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Archival Theory and the Dutch Manual

by ERIC KETELAAR*

Rkume'

Le manuel de Muller, Feith et Fruin (1898) est redevable

Theodore Van

Riemsdijk, Archiviste gtntral d ' ~ t a de la Hollande entre 1887 et 1912, des fondements de la thtorie archivistique,par I'observation et I'analyse minutieuse des phtnomhes d'organisation en utilisant son expertise en diplomatique afin de comprendrele processusde crtation des documentsavant de se tourner vers la mtthodologie archivistique. Cependant,Mulleret Fruin favoriskrentune approche normativede la mtthodologie archivistique,laquelle ttait codifite dans le manuel.

Cette codification et professionnalisation des

cette standardisation, archivistes hollandais ont

ttapes du processus bloqut le dtveloppement

de de

la

thtorie

archivistiquepour

un

long

moment.

La

science

archivistiquemoderne

tente,

comme I'avait

dtj2comprisVan

Riemsdijk,

une

interprttation

fonctionnelle

du contexte entourant la crtation des I'inttgritC du fonds et les fonctions des

documents archives.

dans

le

but

de

comprendre

Abstract

The Manual by Muller, Feith, and Fruin (1898) owes much to Theodoor Van Riemsdijk (General State Archivist of The Netherlands, 1887-1912), who be- lieved that the basis of archival theory was careful observation and analysis of phenomena and organizations, and the use of diplomatics to understand the records-creating process prior to turning to methodology proper. Muller and Fruin, however, favoured a normative approach to archival methodology, which was codified in the Manual. This codification and standardization--part of the process of professionalizationof Dutch archivists--blockedthe development of archival theory for a long time. Modern functionalarchival science seeks, asVan Riemsdijk already understood, a functional interpretation of the contextsurround- ing the creation of documents in order to understand the integrity of the fonds and the functions of the archives.

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