Author archives

Stuart Kells is Adjunct Professor at La Trobe University's College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce, and Honorary Senior Fellow in Federation University's Collaborative Research Centre in Australian History. He was formerly a research fellow at the University of Melbourne's Melbourne Institute, and a member of Monash University's Centre for Regulatory Studies. He won the Ashurst Business Literature Prize in 2016 (for 'Penguin and the Lane Brothers') and in 2019 (with Prof. I. Gow, for 'The Big Four'). His book 'The Library' was shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Award and the NSW Premier's General History Prize. His writing has appeared in the Paris Review, the Guardian, Lapham's Quarterly, LitHub, the Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic Traveller, the Daily Beast and many other publications. He recently wrote the centenary history of Melbourne University Publishing, and he is editor of Library Planet.

Disquiet in the archives: archivists make tough calls with far-reaching consequences – they deserve our support

Stuart Kells, Adjunct Professor, College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce, La Trobe University explains why for technological, ethical and political reasons, the world’s archivists are suddenly very busy. Advances in digital imaging and communications are feeding an already intense interest in provenance, authorship and material culture. Two recent discoveries – a woman’s name scratched in the margins of an 8th-century manuscript, and John Milton’s annotations in a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio held in the Free Library of Philadelphia – are examples of how new tools are revealing new evidence, and how distant scholars are making fascinating connections. At the same time, and even more importantly, the holdings of archives, libraries and museums – “memory institutions” – are being scrutinised as the world grapples with legacies of racism, imperialism, slavery and oppression. Some of the holdings speak to heinous episodes and indefensible values. And some of them were flat-out stolen.

Subjects: Digital Archives, Discovery, Education, Internet Resources, KM, Legal Research, Libraries & Librarians, Technology Trends