Archives, Books, and a note on a renaissance for literary magazines.

In 2009 the Archives of Cologne collapsed , Speigel English reported it as ‘History in Ruins, Archive Collapse Disaster for Historians‘. It always interests me as a sometime collector of letters, books and such ephemera that Governments often do not prioritise our history in a manner that will benefit future students of culture and politics.

Yesterday morning there were reports of an ongoing dispute between French Archivists and the Government of Nicholas Sarkozy , or rather , more specifically Nicholas Sarkozy’s Legacy Museum Project, which is centred in the National Archives in Paris :

” It’s one of the grandest palaces in central Paris, housing treasured national documents from Napoleon’s will to the rules of tennis. But behind a makeshift barricade of box-files and banners, staff are camping out in sleeping bags, as France’s National Archives become the frontline in the biggest cultural revolt of Nicolas Sarkozy‘s leadership.

Historians are rising up against the president’s grandiose plans to immortalise himself by founding a national history museum in his own image. Just as François Mitterrand built the Louvre pyramid and Georges Pompidou lent his name to the landmark modern art museum, Sarkozy is searching for his own cultural legacy. But his planned museum, with its emphasis on “national identity”, has been attacked by academics as a dangerous, nationalistic attempt to pervert history for his own  ideological purposes.”

(Guardian report 10/11/2010)

The questions really have to be grounded in how Governments see their role in preserving the past ?

(i). Do they protect the buildings which house archives from problems such as runaway development and gentrification ?

(ii). Are there adequate disaster management plans in place that are planned and strategised at governmental /departmental levels ?

(iii). Is Governmental funding for the provision of adequate storage and climate-control infrastructure a priority in terms of paper/data archival storage ?

In terms of good news today , UCD celebrates the launch of the Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive ( IVRLA ). I am adding in a paragraph about the launch and a link to the Press release:

” The Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive (IVRLA) digital repository draws on UCD’s extensive archival resources, allowing this material to be accessed in a digitised format from a single virtual location. The IVRLA presents 32 curated collections as well as a series of 17 research projects which demonstrate the research potential of this major digital repository.”

( from

There are ongoing problems with our National Library storage , including its dependence on Dáil Éireann for heat, but its good to see that resources and archive services are provided for in UCD. Visits by staff from the British library and skill-sharing in disaster-management form part of the NL’s policy here. I hope to update on the Archives of Cologne, the French National Archives dispute and digitizing Archival resources in a later post and will link further in the comments section.

A Renaissance for Literary Magazines,  from the Guardianadding a Guardian Books RSS Feed.

Note : I have added an RSS feed link to Guardian Books into the central column beneath this post, there is a very interesting report therein on how Tech advances a Literary Magazine Renaissance, which should be of interest to publishers, writers and readers. I am linking it here.

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