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Special Issue: March 2021

Scholarly and Professional Communication in Archives:

Archival Traditions and Languages


  • Eric Ketelaar, Professor Emeritus, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands,

The differences between archival traditions have hindered communication between archival practitioners and scholars from different countries and traditions and have impacted on the success of international recordkeeping projects. Some of the concepts that underpin the current archival literature in English are difficult to translate, one of the reasons being that many other languages do not have a word for the concept of “records”. Even within the Anglophone professional community, concepts and terms differ (likewise in the French-, German- and Spanish-speaking world and other language spheres). Records Continuum concepts, which have influenced the development of the international Records Management standard ISO 15489, are generally misunderstood outside of Australia. On the other hand, very little literature is available in English about archival theories and practices in non-Anglophone countries. 

More research is needed on the impact of language and culture on recordkeeping traditions and practices. In this special issue of Archives & Manuscripts, we are seeking to develop our knowledge base by bringing together authors that represent different archival traditions and practices. We are particularly interested in contributions by authors – scholars and practitioners – from non-English speaking countries that present and contrast different archival traditions and/or practices.

Topics may include:

  • Comparative studies of archival literature and practices in different countries, for example discussion of how the same literature is put in practice in different countries or regions
  • Discussion of the impact of seminal works and/or key concepts from non-English speaking countries onto theories and practices in English speaking countries
  • Discussion of problems of translation and adaptation of recordkeeping models or standards in countries/languages that do not share the same concepts, including mutual adaptation and problems of incommensurability of colonial and indigenous recordkeeping practices
  • Case studies conducted in several countries
  • Reflections on the problems encountered in international recordkeeping projects, for example on the possibilities and pitfalls of multilingual archival glossaries, past, present and future, or on the vocabularies of international standards
  • Reflections on the influence of IT terminology on national archival practices and vice-versa.

Key dates:

Expressions of interest: 15 December 2019 by email to

Submission deadline: 1 July 2020

Publication: March 2021

Submission instructions

Papers submitted to the special issue must be original, and must not be under consideration for publication anywhere else. Articles of various lengths will be considered, but should not exceed 10,000 words. Articles will undergo a double-blind peer review by at least 2 anonymous peer reviewers.

Archives & Manuscripts uses ScholarOne Manuscripts to peer review manuscript submissions. Guidelines for preparing and submitting your manuscript to this journal are available at: