Email as Archives: You Have to Have it Before You Worry About It

Blouin, Francis X.

"I am going to talk about the Digital Dark Age—and I love that concept—for
reasons I’ll say in a minute. And I also want to thank the Kernochan Center and
the Rockefeller Archives Center for the invitation to be here today. For reasons
that will be apparent in my talk, I’ve been chomping at the bit to talk to lawyers
about some of the problems we’re having in our current work. It’s been interesting
to reflect on the sessions earlier in the focus on intellectual property and copyright.
I think that sort of pertains to stuff we already have, and my focus is looking to the
future, anticipating collections that we’re going to get. In this context, I think it’s
important to distinguish between archives and special collections, because the
context of what I’m talking about is our integral work with the archives of our own
institution. As Bill was saying at the beginning, institutional archives have a sort of
organic relationship to their records, and we’re entering into that kind of organic
relationship. It’s a different kind of relationship that we have with our own
materials versus what we might have with a historical collection that we go out and
get and bring in. So we’re finding that it’s really more—in dealing with this—a
cultural problem than a technical problem, for reasons that I’ll mention."


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Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts

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May 26, 2011