Current events worldwide have called attention to archival work and centered archives in national discussions of power, representation, and accountability. Threats to Ukraine's archives from the Russian invasion,2 litigation over presidential administration records in the United States,3 and investigations into Indigenous boarding schools in Canada and the United States,4 among other events, emphasize conversations that have been happening in the archival profession about ownership and control over records and information, the tension between privacy and the public's right to information, and the role archivists should play in combating misinformation.

The reviews both in this issue and on the Reviews Portal are timely examinations of similar themes, posing questions about the creation, collection, and control of archival materials. In the first piece, Hallel Yadin and Josie Naron review A Time to Gather: Archives and the Control of Jewish Culture, which explores the development of Jewish “total archives” and the ways in which they exert power over Jewish cultural heritage. As Yadin and Naron describe, a key theme of the work is the tension between local versus centralized control over archival materials. In contrast to the concept of a centralized archives, The Social Movement Archive, reviewed by Lori Podolsky, interrogates traditional collection practices and explores how archivists can collaborate with and center the needs of activists in preserving the often disparate and diverse ephemera produced by social movements.

Several reviews on the Portal offer additional advice for archivists interested in centering community perspectives. CJ Garcia's review of The Community Archiving Workshop Handbook and Michelle Ganz's review of Handbook of Research on the Role of Libraries, Archives, and Museums in Achieving Civic Engagement and Social Justice in Smart Cities discuss how archivists can build partnerships and empower communities through archival education and outreach. Katherine Herrick's review of the Smithsonian Transcription Center provides a case study of these themes, exploring how one institution has successfully engaged a diverse community of users in making digitized records more accessible for all. Moreover, Noah Lasley's review of Reimagine Descriptive Workflows: A Community-Informed Agenda for Reparative and Inclusive Descriptive Practice and Jonathan Pringle's review of the Reconciliation Framework: Response to the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Taskforce examine frameworks that provide guidance on making archival description and practice more responsive to and inclusive of the many communities we serve.

Archives can also highlight the stories of individuals and communities that traditional histories, focused on the powerful and privileged, have too often ignored. The Blister Club: The Extraordinary Story of the Downed American Airmen Who Escaped to Safety in World War II, reviewed by Robert Nowatzki, demonstrates how archives can expand our understanding of military history by preserving the evocative stories of individual soldiers in their own words. Similarly, in reviews for the Portal, Noah Safari shows how the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery presents new opportunities for understanding the lives of enslaved people in the United States and the Caribbean, while Addison D. Faulk examines how the UK National Theatre's Black Play Archive broadens awareness of Black playwrights and practitioners in the United Kingdom by bringing together primary and secondary source material about their works.

While these publications and resources demonstrate archives' critical role in the communities we serve, we also feature several reviews that highlight technology's impact on the archival process. Amanda Greenwood's review of The Past Web: Exploring Web Archives discusses the technical challenges of archiving in the digital age. This collection of essays, edited by an international team of digital preservation and web archiving scholars, offers an introduction to web archiving for those new to the field as well as an overview of recent research concerning copyright, privacy, and other topics of interest to more experienced web archiving professionals. Two Portal reviews—Paige Monlux and Kathryn Slover's joint review of Preservica and Nicolette Lodico's review of TIND.IO Institutional Repository—evaluate specific products that archives can employ to support digital preservation goals.

Monlux and Slover's joint interview is the result of our efforts to expand the Portal beyond the limitations of the traditional review format in order to highlight multiple voices and perspectives. We also adopted this new review approach for Camila Zorrilla Tessler, Karlie Herndon, and Sally Blanchard-O'Brien's review of Netflix's popular Archive 81 series. The discussion of the representation of archives and archivists in popular culture is also central to Caryn Radick's review of the bestselling-novel The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections and Burkely Hermann's review of The Watermelon Woman, a film recently added to the Library of Congress' National Film Registry. While these depictions of archives can be humorous at times, the final review in this issue, Liz Engel's meditation on Awful Archives: Conspiracy Theory, Rhetoric, and Acts of Evidence, conversely explores how popular misconceptions of archives and the increasing spread of disinformation online can inform and perpetuate conspiracy theories. This only underscores the importance of primary source literacy skills in combating misinformation, a subject that Sebastian Modrow discusses in his Portal review of “Engaging History Majors in Intensive Archival Research: Assessing Scaffolded Curricula for Teaching Undergraduates Primary Source Literacy Skills.”

As we enter our second year as Reviews Editors, we look forward to continuing to feature ongoing discussions about the archival profession. We reassert our commitment to centering diverse perspectives and voices in the reviews process as well as reimagining how we present reviews in the wake of American Archivist's move to an all-digital publication. We are excited for what's to come.

(Published between February and September 2022)


All views expressed in this essay are the authors' own. They do not represent the views of the authors' institutions nor any agency or office of the US government.


Pranshu Verma, “Meet the 1,300 Librarians Racing to Back Up Ukraine's Digital Archives,” The Washington Post, April 8, 2022,, captured at


Luke Broadwater, “Archives Is Unsure Whether Trump Surrendered All Records, Panel Says,” New York Times, September 13, 2022,


Scott Neuman, “The Pope's Apology in Canada Was Historic, But for Some Indigenous People, Not Enough,”, July 25, 2022,, captured at; US Department of the Interior Press Release, “Department of the Interior Releases Investigative Report, Outlines Next Steps in Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative,” May 11, 2022,, captured at