Privileging information is inevitable

Currall, J.E.P., Moss, M. and Stuart, S.A.J. (2006) Privileging information is inevitable. Archives and Manuscripts, 34(1), pp. 98-122.




Libraries, archives and museums have long collected physical materials and other artefacts. In so doing they have established formal or informal policies defining what they will (and will not) collect. We argue that these activities by their very nature privilege some information over others and that the appraisal that underlies this privileging is itself socially constructed. We do not cast this in a post-modernist or negative light, but regard a clear understanding of it as fact and its consequences as crucial to understanding what collections are and what the implications are for the digital world. We will argue that in the digital world it is much easier for users to construct their own collections from a combination of resources, some privileged and curated by information professionals and some privileged by criteria that include the frequency with which other people link to and access them. We conclude that developing these ideas is an important part of placing the concept of a digital or hybrid paper/digital library on a firm foundation and that information professionals need to learn from each other, adopting elements of a variety of different approaches to describing and exposing information. A failure to do this will serve to push information professional towards the margins of the information seekers perspective.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Collections, digital libraries, archives, social construction, privileging, information providers, information users, intermediation.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Currall, Dr James and Moss, Professor Michael and Stuart, Dr Susan
Authors: Currall, J.E.P., Moss, M., and Stuart, S.A.J.
Subjects:Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > ZA Information resources
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > ZA Information resources > ZA4050 Electronic information resources
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Humanities > Information Studies
Journal Name:Archives and Manuscripts
Publisher:Australian Society of Archivists
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2006 Australian Society of Archivists
First Published:First published in Archives and Manuscripts: The Journal of the Archives Section, the Library Association of Australia 34(1):98-122
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with the permission of the publisher

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