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Title: Memory and Amnesia in the Archival Practices of the World’s Library and Information Associations, with a Case Study of Arrangements Made by the UK’s Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals
Authors: Black, Alistair
Keywords: Subject::National library associations
Issue Date: 1-Oct-2023
Publisher: International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
Series/Report no.: 88th IFLA World Library and Information Congress (WLIC), 2023 Rotterdam;Satellite Meeting: Preserving our origins: Approaches to the organization, curation, and historiography of the record of national and international organizations in libraries, information, and documentation.;
Abstract: National library and information associations are in essence meta-history, or meta-memory, organizations, in that one of their roles – perhaps their primary role – is to oversee and enable the preservation of accumulated knowledge and cultural heritage in a variety of library and information institutions. Yet the efforts of associations to secure their own history and protect their corporate memory – and by inference the professional memory – for the future, especially in terms of safeguarding their internal archives, appear patchy. Under my direction, in 2005-2006 IFLA’s Library History Section inaugurated a study of the archival holding and policies of national library and information associations worldwide. The first part of this paper re-visits this study, the results of which were issued in 2008. Two purposes are served by re-visiting the study. Firstly, its findings, although published on IFLA’s website, did not receive much attention at the time and so the opportunity now arises to broadcast the findings more widely. Secondly, it provides a good context for a case study I have recently undertaken of the archival practices of the UK’s Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) which was established in 2002 through the amalgamation of the Library Association (LA) and the Institute of Information Scientists (IIS). The case study reveals oversights in CILIP’s discharging of its archiving responsibilities over the past two decades, demonstrating that the potential for corporate amnesia in this regard is never far away. However, plans communicated to me for the future management of the CILIP archive collection offer a good example of an institution that appears determined to retain a corporate and professional memory. As a way of promoting improvements, a large-scale study, building on the aforementioned 2005-2006 investigation, is required to assess the archival collections and policies of the world’s library and information associations – to establish, in short, the balance that exists between memory retention and amnesia in such organizations. Keywords: National library and information associations; Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (UK); archives; corporate memory; memory institutions
Appears in Collections:World Library and Information Congress (WLIC) Materials

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