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Emotional Responses to Archives

Submitted on Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A special talk by Dean Wendy Duff

As “co-witnesses” to the lives and stories they archive, archivists and archival scholars have the potential to be deeply affected by records, especially by those containing emotionally challenging or sensitive accounts of human suffering and survival. Archiving sensitive records is a productive and important endeavour that is vital to maintaining our collective history.

In this talk, given at the Qatar national Library in Doha on January 13, 2020, Faculty of Information Dean, Wendy Duff, reports on initial research about the emotions archivists experience when working with records. It shares the findings of a survey sent to archivists in North America, Australia and New Zealand that sought to take a broad view of emotional responses (both positive and negative) to archival records, in order to better understand how archivists are emotionally impacted by their work of acquiring, arranging, describing, preserving, and providing access to records.

Here’s the video of her talk.

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