Looking forwards, looking backwards (2017/2018)

Yesterday, 1 January, I was reminded by the British Museum that the month is named after Janus, the Roman god. The International Council on Archives (ICA) uses a stylised form of Janus for their logo, because archivists do the same thing. Archives are identified and appraised based on their ongoing value to the community and to the organisations and people that created them. Over time, they develop historicity, which leads to the common, but mistaken, belief that archives are about “old stuff”.

January 1 is also the time for looking back over the previous year, and making resolutions about the forthcoming year. Personally, I think the latter is foolish, because I ascribe to the aphorism that no plan survives contact with reality, and 2017 demonstrates that perfectly.

I started with grand plans for a new blog on the Pie Lunch Lot, my mother’s and her cronies answer to what we now call the FIFO lifestyle, without benefit of modern social media. This would mean that I would take charge of my personal archives, and work within an historian’s framework. Yeah, right.

Blogs on this site were also few and far between. I left Curtin, and the luxury of reading and reviewing articles as part of my work there. Back at SRO, I’ve been involved with archival description and with developing our archival management system. This has had congruences with my private work, including  a poster at the Association of Canadian Archivists conference in Ottawa (Disrupting description – Canada3) and developing a workshop on archival description for the ASA conference in Melbourne (of which more another time).

I also became the program chair for the ASA conference in Perth in 2018 – “Archives in a Blade Runner age”, which has led to the creation of another blogsite, this one on science fiction and archives. (Don’t forget to submit an abstract before February 28, and, yes, there will be no extensions.) And, I became a National Councillor for the ASA, which has its own steep learning curve.

Add in the usual chaos that is life, and there you have it. 2017 not as planned, 2018 already out of control 🙂


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Archivist, historian, avid reader

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