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Defining a Discipline: Archival Research and Practice in the 21st Century

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  • Edited by Jeannette A. Bastian and Elizabeth Yakel

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  • “Although archivists constitute a small profession, their importance in preserving evidence of the past – and hence their role in determining the nature of society's memory – is substantial."


    In Defining a Discipline: Archival Research and Practice in the 21st Century - Essays in Honor of Richard J. Cox, fourteen archivists present a mosaic of the research that represents the current state of archival science and introduces themes that will carry the profession into the future as a complex academic discipline. As the archival profession in the United States continues to evolve, the book honors one of its most prolific and influential thinkers and writers, Richard J. Cox, who retired from the profession in 2017 after a 45-year career.

    The book is divided into four sections that address archival themes championed by Cox:

    • accountability and evidence
    • ethics and education
    • archival history
    • memory

    Incisive essays pay tribute to Cox while interpreting these themes in ways that speak to the archival future, guiding readers toward an understanding of archival science as a discipline in its own right. Each section concludes with a reflective commentary on the essays. The book’s introduction provides a trajectory of Cox’s career and insight into his archival contributions.

    Defining a Discipline demonstrates the importance of the role of archivists, archives, and archival institutions in communities, organizations, and the digital environment. It looks forward—a direction that the pioneering Cox promoted throughout his career.

    Product Details

    Publisher: Society of American Archivists (2020)
    Paperback: 322 pages
    Product Dimension: 6x9 inches
    Weight: 1.194 pounds
    ISBN: 978-1-945246-27-2

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Defining a Discipline
  • "Defining a Discipline not only reflects the field of archives as it is in the present moment, but also opens the way to further studies in this field.
    Henry Berry, Amazon

    "The best chapters, including those by David Wallace on documenting US atrocities in Vietnam, Heather MacNeil on records and integrity and Eleanor Mattern on the Clinton email case, are compelling, and the entire volume has much to offer and inspire Australia’s next generation of archivists and recordkeepers."
    Michael Piggot, Journal of the Australian Library and Information Association