Visual Materials in the Archive: Determining and Maintaining Value in a Postmodern Climate

  • Jasmine E. Burns University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Keywords: archive, visual literacy, visual materials, postmodern, cultural production, appraisal, digitization, photographs, documentary


This paper engages with the existing body of archival literature that addresses what has been termed “documentary art” in order to address questions regarding the treatment of visual materials in archival practice and theory. It will also borrow and apply theories from the disciplines of material culture studies and art history in order to form a comprehensive understanding of the overall treatment of visual materials in a variety of collections. Through the lens of such theories, a discourse emerges that addresses the larger implications of the bibliographical treatment of visual materials within the archive, leading to the proposal of a solution to the problem of maintaining archival value in both physical and digital form.

Author Biography

Jasmine E. Burns, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Jasmine Burns is an MLIS candidate at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee pursuing a concentration in Archive Studies. Jasmine also works as a Digitization Assistant for UW-Milwaukee's Digital Collections and the American Geographical Society Archives, and as an Intern at Marquette University's Special Collections and Archives.

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