Metadata as growth rings

Louise Curham

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation only


This paper starts with the idea that performance is integral to records. An interplay of meaning making and recording technology makes them understandable. In the archives world, every record contains a kind of performance because we must read it in its context. For some records, that performance is more obvious – digital records is an example. Through two case studies of performance at a far end of the spectrum, live media art, this conference paper will discuss how we can conceptualise the performance or use of records as a form of social reformatting. In this model, the original record stays whole but wrapped around it are changes it must make in its encounter with its current environment. There are physical changes along with changes in our reception to it. Users and audiences observe not just the work itself but also this techno-cultural reformatting, the interplay between the time it originated in and the time of its experience. Delivering this technologically and socially intriguing growth ring relies on the record that lies within it and that establishes its credentials through archival authority. Essential is our ability to evaluate and access the authentic and reliable centre and spot the changes as it enters its new technological and social life. Why does this matter for our practice as archivists? Increasingly the world is intrigued by what archivists do to and with records. Having accepted that the actions of heritage keepers, including archivists, affect the heritage, part of what is interesting about those objects is the difference between their current iteration and previous ones. This paper will discuss this performative dimension in the use of records.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2021
EventAustralian Society of Archivists annual conference - Online, Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 14 Sept 202117 Sept 2021


ConferenceAustralian Society of Archivists annual conference
Abbreviated titleArchives Amplified
Internet address


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