chapter  13
23 Pages

Tensions in the Interface

The archive and the digital 1
WithDebra Ramsay

The interface, a ubiquitous feature of the digital world, has radically changed the way we think about and access information yet it is a relatively under-researched area in studies of archives, media and memory. My approach builds on recent conceptualisations of the interface as a dynamic state to investigate the interface as a process, rather than an end-product. Specifically, this chapter investigates the design of a digital interface within the official archive of the UK Government – The National Archives (TNA). Based on an ethnographic study of organisational practices within TNA, I examine the interface as a highly contested and fluid state of boundary and convergence between the archive and the digital, where nothing less than the identity of the archive is at stake.