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War and Society - Archival Exercise: Helpful Information on Using Archival Materials

Pre-class Readings

"What Are Archives and How Do They Differ from Libraries?" Society of American Archivists, web article.

"Types of Archives," Society of American Archivists, web article.

"About" and "Policies" sections of the University of Kentucky Special Collections website.

Optional Reading Assignment

Complete this reading and prepare short written answers to the following questions for discussion in class.

Foote, Kenneth E. "To Remember and Forget: Archives, Memory, and Culture," Jimerson, Randall C., ed. American Archival Studies: Readings in Theory and Practice. Chicago: The Society of American Archivists, 2000, 29-46.  (pdf version of this text on JSTOR.)

  1. What is "collective memory" and how do archives help to construct it?
  2. Why is the information contained in the raw documents of archives important to society? 
  3. Why is having broad, accurate, and diverse documentation of our collective national past important?
  4. How do our individual stories contribute to understanding the past?
  5. Do you think limiting access to documentation of past events could be potentially dangerous to future generations?  Why or why not?
  6. What are the four different ways that historic sites can be "remembered or forgotten"?  Can you choose an example of a place from your hometown/state as as example for each type?
  7. Why do you think tragic events are remembered and documented in different ways?