Dr Jessie Lymn

General Editor, Archives and Manuscripts


Citation: Archives & Manuscripts 2022, 50(1): 10689 - http://dx.doi.org/10.37683/asa.v50.10689

Copyright: Archives & Manuscripts © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Australian Society of Archivists. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits sharing the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

Published: 2 September 2022


This is an exciting time for Archives and Manuscripts as we produce our first truly open access issue of the journal in 2022. This moment has been a long time coming and is due to the ongoing persistence of members of the Australian Society of Archivists (ASA) to agitate for a move away from a commercial publishing model, a Council that is willing to take risks and invest in future models of publishing and access to information, and researchers and practitioners who are choosing this form to share their findings. Thank you all!

This is also my first issue as General Editor, a role I took on at the same time as I was shifting my own identity from ‘academic and researcher’ to ‘public servant and practitioner’. My move was motivated by reflections on the past few years of pandemic life (perhaps even making me part of the ‘great resignation’1), and a desire to apply my skills and knowledge in practice. This shift has given me perspective on the role of an academic journal for a member-based society such as the ASA, and the important role the journal plays in bridging the gap between research and practice. As a society journal, we know our key audiences include practitioner members along with established and emerging academics, and finding the balance of content for you all has always been a challenge.

Our opening article by Jennifer Douglas, Alexandra Alisauskas, Elizabeth Bassett, Noah Duranseaud, Ted Lee and Christina Mantey demonstrates the importance of these conversations as they analyse recent research where they interviewed archivists about grief and other emotions in archival work. Of note in their analysis is the importance of listening both in research and in practice; as one participant noted, listening in the archives is a ‘way of honoring a donor or records creator or subject’.2 This extends through the paper to ensuring practitioners have the spaces to be heard as they work through their own personal and professional practice. Archives and Manuscripts is one place where these voices can be heard and honoured, and to this end, I encourage reflections and reviews in the journal, highlighting the strength and power in the voices and actions of archivists nationally and globally.

This issue includes reflection articles from Carey Garvie and James Doig on the Commonwealth Record Series System at the National Archives of Australia, and from Gionni Di Gravio AM on a recent collaboration with television producers and the University of Newcastle Archives. The breadth of work taking place in the profession is impressive, and we look forward to future reflections from practitioners on risk taking, experimentation and future thinking for practice, along with reflections of what has gone before in Australian archival practice.

We also feature peer-reviewed articles from Australian researchers that both look past traditional archival practice; Kieran Hegarty3 challenges web archivists and historians to think about the absences created through their work, and Matt Balogh, William Billingsley, Mary Anne Kennan and David Paul4 propose models for personal record keeping which they translate to a framework for these everyday records. As in Douglas et al., both Hegarty and Balogh et al. are framing archival work from a human perspective and challenging archival practice to recognise itself within a tangled web of social, technological, environmental and emotional spheres.

There are ongoing discussions in the journal publishing sector of the challenges in sourcing quality content and timely peer reviews, and sustainable funding models.5 Archives and Manuscripts is not immune from these challenges, and I am particularly thankful for the anonymous peer reviewers for this issue who have all provided constructive, productive and supportive reviews for authors. I aim to ensure each article has been reviewed from both an academic and practitioner perspective to ensure audience needs are met, and I recognise that on many occasions this work is done voluntarily, outside of the bounds of your paid work.

It is open and free, but rights remain with the authors

As we have worked with authors over the past few months to produce this issue, we have had engaging and productive discussions to help shape and understand the open access publishing model for the ASA in particular. Questions of copyright have always driven discussion around the journal’s publication; in the commercial publishing era with Taylor and Francis (2011–2021), members often raised questions of copyright and ownership of the journal, and the articles within. But, as the project to publish the back issues of Archives and Manuscripts revealed, the copyright status of articles and the journal itself changed regularly, and it was a mammoth undertaking to secure permissions across 55 years of publishing.

The creative commons license that we are publishing under - CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 - allows non-commercial reproduction, without transformation and with full attribution. This license allows the republishing of articles within the journal, which, in turn, amplifies the voices and impact of the research and reflections. We encourage sharing of these articles and at the same time have listened to member and author concerns and ensured the copyright remains with the authors in perpetuity.

In closing

It would be remiss to conclude this editorial without acknowledging the formidable work undertaken by my predecessor, Dr Viviane Frings-Hessami, as she shepherded the journal through extremely difficult times for academic journals during the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021. Viviane started her tenure in Volume 47, Issue 2, with a declaration that she was ‘keen to encourage dialogue between researchers and practitioners, and between Australian and international recordkeeping professionals’,6 and I too declare my intent to continue to forge these conversations and relationships. In this light, I aim to work with the Editorial Board and ASA Council to reimagine the Editorial leadership of the journal, reflecting these dual audiences and roles, and the benefits of collaborative work. Keep an eye out for further discussion of this as we work towards the next volume.


1. Ariane Cohen, ‘How to Quit Your Job in the Great Post-Pandemic Resignation Boom’, 2021, available at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-10/quit-your-job-how-to-resign-after-covid-pandemic, accessed 1 August 2022.
2. Jennifer Douglas, Alexandra Alisauskas, Elizabeth Bassett, Noah Duranseaud, Ted Lee and Christina Mantey, ‘“These Are Not Just Pieces of Paper”: Acknowledging Grief and Other Emotions in Pursuit of Person-Centered Archives’, Archives & Manuscripts, vol. 50, no. 1, 2022. https://doi.org/10.37683/asa.v50.10211.
3. Kieran Hegarty, ‘Representing Biases, Inequalities and Silences in National Web Archives: Social, Material and Technical Dimensions’, Archives & Manuscripts, vol. 50, no. 1, 2022. https://doi.org/10.37683/asa.v50.10209.
4. Matt Balogh, William Billingsley, David Paul and Mary Anne Kennan, ‘Attributes of Personal Electronic Records’, Archives & Manuscripts, vol. 50, no. 1, 2022. https://doi.org/10.37683/asa.v50.10421.
5. See for example Hamid R. Jamali, Simon Wakeling and Alireza Abbasi, ‘Scholarly Journal Publishing in Australia’, Learned Publishing, vol. 35, no. 2, 2022, pp. 198–208 for a discussion of the issues faced by Australian journals that ceased to publish in the last decade.
6. Viviane Frings-Hessami, ‘Editorial’, Archives & Manuscripts, vol. 47, no. 2, 2019, pp. 175–8. https://doi.org/10.1080/01576895.2019.1611067.