) “Over time then, identity as meaning making is perpetually constructed and reconstructed through the experience of archival documents.” In my lecture I intend to discuss this question and to propose some of the answers, using as a case study the archives of the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia.

Eric Ketelaar (1944) is Emeritus Professor at the University of Amsterdam. From 1997 to 2009 he was Professor of Archivistics in the Department of Media Studies of the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Amsterdam. As a honorary fellow of his former department he continues his research which is concerned mainly with the social and cultural contexts of records creation and use.

Archival Identities audio file, UCL staff and students only

60 years on: the role of the 21st century National Archive vs Jenkinson's model

Natalie Ceeney, Chief Executive of The National Archives 

26 October 2007

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Lecture published as, Natalie Ceeney, 'The role of a 21st century National Archive- the relevance of the Jenkinsonian tradition, and a redefinition for the information society', Journal of the Society of Archivists 29:2 (April 2008): 57-71.

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