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61. Whither the Southeast Asia Research Archive? Sponsored by the AAS Southeast Asia Council (SEAC)

Fri, March 17, 10:30am to 12:30pm, Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel, Mezzanine, Birchwood Ballroom

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel


The Committee on Research Materials on Southeast Asia proposes a panel that will engage faculty and graduate students in questions arising from the changing nature of library research collections, here and in Southeast Asia, and to suggest how these changes are re-defining both research and the boundaries of scholarship. The four panelists will look at the “traditional” scholarly archive and discuss how changing technologies, and the outcomes-driven incentives of contemporary education, and libraries, are changing the character of research. Based on experiences in Burma, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, the panelists will discuss how some research archives limit access to researchers – for both physical and political reasons – while others are facilitating virtual, but selective, public engagement with historical records. With the assistance of a librarian as discussant, this panel will explore the meaning and future role of the “archive” in the context of the broader library collection, digital access and scholarship.

As research archivists turn their attention to the digital capture of old texts, new forms of knowledge-capture and knowledge-creation are supplanting “traditional” data sources and archives. For example, oral history projects are streaming on websites, statistical sets are increasingly available electronically, and new trends in scholarship require access to forms of information that libraries are struggling to collect: social media, websites and blogs. As libraries focus on cataloging their unique manuscripts and digitizing texts in the most obscure of the regions’ languages, does “the archive” still serve our faculty and students well?

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