Archive Fever

31 Mar

The emergence of Internet made a profound change to the entire modes and structure of publics and publishing. Internet, the fancy and problematic tool, provides a new platform for publishing, which creates new sets of archives and the potentiality of archives in the future. It seems that the influence or potential influence of archives might not even noticed by ourselves when we engaging with them. However, personally, these kinds of impacts are just options or possibilities for individuals. People, in their nature, they have the capabilities to select from the options for which they want to become. This blog will involve and make you think of how archives impact our sense of who we are, individually and collectively. Also, the potential that archives structure our experience differently and the extent of institutions and even individuals are their archives.

Try to recall yourself the archives you have built since childhood: the collection of fancy toys series, the diaries you kept for your special “events” or complaints, the collections of brand tags after you cut them off from new clothes or bags… What happened after internet involves in our daily lives? Have you transformed your diaries in your blogs? How many social networking sites have you participated in for expressing yourself? Do the contents published on the social networking sites influence your published content, your archives? The spring up of millions of new sets of archives, such as the tags on social networking sites and the bookmark or comment made by people in the online environment and so on. The online archives seem to shape our perception of the society and the assessment of who we are and what we should behave in the contemporary society. In a way, possibly, individuals tend to immerse themselves into the majority groups in a society. However, people themselves may not really feel like that.

These days the complaints and abuses on “arrogance” of Google Corporation are “popular”, which causes lots of journalists to write about that.  This kind of issue makes me think of the view of Jacques Derrida who is the philosopher and author of Archive Fever (1996, Chicago: University of Chicago Press). He contends that all media construct archives, and destroy other archives as well, differently. This is largely what drives our engagement with publishing. Another good example for that is the competition among various social networking sites. Each site is the potential replacement or destroy of other archives of social networking sites. Just like several years ago, Myspace is the in fashion. It tends to be forgot or less used by people after the appearance of Facebook. This is a way of destroy previous archives because people quit Myspace and transfer to another one.

Anther refreshing and valuable idea that Jacques Derrida asserts is the future possibilities or potentials of current and old archives. The archives for the past may become possible innovation or inspiration of future possibilities. People use archives not only for record, but also for the potential value or hint in the future. It will be the footprint in the past and the foundation for future possibilities.


Archive Overview, youtube,

Derrida, Jacques 1996, Archive Fever: A Freudian Impression

Chicago:University of Chicago Press

Howard, Sharon (2005) ‘Archive fever (a dusty digression)’, Early Modern Notes, < digression/>

Stokes, J. 2003, Reading Notes: Archive Fever’, Ars Technica, June 27,





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