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The Mysterious World of Archives: an Introduction and Tips on How to Conduct Effective Archival Research


Jan 25, 2024 from 02:00 to 04:00 (Europe/Berlin / UTC100)


SR 109

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The importance and value of archives is well known. Archives are the spaces and places that allow history not to be forgotten; they are evidence of past entities and histories. Hence the importance and necessity of preserving archives and giving more attention to archival studies: preserving archives means preserving the stories they cherish.

There are archives all over the world, open to the public on a daily basis. Many archives are undergoing a process of digitisation that will allow researchers and readers to access the materials they want from the comfort of their own homes. The only problem/difficulty arises when it comes to starting archival research. Where does one start? How does one find the materials they need? How does an archive work? Are there general archival worldwide databases? What are the requirements for accessing these materials? How does one work with the materials?

Indeed, while there seems to be a great deal of literature about archives and the role they play in our society, there is very little in terms of practical information. For this reason, this workshop aims to provide useful and practical information that will enable the audience to navigate ´the mysterious waters´ of an archive.

This workshop is based on a first-hand experience in archives in Germany and the UK. I will explore in detail all the steps of the archival research from the very first search of the archive on Google to the analysis of the materials in the reading room of the archive.

Keywords: Archives, Archivial Research, Material Studies, History, Cultural History

// Piera Mazzaglia