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Archives


The storing of material for referencing at a later date, away from the demands of the publishing schedule. The act of publishing automagically creates an archive. Publishing relies on the releasing of material (be it a book, a magazine, a YouTube video, a tweet, a meme, an event etc.) tied to a point in time. This is where a record starts. The record then becomes a body that could include authors, content, cataloguing codes, schedules, constellations and more. ¶ The internet being anchored by a web of physical servers, with these servers acting as data storage devices, has created the ideal platform for housing published data. This transference has been so frictionless that an assumption grew any content pushed online would create a capsule, accessible at any time, that would live forever. ¶ This great amassing, reliant on usually invisible but ultimately physical means (i.e. cloud-based servers), could prove to be un-undoing of sorts. The sheer volume of material being archived currently out-weighting the capacity to store all of it. This has resulted in questions around the value of ‘big data’ and institutional crises where material it was assumed was kept ‘safe’ has started to dematerialise. ¶ Fresh questions have arisen around what should be kept if the capacity and willingness to store—and, equally importantly, retrieve—archived material has diminished and who should be the custodians of these immense collections.
Some rights reserved, 2021.