[5]Archives and Museums

[5]Archives and Museums - Module 5 Archives Museums*Please...

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Module 5: Archives & Museums *Please note - although this module discusses both archives and museums together, the two institutions are not synonymous. Archives and Digital Archives An archive is essentially a stored collection of information – articles, photographs, audio recordings, documents, maps, etc. – organized and stored either physically or digitally. Archives are similar to libraries, both physically and digitally, but where most libraries offer relatively diverse items, archives are usually centered around a particular topic, institution, person, or group. Universities, cities, counties, states, and nations have official archives; most people have their own personal archives (mementos, photographs, souvenirs, etc.) Archivists are specially trained information scientists who have education in their archive subject and in how to manage archives. Their expertise includes not only the best methods of providing access to collections and assisting researchers in finding their desired items, but also in organizing and preserving collections. Digital archives serve much the same function as traditional physical archives but with the goal of making access to the collection available online. The rationale for digital archives is the same as for libraries-convenience, availiability, and widespread access. They, too, are not subject to hours of operation or access to their physical location. They share the same limitations as well; digital archives, especially those that attempt to offer access to already-existing collections, may not be able to include all items in the collection. Some objects, such as Benjamin Franklin's eyeglasses, may be photographed but cannot be actually available online. Others, such as physically fragile correspondence, cannot be scanned for fear of damage and will also not always be available. Archives, moreso than libraries, must put user needs foremost. Since archives tend to be highly specialized, their appeal is limited to researchers who have need for their particular subject material. How materials are organized and how users may find what they need are vital for effective design, especially when they move online. Online archives need especially clear finding aids to help users connect with desired information. Both physical and digital archives are limited by storage space, so archivists need to be aware
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[5]Archives and Museums - Module 5 Archives Museums*Please...

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