Keynote Speakers and Keynote Abstracts


Luciana Duranti is Professor of archival theory, diplomatics, and the management of digital records in the master’s and doctoral archival programs of the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies of the University of British Columbia (UBC). She is also Faculty Associate Member of the UBC College for Interdisciplinary Studies, Media and Graphics Interdisciplinary Centre. She is Director of the Centre for the International Study of Contemporary Records and Archives (CISCRA— and of InterPARES, the largest and longest living publicly funded research project on the long-term preservation of authentic electronic records (1998-2018), the Digital Records Forensics Project, and the Records in the Clouds Project. She is co-Director of the Law of Evidence in the Digital Environment Project.

She has published more than 150 referred articles/book chapters and 5 books. The research projects she has directed have produced more than 4000 publications. She is in the editorial board of 12 refereed journals and has been guest editor of thematic issues of two of them. She is co-editor with Patricia Franks of the Encyclopaedia of Archival Science. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, 2015.

She has been active nationally and internationally in several archival associations and in boards and committees, such as The Society of American Archivist (President, 1998-9; Council Member, 1992-95); the Association of Canadian Archivists, of which she is presently the President (2016-2018); the UNESCO International Advisory Committee of the Memory of the World Program (on behalf of which she also chaired the program of the 2012 Conference); the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Adjudicating Committee of proposals for granting programs related to the digital economy; the Canadian Government Standards Board (for which she chairs the Committee revising standard 72:34, Electronic Records as Documentary Evidence) and the American National Standards Committee (ANS/ARMA), as well as the International Standards Organization committee on the same matters; and the China Research Centre on Electronic Records Board; to name a few.

For her work, she has been honoured with the British Columbia Faculty Associations’ Academic of the Year Award (1999) and the Society of American Archivists’ and the Association of Canadian Archivists’ Fellowship (1998 and 2014). Her research has been recognized in 2006 with the Emmett Leahy Award for her contributions to records management and the drafting of the DoD and MoReq standards for recordkeeping, and for the InterPARES research; with the British Columbia Innovation Council Award, which is annually presented to “an individual who has opened new frontiers to scientific research;” with the Killam Research Prize; and in 2007, with the Jacob Biely Research Prize, the University of British Columbia’s “premier research award.” In 2012, she was awarded the Inaugural ARMA International “Award for Academic Excellence in teaching, research, and contribution to the global citizenry,” and in 201,4 she was inducted a “Member of the Academia Galileiana” of Padua. Because of her overall academic record, since 2011, she holds the honorary positions of “Affiliated Full Professor” at the University of Washington, Seattle, US.

For details on her work, please see and

Keynote Speaker: Prof Luciana Duranti
Title of Keynote: Disruptive Technologies and Trustworthy Records

Abstract of Keynote: Disruptive technologies are becoming increasingly popular today. Data Science, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Visual Analytics, Big Data, Blockchain, and a combination of two or more of them are used for all kinds of research and business purposes, including archival functions. Records and archives professionals have in the past, provided a reasonable guarantee of the accuracy, reliability and authenticity of the documentary evidence for which they are responsible by using methods that are time sanctioned across the international community. Can they continue to do so when adopting technologies that are not designed around the concepts of context (administrative, provenancial, procedural, documentary), archival bond, and impartiality? If scientific and technological expertise is to be engaged effectively to serve the people who rely on the evidentiary infrastructure provided by archives, the knowledge it conveys needs be drawn together with moral (individuals’ own principles), ethical (a social group’s principles), social, and cultural concerns to deliver a shared trustworthy documentary heritage to the present and future users. This paper  will identify and discuss the issues to overcome if we are to achieve such a goal.

Alistair Thomson is Professor of History at Monash University in Australia, and was previously Professor of Oral History at the University of Sussex in England. He has served as President of the International Oral History Association and as an editor of the British journal Oral History, and is currently President of Oral History Australia. His oral history books include: Anzac Memories (Oxford University Press 1994 and Monash University Publishing 2013), The Oral History Reader (Routledge 1998, 2006 and 2015 with Robert Perks), Ten Pound Poms (Manchester University Press 2005, with Jim Hammerton), Moving Stories: an intimate history of four women across two countries (Manchester University Press and UNSW Press 2011), Oral History and Photography (Palgrave Macmillan 2011, with Alexander Freund), and Australian Lives: An Intimate History (Monash University Publishing 2017, with Anisa Puri).


Keynote Speaker: Prof Alistair Thomson
Title of Keynote: Curating Access to Digital Oral History Archives: Exciting Prospects and Risky Futures

Abstract of Keynote: In many ways, oral historians have made the most of the exciting potential offered by the digital revolution. We have enjoyed the simplicity and quality of digital recording, and we have digitized old analogue interview collections. Our online digital audio or video recordings can be readily shared with anyone, anywhere. Researchers can more easily access and use the sound and image of recordings, rather than relying on paper transcripts that lose so much of the meanings of the recorded interview. Evolving technologies enable archives to link the oral history recording with a timed summary or transcript, so that researchers can make text searches within an interview – or across an archive – and then listen directly to chosen extracts. We can make digital recordings into extraordinary multimedia exhibitions, websites, podcasts, documentaries and artworks. In this talk, I will  use the example of the Australian Generations Oral History Project, a collaboration between university historians, the National Library of Australia and ABC Radio, to illustrate and explore these extraordinary prospects for digital oral history archives. Yet I will also consider the risky futures we are now facing in an online digital world: firstly, the ethical issues posed by the prospect of easy online access to intimate life stories; and secondly, the challenge of future-proofing digital oral history. Though the National Archives of Singapore or the National Library of Australia may be able to future proof their digital oral history collections and ensure they are preserved forever on evolving archival platforms, beyond such state archives very few oral history projects or collections are sufficiently skilled, robust or resourced to future proof their digital recordings. Paradoxically, a paper transcript might well survive long after the digital or analogue recording is unusable. How might we prevent that dismal prospect?