Venkat Srinivasan, Archivist

Sydney 2018: Infrastructure and co-design

The best indication to the vitality of an archive is its ability to shed light on context and process, and on the connections between memory, database and the narrative. The word that connects all these ideas to the archival object is annotation. It is through annotation/classification that we come to understand how memory can be boxed into an archival object, and it is through annotation/description that we begin to realize how an archival object can sit in diverse narratives. We are working on two digital tools to display this. One is Milli, a story building portal that, through the descriptive layer of archival objects, leads users to forming narratives. Another is Specere, a dynamic and weighted annotation tool that engages users to revisit archival objects and give their interpretation (based on narratives). The second is critical because it opens up the archival object to the interpretation of various communities, across borders as it were. For STS Across Borders, we propose the following physical exhibition to engage the conference community in asking some of these basic questions: