Archieven in Transitie. Een exploratief onderzoek naar de digitalisering van archieven
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Archives are becoming more and more digital every day. Huge digitisation1 efforts by governments, big companies like Google, Footnote or Ancestry.com, as well as non-institutional online archival initiatives like The Internet Archive are changing the way we access and interact with the past. This thesis is an exploratory research on the transition of archives due to their digitalisation. It seeks to compare theoretical and practical perspectives in order to create a better overview of the current state of the (digital) archive. The thesis starts from the rather broad research question “to what extent do archives change due to their digitalisation?” and generates new questions and hypotheses in the literary analysis of the first chapter. In order to get a better view of the practical perspective of digitalisation I conducted a series of nine expert interviews, in which these questions and hypotheses were discussed with several national and international experts. Among the experts were Martin Berendse (National Archivist of The Netherlands and current chair of the International Council of Archives), Johan Oomen (R&D director of the Dutch Institute for Sound and Vision), Brewster Kahle (founder of The Internet Archive) and Kate Theimer (author of the influential blog ArchivesNext). The second chapter consists of the results of these expert interviews. It already becomes quite clear that there are many differences between theory and practice. In the third chapter both perspectives are compared, leading to a more nuanced and more complex view of the digitalisation of archives and the transition archives currently go through, as well as some propositions for changes to be made for the realisation of a more open, transparent and democratic digital archive. The thesis includes an English summary at the end.