Archives want to be free

What is the purpose of an archive? Stephen Plant, the records manager, from the University of London suggest that archives “form a unique and indispensable record for researchers.” (Plant, 2005) Often conventional archives are thought to be well structured, catalogued and preserved, and when we would think about an archive we might expect to see something like this photograph by Stuart Whipps. His essayist, Catherine O’Flynn, suggests that “Archives are not accustomed to the public gaze. Concealment is one of their defining features” (O’Flynn, 2011). However, over the last twenty years, physical archives have been migrating onto the digital landscape; this means that information that was bound by these boxes is becoming open and available to view. However, embracing the digital landscape comes with its further responsibilities of findability, usability and digital longevity.