How Much Power Shapes an Archive?


In order to build an archive you have to have some kind of power, this is not saying you have to be a politician or a monarch in order to decide all of what is remembered in history, an archive can be considered whatever is saved in order to make memories or provide like you deciding what notes you keep, what photos you save, or what books you choose to keep or purchase. That being said, the question of how much power is enough power is a simple question, there is no limit or minimum to the power needed to create an archive. A good example is the obvious of those in power (the way that you originally think of power, as in those in charge) such as the archivist in charge of the national archive choosing what we will remember in history. Another example would be what librarians decide to keep in their libraries and what to transfer to other campuses such as the difference between the University of Mary Washington’s Stafford Campus and the Simpson Library, or the Fauquier County Public Library campus in Warrenton versus Bealeton. Those in the satellite campus do not have the same opportunities as those on the main campus and vice versa and not all books can be kept in every library so they have to make the choice of what is kept in the library meaning that others are not. These books that are and are not kept include not only story books and novels, but also informational books, both about modern and historical topics. This being said, those things that are left out are not available for use in papers or projects or for the enjoyment of readers, this means that the powers that chose what was put in the archive, also chose how the knowledge of the patrons is shaped. Therefore, power shapes archives and shapes knowledge but power is not limited to the general definition that you think of as a politician or a monarch or anything along that line.

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