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Put an Archive over here and an Archive over there.

March 26, 2012

Although I did try and convince my mum during the HSC, Archive fever is not some kind of flu you catch from prolonged interaction with too many books.

An archive can be defined as any way of arranging or storing primary information or data so that is accessible at a later time. An archive can therefore be classed as anything from the bookmarks page on a computer, to iTunes files and physical storage rooms such as libraries.

Jacques Derrida’s ‘Archive fever’, which was written in 1997, proposes the idea that new media forms and types of ‘archiving’ are inadvertently destroying older forms of archiving. I find myself completely agreeing with this idea as I have witnessed this through personal experience. As a child I was obsessed with writing letters. I’d write to whoever would read them, family, friends, celebrities, the tooth fairy, I even wrote letters and mailed them back to myself to open. Anyway my point is, whenever I would receive a letter back, after reading it carefully, I’d store it in a pretty box that I still have to this day.

Times have changed, the pretty box sits under my bed and I haven’t read over those precious letters in years. It seems that this type of archiving has been completely replaced by the new, convenient media form, Email. Through email I am able to contact my friends, my boss and my tutors and lecturers at university. Both my received and sent emails are safe and sound in my inbox and sent box and I can re-read them, delete them and organise them whenever I please.

Because archives act as an imperative part of publishing it is no wonder that the older forms are being replaced by more technical and convenient media platforms. Emailing can be quite a popular form of publishing due to it’s ability to distribute information to a wide audience quickly, with one click of a button an individual can send their whole address book the information they want to share. In juxtaposition, mailing by post is time consuming, expensive and non convenient when trying to contact a large amount of people.



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