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Science in the Archives

Pasts, Presents, Futures

Edited by Lorraine Daston

Science in the Archives

Edited by Lorraine Daston

392 pages | 25 halftones, 11 line drawings, 1 table | 6 x 9 | © 2017
Paper $37.50 ISBN: 9780226432366 Published April 2017
Cloth $112.50 ISBN: 9780226432229 Published April 2017
E-book $37.50 About E-books ISBN: 9780226432533 Published April 2017
Archives bring to mind rooms filled with old papers and dusty artifacts. But for scientists, the detritus of the past can be a treasure trove of material vital to present and future research: fossils collected by geologists; data banks assembled by geneticists; weather diaries trawled by climate scientists; libraries visited by historians. These are the vital collections, assembled and maintained over decades, centuries, and even millennia, which define the sciences of the archives.
 
With Science in the Archives, Lorraine Daston and her co-authors offer the first study of the important role that these archives play in the natural and human sciences. Reaching across disciplines and centuries, contributors cover episodes in the history of astronomy, geology, genetics, philology, climatology, medicine, and more—as well as fundamental practices such as collecting, retrieval, and data mining. Chapters cover topics ranging from doxology in Greco-Roman Antiquity to NSA surveillance techniques of the twenty-first century. Thoroughly exploring the practices, politics, economics, and potential of the sciences of the archives, this volume reveals the essential historical dimension of the sciences, while also adding a much-needed long­-term perspective to contemporary debates over the uses of Big Data in science. 
Review Quotes
Lisa Gitelman, New York University
Science in the Archives achieves startling coherence despite its enormous range. The science at stake embraces varieties of knowledge making that include scientific disciplines like genetics, astronomy, and climatology, yet that also reach back to Antiquity and forward to the databases of today. Each of the twelve chapters argues a different case, together unfolding the crucial generative power of archival practice.  This volume—rich, rigorous—should be required reading for anyone who thinks the sciences and the humanities are really distinct domains.”
Jacob Soll, University of Southern California
“Renowned historian of science Daston and her line-up of stellar scholars show that how data and information are organized is part of the scientific process. This essential book traces how archives provided crucial support to the process of creating scientific data.”
Ann Blair, Harvard University
“This pathbreaking book brilliantly illuminates how scientific work consistently relies on the making and keeping of records. Twelve richly researched studies highlight long continuities in the hopes and resources invested in archiving of scientific research for current and future use.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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