Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-11-2018


archivist, librarian, archives, the archive, erasure, labor, Tansey Test


This presentation, "Invisible in 'The Archive': Archivists, Librarians, and The Caswell Test," was given at the 53rd International Congress for Medieval Studies, on May 11, 2018. It argues that medievalists, and humanities scholars more broadly, have erred in writing and theorizing about "the archive" as an abstract, depopulated space, untouched by human labor and laborers. Building on the work of M. L. Caswell, Eira Tansey, Amy Hildreth Chen, Myron Groover, and other scholars of library and information sciences, it proposes that humanities scholars adopt what I call "The Caswell Test."

Based on the famous "Bechdel Test" for gender representation in media, as well as "The Tansey Test" of archivists, "The Caswell Test" gives humanities scholars three short, easy to remember rules to follow whenever we write about libraries and archives in order to ensure that we are no longer engaging in the problematic erasure of archivists and librarians.



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