Demographics, Politics, and Threats in a World at War

Andris Ķesteris (Canadian Latvian Archives and Museum)

As large archival institutions thrive with long established and hard earned financial, storage and research facilities, there is an existential threat to smaller less developed operations and collections. There is a danger of vital documentation being lost just by simple neglect. This is nothing new to any archivist and curator. Regardless of the size of the archive, and let’s include museum holdings, the information contained therein is crucial to our collective memory. No one should imagine that there is little material left to seek out and preserve. 

Just dealing with older documents, as opposed to recently scheduled collections designated as archival, we can take a quick look at the Canadian Latvian Archive and Museum, colloquially called KLAM, and its present situation as of this writing. There are several issues regarding its existing acquisitions, the selection of new material, processing and retention for permanent preservation.

We are in a “world war,” with so much information available on the World Wide Web. There are continuous attempts to use and abuse historical information due to a variety of strategic initiatives. It is a complex war, which includes, and we are discussing here the Baltics, a major disinformation campaign meant to destabilize our communities. The decision-making process of vulnerable ethnic groups then comes into question. 

All three factors, demographics, politics and major wartime threats are critical to our current work in smaller community environments.