n. (also personal archives)a set of documents in any format that provides evidence of an individual’s activitiesBorn 1963, 407A special article by the Soviet archival theoretician G. A. Kniazev, senior archivist and chief of the archives of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, on the methods used in organizing a personal archive (Kak organizovaf lichnyi podsobnyi arkkiv), p. 87-90. The records are filed chronologically in groups based on the activities of the creator.Nesmith 2002, 30Jacques Derrida, some of whose ideas on this subject I have just tried to paraphrase, maintains that this entire personal, social, institutional, and technological communications process is, in effect, an archiving process, or what he calls “archivization.” Derrida explores this in relation to Freud’s life and legacy in Archive Fever. He notes the powerful force of archival concerns and actions. This “archive fever” can be seen in: Freud’s father’s intense desire to pass on his Jewish heritage or ‘archive’ to his son; in Freud’s ‘archiving’ purpose in psychoanalysis, which can itself be seen as a technique to reach back into long repressed unconscious memories for the ultimate origin in the ‘personal archive’ of mental illness; in Freud’s and his family’s and followers’ strong will to perpetuate the true archive of his psychoanalytic discoveries; and in the passion of historian Yosef Yerushalmi to enter the conventional Freud archives of documents to understand thoroughly the origins and meaning of Freud’s work in relation to Jewish history and indeed to shape its meaning and legacy by pressing beyond its constraints in a fictional interview with the dead master.Cook 2011a, 624Not surprisingly, most focused on government, public, or corporate records and their orderly transfer to archival repositories to preserve their original order and classification; and most relegated private and personal archives to the purview of libraries and librarians. Indeed, to this day, national archives in Europe generally look after only the official records of their sponsoring governments; national or regional or university libraries (or state historical societies, regional and local archives, or special documentation institutes) take custody of personal manuscripts.
The difference between personal papers and personal archive or personal archives seems to be one of usage by community. Archivists are the primary users of the term personal papers while non-archivists use personal archive or personal archives to refer to the same concept.