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Combing Through Information

When collecting material for an archive, I tend to lean on the side that more is better. In my opinion, it is better to collect all material available even if later down the line it is not all used or deemed relevant. This practice helps us to eliminate some self-biases and also avoid retracing steps. For example, when I first started collecting some of Belén’s paper materials, she was concerned about the repetitious nature of some of the items, especially some of the printed images of objects. “I have most of these images on my computer,” she would tell me. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, notating the physicality of the print images, as well as the digital copy of the image, might be considered “too much,” but the different mediums in which the image is presented provides insight into the thinking process of the artist. If the archive were to only note that she had a digital copy of the image, the record and importance of the image might be lost. This also addresses some biases, both in Belén’s worry of repetition, as well as my own work ethic of not “over documenting.” Collecting both types of the document we now have an idealized version of the document (the digital copy), but also a notation of the physicality existing in the archive. 


One problem facing this method, however, is that the breath of information that is collected can be overwhelming. I would argue that is a fundamental job of an archivist- to comb through the material, and to make it as accessible to its audience as possible. Next week we will explore this problem more in depth. 

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