Steve and Kate have both been kind enough to comment on my post concerning Russell's call for continued debate about the terms archives and records management 2.0 and their associated manifestos.

Steve's points in response to the detail of Russell's
post are too well made and far too relevant in the context of the ongoing debate to be lost in the comments on a blog so (with Steve's approval) I've reproduced them in full below:

'hmm. First decision: where to post this response? The debate is spreading to so many places its difficult to know where is the right place...I guess here is as good a place as any!

Firstly, I think Russell falls into what appears to be a rather common misapprehension about the purpose of the Manifesto (certainly the RM one and I suspect the others too). They are not supposed to be a set of compulsory rules. Its not a case of 'you must sign up and abide by them at all times or cease to be an archivist'. Russell obviously carries around a fair amount of personal cultural baggage about the term 'manifesto' which I suspect is largely responsible for colouring his view here.

Secondly, I'm wondering if Russell has actually missed one of the fundamental characteristics of Web2.0 technology - and that is its (almost) permanent Beta status. Take a look at most Web 2.0 services and products and you will see that they are always in beta development and never finalised. It is an integral part of the nature of the technology, but has implications far beyond this in terms of its potential management. If we continue to insist on waiting for perfection and 'declaration as the final record' before getting involved we are doomed to professional irrelevance in this world.

Thirdly. Like it or not, archives and records management are a service profession. Not only are we fundamentally reliant on users to carry out most of the measures we seek to implement, but we are also reliant on them (either directly or indirectly) for funding our services. A&RM may have a theoretical professional core, but that does not mean that we can simply turn around to users and say 'its my way, or the highway'. Continue to take that attitude and popular opinion of our role will very soon shift from 'trusted gatekeeper and advisor' to 'unjustifiable barrier to our cultural heritage' and we will only have ourselves to blame.'

Kate has also written another great
post trying to to pull together all the different elements of this burgeoning debate (and as someone who has tried to do that too, and knows how complicated the process is, I appreciate her efforts). In her new post Kate also attempts to begin to develop a distinction between archives 1.0 and archives 2.0, picking up on some of the points that Steve and I have made in relation to the problem of definition associated with the term records management 2.0. She suggests that

'The appellation “2.0″ (taken from software engineering) implies a new version of a product. To echo Steve’s argument, I think we’re discussing a new version of archives, with enough changes to justify a new version number, but still fundamentally the same product.'

I think that is a very useful perspective and if the common understanding of the term archives or records management 2.0 becomes that it represents the next version, a development of what has gone before, rather than a fundamental shift in purpose or values, I, for one, would be comfortable with that. However, I think what has become apparent during this debate is that we don't have an agreed point of reference. We are debating a number of different but related issues around the adoption and use of Web 2.0 by ourselves and our organisations under the umbrella of archives/RM 2.0 without really reaching an agreement on what those terms mean. I suggest, therefore, that the next step is clear...

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