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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Archival systems in the context of science Rodgers, Diane Margaret

Abstract

The concept of systems accounts for the organization and patterns of order that characterize the natural world. Throughout the history of science, scientific activity has been based on this concept, either implicitly under a mechanistic approach or explicitly under an holistic systems approach. Contemporary science is now based on an holistic systems viewpoint that encompasses both the natural and social worlds as objects for study. Based on this context for the systems viewpoint, the thesis addresses archival constructs, arising spontaneously as a byproduct of societal activity, as instances of systems. This is an aspect of their nature that was recognized by traditional theorists, who devised the methodology that still fundamentally guides archival practice. However, the archival field has not yet recognized the applicability and utility of formal systems notions to the work of the archivist, specifically to the tasks of arrangement, description, and appraisal. The thesis argues that appropriate handling of archival constructs requires that they be treated as systems, that the concept of systems provides a necessary framework for archival theory, and that by adopting a systems viewpoint, the archival field may regain the status of a recognized profession and join with other fields of applied science that contribute to systems research.

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