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"Archives: communication in the fourth dimension"

Ian Wilson

Innovation is a word more closely allied with the fields of information technology or the biosciences than with the world of archives. Innovation suggests ideas that carry us into the future, not records that link us to our past. Innovation, derived from the latin, literally means "to make new." "Archives" is related to the Greek family of words with the root "arkhe" meaning first, beginning, or original and commonly refers to records which are no longer in operational use. What then does innovation have in common with an institution devoted to preserving the documents which make up the collective memory of the nation? And how is the National Archives of Canada using innovative techniques and strategies to communicate across time, bringing the stories of the past ever more meaningfully into the present to help better inform decision-making, protect our rights as citizens, and shape our identity/identities as a nation?

 

Updated May 27, 2001