"The Truth is in the Red Files": An Overview of Archives in Popular Culture

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Association of Canadian Archivists
This article is a personal overview of novels, motion pictures and television series investigating how the archive and the record are being represented in popular culture. Despite the initial casual nature of the review, and the disparateness of the sources, four strong common themes became apparent: protection of the record is equated to protection of the truth; archives are closed spaces and the archival experience is an interior one for characters; records are lost and buried in archives; and the information sought in the records invariably centres around the search for self or truth. This article expores the validity of these themes, offers some reasons for their prevalence, suggests the existence of a dichotomy between the real and imagined narratives of the archival experience, and concludes with some thoughts on whether archivists should be concerned about this representation.
Archives, Popular Culture
Archivaria 66 (Fall 2008), pp. 95-123