Exploring archive value: an axiological approach

Penn, E. 2014. Exploring archive value: an axiological approach. PhD thesis UCL Information Studies

TitleExploring archive value: an axiological approach
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsPenn, E.

The proposition of this thesis is to explore a key concept in archival theory and practice, namely the value of archives. The underlying principle is that by drawing upon ideas from outside of the archival discipline – from axiology – this concept can be examined in an innovative and reflective manner. The evaluation of archives is a core activity for archivists. Archivists make value judgements when they decide what to keep and what to destroy, and in how they choose to arrange and describe archives. However, although the term ‘value’ appears frequently in the professional archival literature, often linked with other qualifying terms, including ‘historical’, ‘evidential’, ‘legal’ and ‘informational’, these terms are contested, often ill-defined, and frequently misleading. This thesis critically examines the theoretical concepts behind such terms and their use within the archival profession.
The application of Theory Derivation methodology, which employs analogy or metaphor to transpose and redefine a concept or theory from one context to another, enables the author to find new insight and explanations for archival value from the field of axiology (the study of value and value judgements). This thesis explores questions about what sort of property or characteristic of an object gives it value, whether having value is an objective or a subjective matter, and whether value can be measured. Philosophical concepts of value, in particular concepts of intrinsic value – as exemplified in the work of G. E. Moore (1 873-1958) – are explored. The re-interpretation of key tenets of archival theory, including appraisal, provenance and respect des fonds, through the particular framework of Moore’s Principle of organic unities will demonstrate that the concept of value has a wider resonance in the archival field than has been previously considered.

Keywordsarchives, value, axiology, appraisal
Web address (URL)http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1455310

Related outputs

Educating for Professional Life: Twenty-five Years of the University of Westminster
Penn, E. 2017. Educating for Professional Life: Twenty-five Years of the University of Westminster. London University of Westminster.

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