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CONTEXT Archives are created in an organisation to support and manage work, to record why, when, where, in what capacity and by whom what actions were carried out. Every citizen, every family is archiving too. Archiving is preceded by archivalisation: the conscious or unconscious choice (determined by social and cultural factors) to consider something worth archiving. Archivistics is concerned with questions such as what makes a society, an organisation or an individual create and maintain archives the way they do and will a better understanding of the way people create and maintain archives enable us to make statements about an efficient and effective way of creating records? We therefore look at societies, organizations and people that create archives. This, I have named social and cultural archivistics. Its object is the continuum of records creation, processing, and use in an information society which depends of digital longevity. 


Social history of archivesA social history of archives, as presented in my book Archiving People, deals with the influence of societal challenges, patterns and norms on archiving practices and vice versa: archiving that conditions or facilitates social practices. Such a social history of archives is important not only for the user of archives and the archivist, but also for people who design archiving systems and policies and who need to understand the duality of the archive in society.

Records creation and use in the past.

To understand the archive, historians and other users of the archive must understand the social environment in which their archive resources are created, structured, processed, appraised, discarded and stored. Archiving is not limited to filing and preservation, but starts with the decision to create and use documents for a transaction.

Comparative social and cultural archivistics.

Collective memory and archives as memory institutions.


See also the project descriptions in NARCIS (National Academic Research and Collaborations Information System).

Erika A. Hokke

The Archivist: Profession and Professionalization.

Hans Waalwijk

The time was ripe. Jacob Schreiber and Jacob von Ramingen, scribes, registrars, archivists and the liberalisation of archival techniques in 16th century Southwest-Germany.


Dr. Annemieke van Bockxmeer (14 November 2014):  De oorlog verzameld. Het ontstaan van de collecties van het Rijksinstituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie 

Dr. Geert-Jan van Bussel and Dr. Ferdinand Ector (2 December 2009):  In Search for Remembrance… Accountability systems, content-intensive organizations and performance

Dr. Ineke Deserno (19 April 2016): Corporate recordkeeping: the evidence-base for sustainability reporting by multinational enterprises. (Monash University, Faculty of Information Technology, Melbourne, Australia. Supervisors Sue McKemmish and Eric Ketelaar)

Dr. Peter J. Horsman  (16 December 2009): Abuysen ende desordiën. Recordkeeping and Archiving  in Dordrecht 1200-1920

Dr. Brian E. Hübner (14 December 2020): “The Ghostly Shadow” in the Archives: An Archival Case Study of the Creation and Recreation of the Hamilton Family fonds at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections. Supervisors Theo Thomassen and Eric Ketelaar.

Prof. Dr. Rudi C.J. van Maanen (30 November 2000, Leiden University): Inventory of the City Archives of Leiden, 1816-1929. 

Prof. Dr. John S. Mackenzie Owen (22 November 2005): The scientific article in the age of digitization

Prof. Dr. Theo  H.P.M. Thomassen  (16 December 2009 – cum laude): Instruments of Power: The States-General and their Archives 1576-1796

Dr. Susan Tucker (10 December 2009): The Most Public of all History: Family History and Heritage Albums in the Transmission of Records

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