Better Off Forgetting?: Essays on Archives, Public Policy, and Collective Memory

Edited by Cheryl Avery and Mona Holmlund

© 2010

Throughout Canada, provincial, federal, and municipal archives exist to house the records we produce. Some conceive of these institutions as old and staid, suggesting that archives are somehow trapped in the past. But archives are more than resources for professional scholars and interested individuals. With an increasing emphasis on transparency in government and public institutions, archives have become essential tools for accountability.

Better Off Forgetting? offers a reappraisal of archives and a look at the challenges they face in a time when issues of freedom of information, privacy, technology, and digitization are increasingly important. The contributors argue that archives are essential to contemporary debates about public policy and make a case for more status, funding, and influence within public bureaucracies. While stimulating debate about our rapidly changing information environment, Better Off Forgetting? focuses on the continuing role of archives in gathering and preserving our collective memory.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 240 pages
  • Illustrations: 2
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.7in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP002943

  • PUBLISHED SEP 2010

    From: $24.71

    Regular Price: $32.95

    ISBN 9781442610804
  • PUBLISHED SEP 2010

    From: $28.01

    Regular Price: $32.95

Quick Overview

While stimulating debate about our rapidly changing information environment, Better Off Forgetting? focuses on the continuing role of archives in gathering and preserving our collective memory.

Better Off Forgetting?: Essays on Archives, Public Policy, and Collective Memory

Edited by Cheryl Avery and Mona Holmlund

© 2010

Throughout Canada, provincial, federal, and municipal archives exist to house the records we produce. Some conceive of these institutions as old and staid, suggesting that archives are somehow trapped in the past. But archives are more than resources for professional scholars and interested individuals. With an increasing emphasis on transparency in government and public institutions, archives have become essential tools for accountability.

Better Off Forgetting? offers a reappraisal of archives and a look at the challenges they face in a time when issues of freedom of information, privacy, technology, and digitization are increasingly important. The contributors argue that archives are essential to contemporary debates about public policy and make a case for more status, funding, and influence within public bureaucracies. While stimulating debate about our rapidly changing information environment, Better Off Forgetting? focuses on the continuing role of archives in gathering and preserving our collective memory.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 240 pages
  • Illustrations: 2
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.7in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    'The timely, serious, and passionate essays in Better Off Forgetting? succeed in pointing out that archives are essential for many contemporary debates about public policy. No longer the preserves of a few historians, they are at the centre of helping Canadians work through issues related to accountability and transparency in decision-making.'
    Ken Rasmussen, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Regina
  • Author Information

    Cheryl Avery is a professional archivist at the University of Saskatchewan Archives.



    Mona Holmlund is an assistant professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Saskatchewan.

  • Table of contents

    Introduction by Cheryl Avery (University of Saskatchewan Archives) and Mona Holmlund (University of Saskatchewan)

    PART I: History of Funding

    1. Pennies from Heaven: The History of Public Funding for Canadian Archives by Marion Beyea (Provincial Archives of New Brunswick)
    2. Lady Sings the Blues: The Public Funding of Archives, Libraries, and Museums in Canada by Shelley Sweeney (University of Manitoba Archives)

    PART II: Access and Privacy

    1. Access-to-Information Legislation: A Critical Analysis by Jo-Ann Munn Gafuik (University of Calgary)
    2. Privacy: A Look at the Disenfranchized by Doug Surtees (University of Saskatchewan)
    3. The Laurier Promise: Securing Public Access to Historic Census Materials in Canada by Terry Cook (University of Manitoba) and Bill Waiser (University of Saskatchewan)

    PART III: The Digital Age

    1. Search vs. Research: Full-Text Repositories, Granularity, and the Concept of ‘Source’ in the Digital Environment by Robert Cole (University of Alberta) and Chris Hackett (University of Alberta)
    2. Preserving Digital History: Costs and Consequences by Yvette Hackett (National Archives of Canada)

    PART IV: Accountability and the Public Sphere

    1. Archives, Democratic Accountability, and Truth by Terry Eastwood (University of British Columbia)
    2. Archivists and Public Affairs: Towards a New Archival Public Programming by Tom Nesmith (University of Manitoba)

    PART V: Resource for the Present

    1. Reconciliation in Regions Affected by Armed Conflict: The Role of Archives - Tom Adami (United Nations Mission in Sudan) and Martha Hunt (United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda)
    2. Bridging Us to Us: An Argument for the Importance of Archivists in Current Politics and Journalism - Robert Steiner (University of Toronto)

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