Medium Rare: Exploring Archives and Their Conversion from Original to Digital Part Two— The Holistic Knowledge Arsenal of Paper-based Archives

Publication Title

LIBRES: Library & Information Science Research Electronic Journal

Publication Date


Document Type



rare, archives, conversion, original, digital, holistic knowledge arsenal, paper-based archives


Library and Information Science


This paper is the second installment in a two-part series on the physicality of archival material in the context of the digital age. The first part reviewed key lessons in the history of new technologies that have affected archival practice. Part two will explore a holistic understanding of paper-based knowledge transmission in the context of the digital access movement. The intent is to provide a more expansive context to the shift from a physically, place-based activity to one of ubiquitous access to secondary materials. The investigation emphasizes two notions: archives as thing and archives as experience. Issues of authenticity, evidence, and sensory engagement are seen as potential knowledge elements of original material. Furthermore, physical archives are considered in their environmental context, through physical processes in the embodied act of using, and through their meaning to the user. The purpose of this article is to highlight the tacit, assumed and taken-for-granted aspects of using original archival material to better understand the conversion from physical to digital.