Critique of Archaeological Reason

12. Archives

Giorgio Buccellati – June 2021

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The current version

The current version is number 1a.

It has been officially archived on June 2021, after which date no more changes will be made to the online version.

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In order to maintain a more secure and transparent bibliographical status for the pages of the website, updates will be issued not on an individual basis, but as separate versions of the entire website.

Citations to the website should indicate the version to which they refer, just as one does with the edition of a printed book.

This being the first version, there is obviously no entry in this section of the archives. With version 2, the entire version 1 will be available here on an independent basis.

This formula is in use with other websites, and an excellent model is the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, which counts already 79 “fixed” editions, since the start of the project in 1997.

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Each page is identified at the top by an entry that gives first the path to the current page, and then the number of the version with the date of the version itself.

This date may differ from the date when the page was written, which is given below the page title, after the name of the contributor.

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The ephemeris concept

In the printed volume I discuss (in section 12.7) the significance of this approach, and I compare it to the concept of ephemeris used in astronomy.

A significant implication of this approach is that it gives the website a finality it does not otherwise have. In the printed volume (section 12.6.2) I discuss the implications of the fact that websites tend not to have a conclusion, since they are potentially always open to change. The archival, or ephemeris, approach obviates this pitfall, since each version, does, in fact, have its own conclusion.

The significance of the ephemeris concept is that it emphasizes the relevance of the internal coherence of a website seen as a whole. In this perspective, to archive a version implies a concern for its structural integrity: there is a “closure” that is more than just declaring the website “closed”; it rather invites one to see it as a meaningful whole (see also the Preface). The bibliographical status is stable while allowing at the same time for the maximum of fluidity. This is brought out, for instance, by the automatic updating of the indices, which will take place with each new version.

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