Sunday, March 13, 2011

What is an archive?

The essence of biohistorical research is the archive.  Despite the fact that the word archive tends to conjure up images of dusty, basement shelves filled with books and ledgers, the term can mean a great number of things for our research purposes.  Below, I have written a by no means exhaustive list of potential sources of archival data;
Government documents (censuses, marriage records, vital statistics, military anthropometric records)
Privately published documents (19th century directories, phonebooks)
Personal records (family genealogies)
Unpublished data from previous anthropological fieldwork (including photographs, ethnographic data)
Compendiums of comparative ethnographic data (HRAF)
Online records of gene frequency data (ALFRED and HapMap)
Blood serum samples
Tissue samples
Archived cell lines

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