based on the activities of an individual archives creator. From the perspective of the archives creator, the access routes (inventories) in a schematic form roughly reflect three moments of administrative reality: first the moment at which information arrives in the organisation (this results in the extensive series of incoming letters), secondly the moment at which the organisation (archives creator) takes the decision that is required based on the incoming messages (this leads to a series of decisions) and finally the information that is sent in the form of a letter (this results in extensive series of minutes or draft versions of outgoing letters). Again, from the perspective of the archives creator, this very simple model makes things surveyable because there is always a starting point and an end to administrative processes.31 This exclusive institutional approach of archives started to display hairline cracks since archives were defined as process-bound information about two decades ago.32 In this definition a direct relationship is laid between the archives and the processes behind the creation of documents. By taking the processes as a basis for defining and analysing archives, the scope has shifted from the institution to the information generating and structuring processes. As Luciani Duranti has explicated, every record is 'linked by a unique bond to the activity producing it' and understanding that bond has to precede understanding the records.33 Processes can be confined to a sole institution, but processes can of course also go beyond the organisational lines of a single institution. By taking the processes as the analytical tool for looking at colonial archival documents and colonial archives we come close to Appadurai's idea of 'objects on the move'. Seen from that perspective, it will become clear that archival documents themselves are the tangible traces of former fluid information exchange. When we look at the administrative process of the institutions from a somewhat greater distance, we see that what is the end of the administrative process for one archives creator is the starting point for the other. When, instead of focussing on the institutional framework, we concentrate mainly on the links in information exchange, the patterns of the information networks almost draw themselves. In doing this a different reality will be revealed and we see more clearly that the archives, which so far acted mainly as static research sources for historians, are in fact the traces of velocity that have been wrenched from their original context and transferred to an artificial archival warehouse and are in fact only seen from that (limited) perspective. The origin of a colonial network In the second part of this contribution I want to explore the role of information and the subsequent archives creation for the early Dutch colonial state. The year 1816 marked the beginning of a new period in the relationship between the Netherlands and the East Indies. In November 1813, the Netherlands gained its independence from France. Three years later, on 19 August 1816, the British returned possession of the territories that were known as Nederlands- CHARLES JEURGENS INFORMATION ON THE MOVE. COLONIAL ARCHIVES: PILLARS OF PAST GLOBAL INFORMATION EXCHANGE 32 Thomassen, 'Een korte introductie', 11-20. 33 Duranti, 'Diplomatics, 15. 51

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Jaarboeken Stichting Archiefpublicaties | 2012 | | pagina 53