Must-read essay: Archive and Library

Just recently posted on Humanities Commons is this wonderful essay, “Archive and Library” by Marlene Manoff. It is a pre-publication posting of an invited essay for the forthcoming Oxford Encyclopedia of Literary Theory  – part of the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Literature.

Abstract:  Archives and libraries operate within a complex web of social, political and economic forces. Digital technologies, globalization, the corporatization of the academy, and increasing commercial control of the scholarly record are just some of the myriad forces shaping their evolution. Libraries and archives in turn have shaped the production of knowledge, participating in transformations in scholarship, publishing and the nature of access to current and historical materials. Librarians and archivists increasingly recognize that they exist within institutional systems of power. Questioning long-held assumptions about library and archival neutrality and objectivity, they are working to expand access to previously marginalized materials, to theorize transformations in the nature of the historical record, to educate users about the forces shaping their access to information, to raise awareness about bias in information tools and systems, and to empower disenfranchised communities.