It is not uncommon for archival photographs to appear in multiple copies, versions, or formats. Photographs of the same provenance are often found in various locations or housed in several institutions. Format diversity, duplication, and dispersion pose profound challenges for archivists attempting to represent photographic images scattered across many institutions. This article identifies four dimensions of archival dispersion—geographical, temporal, provenancial, and material—that simultaneously act as barriers for providing consolidated representation of dispersed photographs. Understanding the context and nature of dispersion is key to effective representation of photographs in archival custody. "Archival Diaspora" explores the complicated nature of distributed collections.

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