Must Contextual Description Be Bound To Records Description?
I've been struggling with the fact that (American) archival practice seems to bind contextual description (i.e., description of records creators) to records description. Much of these thoughts have been stirring in my head as a result of my class at Rare Book School. If we take a relatively hardline approach, e.g. the kind suggested by Chris Hurley ("contextual data should be developed independently of the perceived uses to which it will be put", 1, see also 2), it makes total sense to separate them entirely. In fact, it starts making me mad that the <bioghist> tag exists at all in EAD. Contextual description requires that it be written from a standpoint relative to that of the creator it describes. I guess what I keep getting hung up on is if there could be a relevant case that really merits this direct intellectual binding. I therefore appeal to you, humble readers, to provide me with your counsel. Do you think there are any such cases, and if so, why?
- Chris Hurley, "Ambient Functions - Abandoned Children to Zoos," Archivaria 40 (Fall 1995): 21—39. Availalable from http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/research/groups/rcrg/publications/ambientf.html.
- Chris Hurley, "Problems with Provenance," Archives and Manuscripts 23, no. 2 (November 1995): 234-259. Available from http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/research/groups/rcrg/publications/provenance.html.