Professional, Institutional, and National Identities in Dialog: The Development of Descriptive Practices in the First Decade of the US National Archives
- Information & Culture: A Journal of History
- University of Texas Press
- Volume 49, Number 1, 2014
- pp. 54-73
- Additional Information
Drawing upon archival sources, this article reviews the historical background and discourse surrounding early descriptive developments at the US National Archives from 1935 to 1941. It identifies three discursive strands and discusses their implications for archivists today: how local and national differences might temper wholesale adoption of practices employed in other settings; the initial attempt to blend bibliographic and archival approaches at the National Archives; and the conceptualization and subsequent adoption of the record group as an institutional compromise. This compromise embedded conceptual principles identified by European archivists while simultaneously addressing specific pragmatic and physical considerations presented by federal records at the time.