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Debates in Australian History - Essay Example

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Name: Course: Date: Archival Documents and Oral History Are Sources of Historical Data. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages linked to this historiographical method? Among the leading sources of historical data are archival documents and oral history…
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Debates in Australian History
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Download file to see previous pages The term may also be used to denote those programs or agencies which are independent in nature within an institution on which the responsibility of selecting, preserving and offering access or archival documents is bestowed on. The third meaning refers to repositories or buildings that are used for purposes of housing various collections of archival material. This paper, however, aims at presenting an in-depth understanding of archival documents as a broad collection of media and other traditional textual materials, including films, photographs, sound recordings, videotapes, magnetic disks and magnetic tapes (Shultz, Hoffman & Reiter-Palmon 2001, p.23). Oral history, on the other hand, refers to the formal, well-rehearsed accounts of the past presented by traditional bearers who have been culturally endorsed to informal conversations regarding to things and incidents of the old days among the members of the family, coworkers and/or neighbors. Oral history may also entail printed compilations of old stories which were told about both the past and the present experiences or even recorded interviews with certain persons deemed to have an imperative story to tell (Mnjama 1993, p.83). Each and every of these uses has a certain specific currency. Undeniably, a majority of the people throughout history has got to learn about the past through spoken words. In addition, for those individuals in the society who are history-conscious, firsthand accounts of the past have been so preserved for the record and to be precise, at those moments when they were historical actors and with their memories of the pass from the scene. Being histographical methods, both oral history and archival documents have had their merits, as well as demerits. Advantages Archival documents are important cultural resources. This is because these materials have been authored in such a conscious way so as to not inform, but also perpetuate knowledge, convey feelings, ideas and opinions. Moreover, the authoring of archival documents is geared towards entertaining and availing information about their subject (McKemmish 1993, p.9). Archival documents are customarily a part of the broader group of records which are closely related. Since they are created or accumulated in the course of undertaking business, these documents do play a central role in facilitating the business process. Another of the advantages of archival documents is that they are useful for historical and/or research purposes. They actually provide a doorway through which both the past and present events can be examined. Furthermore, a variety of researchers, including scholars, students at various levels, genealogists, biographers, local historians, documentary filmmakers and independent writers, take advantage of these archival documents (Lucas 1981, p.228). It is also worth noting that archival documents can be used for a number of purposes and by assorted audiences. As thus, records of organizations which do not have their personal institutional archives, as well as individual personal papers are most a times actively sought by the historical societies. Additionally, archival documents are the basis for legal evidence, personal and collective memory and organizational knowledge. Since archival documents are undeniably information objects serving as an evidence of the past events, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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