Legal and regulatory edicts that apply to archives focus on the value of the archival matter. The case study at the heart of this study discusses the rules pertaining to archives under Israeli law and analyzes them through a novel theoretical perspective that sees public depositories of information as media that partake in the creation and sustenance of society’s memory. This study broadens the discussion on archives in relation to memory by focusing on the elements of archive laws developed in Israel. Analyzing the policies behind the operation of archives we highlight the legal requirements for both public and private archives, the criteria by which “archival matter” is defined, the balances created between the right for freedom of information and other rights such as privacy, the rules regarding the elimination of archival material, and the obligations on choosing which records to keep, and we wonder how these legal requirements influence memory processes. Utilizing this memory-driven analysis, the study uncovers the mechanisms by which laws and regulations influence “social memory.” By bringing the discussion regarding the worlds of regulation and memory under the roof of archive regulation, we offer a novel understanding of memory processes, the power of regulation within these processes and the role of archives in it.
- Archival law