Archival literature is full of examples of what archivists do and how they do it. In Archival Virtue, Scott Cline raises questions that grapple with the meaning of what archivists do and, perhaps more important, who they are. Embracing the language of moral philosophy and theology, such as relationship, obligation, care, faith, transcendence—what one commentator calls “soul words”—Archival Virtue explores ideas of moral commitment, truth, difference, and just behavior in the pursuit of archival ideals.
Cline proposes that if virtues are sources of power that inspire us to act justly on behalf of a better world, then archival virtue is a form of radical empowerment, one that obligates us to cherish and sustain human dignity, which is the essence of archival justice. With this in mind, Cline invites readers to purposefully examine fundamental questions around archival work:
- What meaning do we, as humane beings, bring to the archives?
- How does that affect and define archivists’ place in the world?
- How do personal values influence our understanding of obligation and care in the archives?
- How do they guide our relational encounters?
Absorbing, stimulating, and insightful, Archival Virtue is about archivists as individuals and as a community. For archivists, information professionals, and students, this book strikes at the heart of archival relevance today and into the future.
Publisher: Society of American Archivists (2021)
PDF: 212 pages