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The Information Professional
Librarians and Archivists in a fast-changing digital lanscape
Curated by Karen du Toit
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An Archive of Memories: Viewing War Footage Critically ...

An Archive of Memories: Viewing War Footage Critically ... | The Information Professional |

Amita Arudpragasam:

"Another argument for why we are obliged now, more than ever before, to discern what photography we deem important, is because in this post-war period we are in the process of creating an archive of memories..."


"For many in Sri Lanka and around the globe, war is generic. Images of war victims are anonymous and nonspecific. If the caption on a photograph of a child war victim is altered, the meaning of the image can be changed and the photo reused in different contexts and by different parties – by LTTE advocates, different political factions, or by the Sri Lankan government. Do photographs of war victims necessarily vivify the condemnation of war? No. The same photograph that can be used as a call for peace can be used as a cry for revenge, as exaltation of a warring party, as acknowledgement that terrible things happen, or even as intimation that terrible things will continue to happen. The uses of the same Sri Lankan war footage can be diverse, from the promotion of the military, to appeals for peace, to ammunition for Human Rights activists. While photographs have a creator and so represent the view of someone, photographer intent does not necessarily determine the meaning of a photograph – processed images take on a life of their own depending on what context they are viewed in, and by whom. How a photograph is understood depends on the organizing idea, the moment, the place, the uses and the identification of the picture. So what should we take a photograph to mean? It might seem that photographs are simply a crude statement of fact addressed to the eye. But this belief is misleading and outdated. Photographs, as evidenced by their numerous adaptable uses are both objective record and personal testimony, a faithful copy or transcription of reality and an interpretation of that reality."


A valuable argument for the archivist to keep in mind.

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Timbuktu librarians protect manuscripts from rebels - Chicago Tribune

Timbuktu librarians protect manuscripts from rebels - Chicago Tribune | The Information Professional |

By Pascal Fletcher


"- Timbuktu librarians protect manuscripts from rebels > Chicago Tribune

- Fabled desert trading town houses "treasure of learning" 

- Priceless texts being hidden away in rebel-held area 

- Fears that illiterate footsoldiers may loot, steal"


"JOHANNESBURG, April 10 (Reuters) - Malian scholars,
librarians and ordinary citizens in the rebel-occupied city of
Timbuktu are hiding away priceless ancient manuscripts to
prevent them from being damaged or looted, a South African
academic in contact with them said.

Cape Town University's Professor Shamil Jeppie said he was
in daily contact with curators and private owners safeguarding
tens of thousands of historic texts in Timbuktu, the fabled
desert trading town and seat of Islamic learning overrun by
Tuareg-led rebels on April 1."

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