Information Studies


Personal and Corporate Recordkeeping

Personal and Corporate Recordkeeping:

Seeking liberation from binary mindsets



The starting point for this research is the sense of being out of control in an increasingly chaotic and complex world. In particular, in the sense that traditional distinctions between, for example, public and private, physical and digital are breaking down in the face of the rapid pace of change in technology and the previously unimagined realities it brings. More specifically it is inspired by a challenge issued by Sue McKemmish and Michael Piggott to the 'Binary Opposition of the Personal and Corporate Archive in Modern Archival Theory and Practice'.1 McKemmish and Piggott also talk more generally about 'a liberation from binary mindsets' and the main aim of this research is to explore, both directly and indirectly, the possibility of such a liberation.



As exploratory research, this project does not have a fixed design or plan and its objectives (and the associated activities) are open to change and modification. Currently its main focus is on trying to escape the binary mindset that sees the discipline of archives and records management as separate from others (such as human computer interaction and personal information management). It is hoped that this focus will additionally and indirectly also facilitate the bridging of the perceived opposition of personal and corporate recordkeeping. For, whereas archives and records management is often characterised as focussed more on recordkeeping at a corporate, organisational or societal level and not on the personal level, the 'other' disciplines under consideration do focus more on the level of the individual.



The following activities or outputs are currently planned or in progress;

A literature review of literature on personal recordkeeping and archives drawn from disciplines 'other' than archives and records management.

A consultation with archival and records management practitioners in which they will be exposed to and asked to comment on a summary of the design requirements and findings that have arisen from research (outside archives and records management) into personal archives and recordkeeping.

The feeding back (by presentation, article, or some other mechanism) of the view arising from the previous activity to those who work in the same disciplines as those whose work has formed the basis of that view.

A final report on the project outlining what has been done and what has been learnt.

Finding out more

If you want to find out more about this project, please contact me at j.bunn@ucl.ac.uk. Outputs arising from the above activities will be made available from this page in due course.

UCL Ethics Project ID Number 6053/001

UCL Data Protection Registration Number Z6364106/2014/08/63

Idea designed by iconsmind.com from the Noun Project

1. McKemmish, Sue and Michael Piggott. "Toward the Archival Multiverse: Challenging the Binary Opposition of the Personal and Corporate Archive in Modern Archival Theory and Practice." Archivaria 76 (Fall 2013): 111-114.