If we see the archive as a convergence of space, place and practice, Taylor begins, it becomes clear how the web problematizes the notion of an archive.
… a physical, authorized place with a known (or at least knowable) set of institutional practices (i.e., “we will deposit this cultural object because it has some historical value”),
… the known “thingness” of, for instance, the book deposited in a university library. …
anyone who has spent even a small amount of time in rare book rooms has no doubt come across many, many examples of printer’s errors, pages out of order, upside-down illustrations and misplaced text, not to mention marginalia, owner’s signatures, underlining, dirty thumbmarks — all deposits that make any individual book a unique (not homogenous, not infinitely reproducible) bit of cultural production, situated historically. Bindings alone, done book-by-book for a large chunk of the history of print, can tell much about a text and its owner(s).
(Whitney Trettien, Diana Taylor, “The Digital as Anti-Archive”?: A Response | HASTAC)
Primary source as Beloved; researcher seeking to touch what colonizers touched and made: an image of her when they admitted they knew her. Human oils in paper dust. Archive and archivist as third body.