Memory Organizations and Evidence to Support Scholarship in the 21st Century
Memory organizations have two functions with regard to scholarship: they organize and preserve the scholarly record itself, and they try to select, prioritize, and preserve the much larger body of evidence that can be used to support future scholarly work. There has been a great deal of discussion about the changing scholarly record, and the changes in scholarly practice driven by information technology and data intensive scholarship. In the last few years, there has been a great deal of focus on stewardship of certain types of observational and experimental data, most commonly in the sciences, particularly as new technologies (gene sequencing, synoptic sky surveys, the Large Hadron Collider, earth observatories, etc.) allow the construction of new scientific instruments that greatly expand the base of evidence. Less well considered are new evidentiary resources that can drive the human sciences; these are often encumbered by privacy and human subjects issues, secrecy, and proprietary considerations. We see new instruments have been constructed and deployed mainly outside of the academy, and the evidence being collected here presents enormous challenges — indeed, rising to the level of public policy issues — to memory organizations and to future scholarly work.