naturalnessn. accumulation of documents as a residue of their creator or functions Eastwood 1994, 127The third and fourth characteristics, naturalness and interrelatedness, both concern the manner in which the documents in an archives accumulate in the course of the transaction of affairs according to the needs of the matters at hand. They are natural, in the sense that they are not collected for some purpose outside the administrative needs generating them, and not put together according to some scheme to serve other than those needs, as are the objects in a museum or the documents in a library collection. Boles and Greene 1996, 305Jenkinson’s third archival criterion, naturalness, seems closely linked to the concept of impartiality and suffers from the same shortcomings. Documents, in this view, accumulate “naturally, progressively, and continuously, like the sediments of geological stratification.” Although to some extent this is undoubtedly true, the concept, like authenticity, is subject to significant non-business-related manipulation by those who create and destroy these layers of sediment while using a metaphor that confuses arbitrary natural processes with extraordinarily variable human activity. Guercio 2001, 240The risks do not concern the professional nature of archival work which, in the context of the major transformation currently happening, can still change radically, so much as the very object of archival study: records, their specificity, their relationships, the format of their aggregations, the modalities of selection, and the periods of retention, the need for guaranteeing authenticity over time and of respecting the naturalness, fixity, and the necessity of the record links to the process of accumulation, which constitute the essential, if not exclusive, rationale for permanent preservation across time (for the use of the records creator in the first instance and thereafter for the needs of historical and scientific research). Eastwood 2004, 42In this essay he explains the quality of naturalness, that is, that archives come “together by a natural process” and were not collected for literary or historical purposes. Yeo 2008, 129Writers such as Randall Jimerson and Alf Erlandsson emphasize the naturalness of records and describe them using words such as remnants, residues, or by-products to indicate that they emerge from the normal course of business activities in organizations or personal life. [footnote] The suggestion that records are natural residues of activity is often intended to call attention to differences between records and library materials or information products created for the purpose of expounding ideas or facts to wider audiences. Cook 2011a, 622All these fields of investigation into “the archive”—the collective record—are extraordinarily rich, and expanding impressively, almost exponentially, in quality and quantity. In this approach, the “archive” is seen as reflecting those institutions that had the power (and resources) to articulate through written records and visual images their view of the world, and that, not surprisingly, used these recording tools in turn to order, control, name, map, depict, count, and classify that world to reflect their own assumptions and values and reinforce their own power, status, and control. Of course they also had the power and motivation (and resources) to preserve those records (no mean feat over centuries) that best served as evidence of the seeming naturalness of their own hegemony. Duranti and Franks 2015, 249Naturalness is the characteristic of archival documents (or records) most often referred to as “organicity” or “involuntariness,” meaning that archival documents grow spontaneously from one another and are not the purpose of the activity that generates them, but its residue, similar to the bed of a river or the roots of a tree, all metaphors used in archival literature.
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