Arabesques n°110

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Science archives, librarians and archivists take up the challenge

July-August-September 2023

Scientific archives, or "research archives" to use the term coined at the "Archives de la recherche, problèmes et enjeux de la construction du savoir scientifique" conference held in Paris in 2012, cover all documents generated by the act of research in the knowledge production process.

These collections, made up of a wide variety of sources and documents, are essential to understanding "research in the making". They provide an opportunity for documentation and archive professionals to forge a special relationship with researchers, but they also represent a real challenge for the institutions that receive them, in terms of collection, conservation, reporting and promotion.

In this new issue of Arabesques, several institutions, including the Humathèque, the library of the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, the Bibliothèque internationale de la Sorbonne and the Observatoire de Paris, talk about their experience in managing these collections.

As sociologist and science historian Jean-François Bert describes in the interview that opens this issue, libraries are playing a growing role in collecting and promoting research archives, helping to "understand the invention of a concept, measure the scholar's involvement in its discovery, become aware of the paths taken, the dead-ends, the routines, the operations of manipulation, accumulation and sorting".

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