Will Metadata Replace Archival Description? A Commentary
Heather MacNeil and David Wallace have provided two cogent and insightful discussions on the pros and cons of metadata replacing archival description. On the surface, the two papers seem to be advocating two opposing points of view. Heather MacNeil suggests that archival description should be performed by archivists after records have outlived their usefulness to their creator. David Wallace posits that description at the end of the life cycle causes backlogs, and the loss of vital contextual information. To solve these problems he recommends that creators or systems generate descriptions during records creation and use or what has been traditionally called the active stage of the life cycle. These two papers provide an excellent opportunity to explore this vital issue.
Cet article compare et oppose les principaux concepts de méta-information et de description archivistique écrits par Heather McNeil et David Wallace. Il met en lumière les similitudes des deux articles et examine leurs divergences. L'article conclut en soutenant que les archivistes manquent présentement de connaissances suffisantes pour répondre aux questions fondamentales concernant le rôle de la méta-information et de la description archivistique formelle. L'article souligne la nécessité d'un programme de recherches qui étudierait les besoins de la clientèle des archives et identifierait les procédés qui protégeraient l'intégrité et l'impartialité des documents et assurerait la saisie de l'information contextuelle pertinente.
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