X hits on this document





3 / 10



organization of archives, never tired of preaching the respect des fonds." One sen- tence in his lecture notes reveals "Rkgle absolut: il faut respecter les fond^."^

Muller and Van Riemsdijk both had to find out how to arrange the archives-- most of them dating back before 1800--piling up in their repositories. They had no "Start- ing an Archives" handbook.Each moved in unknown territory, keeping in close touch with the other, exchanging views and experiences by correspondence and in meet- ings. We can follow how their conceptions gradually matured.

Van Riemsdijk and Muller started with developing an archival theory: the analysis of ideas about what archives are, their essential characteristics, and common proper- ties.7As Terry Eastwood has pointed out, archival theory and archival practice are linked together by archival methodology.The three together constitute archival sci- e n ~ eV.an Riemsdijk, before turning to the methodology proper, gave precedence to the analysis and explanation of the way organizations generate and organize their memory to conduct business. Rightly,Van Riemsdijk has been called the first Dutch archival s~ientist.M~uller was struck with awe by Van Riemsdijk's Nev- ertheless, Muller left the theoretical platform rather soon, impatient to apply the

methodology in practice.

As early as 1877, Van Riemsdijk had come to the conclusion that archival docu- ments should be "placed in their natural and original context, where they reveal their nature and meaning best."" He also found that the system of arrangement of an archivalfonds should be based on its original organization. His view was that in general the original organization of records corresponds to the original organization of the administration.Here we notice an importantdifferencebetween Van Riemsdijk and others, including the authors of the Manual of later date. Van Riemsdijk does not limit organization of administration to the structure of the administrative body, as paragraph sixteen of the Manual does.I2Van Riemsdijk includes also the records administration proper, the procedures, the registry system.lVhese should be studied in detail, before embarking upon the arrangement and description of a fonds. Van Riemsdijk focused not on the actual record, but on the record-creating process. He tried to understand why and how records were created and used by their original users, rather than how they might be used in the future.14This not only distinguishes him from Muller and others, it makes Van Riemsdijk also a forerunner of the modern post-custodial paradigm, in which analysis of the characteristics of individual docu- ments is replaced by understanding the business functions, transactions, and workflows that cause documents to be created. I refer to Terry Cook's paper for the 1996 International Congress on Archives, entitled "Archives in the Post-Custodial World: Interactionof Archival Theory and Practice Since the Publicationof the Dutch Manual in 1898." Cook puts the Dutch Manual not only in a historical and global context, but, more importantly, in the theoretical and methodological context that transcends the century under review.

Van Riemsdijk did extensive research into the original archival and administrative organization, reviewing these "in connection with the officers, to whose activity we owe the creation of the archive^."'^ One of the finest examples of this approach is Van Riemsdijk's book of 1885 about the chancery (the office of the clerks) of the States-General since the sixteenth century. Even today, after more than a century, scholars consider this book to be indispensable for any researcher who wants to use

Document info
Document views61
Page views61
Page last viewedSat Jan 21 00:49:02 UTC 2017