Describing the Archive: Preservation of Space, Time and Discontinuity in Photographic Sequences
The important relationship between the material arrangement of the archive and its accompanying catalogue is discussed and rationalised from a position inside the institution, from where I argue that an understanding of physical and contextual relationships between interconnecting units is critical to the spatiotemporal understanding of the archived image. The archive catalogue list is determined by the original order of the archive material and is subsequently central to the maintenance of order, functioning as ‘detector’ and ‘effector’ (Hood and Margetts 2007). There is a consideration of the comparatively new concept of original order from its development in the late 1880s publication known as the ‘Dutch Manual’. This manual for archivists emphasised recordkeeping without anticipating specific future use, a methodology that still persists today. The diachronic nature of archival ordering systems, dependant as it is on collection and use by original owners, is examined alongside important questions of narrativity and storytelling in photographic collections.