Only the successes (or the mega failures) from the deeper past are recalled, giving an skewed sense of what actually happened if one doesn’t do proper research. Without that research, the half-remembered past is not a valid touchstone to base an argument on. An incomplete picture of the past creates a false interpretation of the present.
There was discussion of power and control; of going to these cthonic, isolated, fragile locations full of uncomfortable furniture and curt staff; of these inhuman institutions that define and defend what is considered culturally significant knowledge and can act as oppressors to unapproved subcultures.
We’ve all been aware of the tightening of budgets and funding resources due to the economic downturn, but these situations with the Tully papers and Billy Name’s works have me thinking that there are other kinds of threats to archival collections that will be rippling out for some time from the various financial troubles.
I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but I’m a strong believer that online access to cultural materials is an excellent thing and I wholly support it. What we often don’t consider is that the way we can support these efforts further is to utilize them.