ABSTRACT

This paper discusses the potential role of the Council for the Preservation of Anthropological Records (CoPAR) in the context of contemporary developments in anthropological research and archival practice. Despite many efforts, there are no discipline-wide, agreed-upon best practices for making or keeping anthropological records, and no central space where such conversations are taking place. Founded in the 1990s, CoPAR aims to convey the value of anthropological records, to encourage anthropology practitioners and institutions to preserve the field's records, to identify and locate primary anthropological materials, and to promote the use of records in the discipline. While CoPAR led efforts to preserve records of anthropologists in the 1990s, it became inactive by the early 2000s. Since then, the shift to digital field records and the increased digital access of archival records has exposed new concerns for the field's archival records. This article explores the outcomes of a 2015 meeting on this topic and identifies new gaps and challenges for anthropological records, joining this work with current archival perspectives. The article makes a case for a revitalized CoPAR that will encourage life-cycle data thinking and more community-driven approaches to archival stewardship.

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