Media scholars and historians are well aware of major gaps within the archival record, gaps that have fundamentally shaped the theories and methodologies of media studies as a discipline. However, much of the valuable media studies research that has been done to interrogate ideological work within "the archive" is actually research into the politics of one specific archival process: acquisition. This article focuses instead on the process of archival description. Comparing the rhetorical strategies present in the press surrounding the Harry Ransom Center's (HRC) acquisition of Matthew Weiner's Mad Men materials with the HRC finding aid's description of the collection itself, this article demonstrates a historiographical imperative for media scholars to cultivate basic archival literacies drawn from the archival disciplines themselves. I argue that by better valuing the intellectual labor of archivists, media scholars will be well-positioned to make use of the considerable archival record that does remain.


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pp. 138-157
Launched on MUSE
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