The following bibliography contains a curated selection of the many works of scholarship that have informed the LADI project. We welcome suggested additions through our contact us page. 




Alpert-Abrams, H., Bliss, D., & Carbajal, I. (2019). Post-Custodial Archiving for the Collective Good: Examining Neoliberalism in US-Latin American Archival Partnerships. Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies, 2(1), 1-24. DOI:

This article discusses the influence neoliberalism has had on post-custodial practice at LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections at the University of Texas at Austin to help with the power imbalance still present in cross-cultural collaboration. The authors suggest an ongoing process of learning, unlearning, and restructuring can benefit all parties.


Bastian, J. A. (1999). Defining custody: The impact of archival custody on the relationship between communities and their historical records in the information age. A case study of the United States Virgin Islands (Order No. 9957702). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (304537561). Retrieved from

This dissertation explores the concept of archival study and suggests custody should be redefined to make access, not physical control, the central responsibility of custodianship. It uses the historical case study of the United States Virgin Islands to demonstrate how essential access is to historical records for countries, communities, and groups in the construction of collective memory. Bastian stresses that access values must be considered in discussions on custody and in applications of custodial paradigms on electronic records’ infrastructures. With the territory under Danish control before the 1900s, most of the records had been transferred to Denmark, and under American control, the rest of the records were removed to the United States. The inaccessibility of the records for the Virgin Islanders thus hindered their ability to remember. Bastian’s research methods include interviews with Virgin Islanders, a citation analysis of the inclusion of historical records in dissertations on the territory, and an analysis of local newspapers on the island. 


Bastian, J. A. (2002). Taking Custody, Giving Access: A Postcustodial Role for a New Century. Archivaria, 53, 76-93. Retrieved from

This article discusses the topics of custody, access, and memory in the context of the United States Virgin Islands (previously the Danish West Indies under Denmark) and its multi-generational records, which have switched ownership and custody over time. This case shows the importance of records for the local Virgin Islander community who created them, and that they are needed for the community to understand their past and to construct collective memory. It reviews the history of custody and custodial development in the twentieth century, and it contrasts custody and post-custodialism as interpreted in England, Australia, Canada, and the United States. Considerations of control and the responsibility of access for the community lie with the custodian. Bastian emphasizes that making a reliable and comprehensive collective memory and history is strongly dependent on access to historical records.


Boadle, D. (2004). Reinventing the Archive in a Virtual Environment: Australians and the Non-Custodial Management of Electronic Records. Australian Academic & Research Libraries, 35(3), 242–252. DOI:

This article considers the debate between a ‘distributed’ or ‘post-custodial’ approach versus traditional custodial management from archivists and records managers in Australia. 


Butler, M., & Bliss, D. A. (2018). Digital Resources: The Hijuelas Collection. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History. DOI:

This piece details the Libros de Hijuelas de Ocampo post-custodial digitization project, which was launched by LLILAS Benson in Michoacán, Mexico in 2016, in collaboration with the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (CIESAS), the Archivo General e Histórico del Poder Ejecutivo de Michoacán (AGHPEM), and the British Library's Endangered Archives Programme (EAP). The article provides information about the content of the Libros de Hijuelas collection, as well as the rationale behind the digitization workflow designed for the project.


Caswell, M. (2014). Toward a survivor-centered approach to records documenting human rights abuse: lessons from community archives. Archival Science, 14(3-4), 307–322. DOI:

Caswell offers a theoretical framework respecting the survivors’ needs and control over the management of records containing human rights abuse. It is centered on five principles - participation, shared stewardship, multiplicity, archival activism, and reflexivity. 


Caswell, M., Zavala, J., Migoni, A., Geraci, N., & Cifor, M. (2017). “A process where we’re all at the table”: community archives challenging dominant modes of archival practice. Retrieved from

This article explores how community archives, particularly 12 cases in Southern California, have come to challenge traditional archival, institutional, and custodial practices and develop diverging practices at their own sites to create and maintain their community archives. 


Cook, T. (1994). Electronic records, paper minds: the revolution in information management and archives in the post-custodial and post-modernist era. Archives and Manuscripts, 22(2), 300–328. Retrieved from

Cook reflects upon the impact of post-custodialism and post-modernism on both the archival profession and the general population who engage with recorded information in some way. Although being custodial is inherent in being an archivist, Cook argues that can no longer be the case for electronic records and a more paperless future. Archivists need to reconceive their custodial practices in order to accommodate what records are in store for the future. 


Flinn, A. (2007). Community Histories, Community Archives: Some Opportunities and Challenges. Journal of the Society of Archivists, 28(2), 151–176. DOI:

This article explores the development, the rise and the variety of community archives at present, as well as the challenge they pose to larger national heritage institutions who are addressing gaps and lack of representation of communities in their collections. A solution Flinn proposes is to review fundamental archival practices and allow for more flexibility and partnership between different archives by implementing a post custodial model that would connect more archives to more communities and increase their representation at multiple sites. 


Guberek, T., Muralles, V., & Alpert-Abrams, H. (2019). ‘Irreversible’: The Role of Digitization to Repurpose State Records of Repression. International Journal of Transitional Justice, 13(1), 50–70. DOI:

This article discusses the digitization of police records at the Historical Archive of the National Police of Guatemala and its benefits for the archivist-activist staff for the sake of preservation, accessibility, and evidence. It has demanded significant human effort and a supportive network of Guatemalan and international partners for its implementation and potential usage in helping human rights victims. The digitization approach used in this case is a fairly straightforward means in the midst of external obstacles to advance an advocacy agenda and strengthen solidarity across borders. 


Guo, W., Fang, Y., Pan, W., & Li, D. (2016). Archives as a trusted third party in maintaining and preserving digital records in the cloud environment. Records Management Journal, 26(2), 170–184. DOI:

This case study discusses the intervention of a public archive, the Tianjin Municipal Archive, into a private company’s digital records for safeguarding measures to ensure trustworthiness and the preservation of their records. Its findings demonstrate the significant role of the archive as a trusted third party and a watchdog for reliability and authenticity of digital records in the cloud. 


Ham, F.  (1981). Archival Strategies for the Post-Custodial Era. The American Archivist, 44(3), 207-216. DOI:

Ham proposes a new period of archival history called the post-custodial era. Technology is transforming archival practice by adding opportunities to enhance and access records, while also posing new problems in big data and acquisition. The new information revolution creates an abundance of information, but it also creates a dangerous environment for preservation and protection of privacy. Ham questions the effectiveness of the industry’s response to this revolution. To tap into the potential of current technology for records and the expansion of archival programs to deal with the problems caused by technology on records, Ham puts forth the following five guidelines: 1) develop sound acquisition programs, 2) use the benefits of modern technology for access purposes, 3) deal with the impact of technology and build programs around it for preservation and use, 4) resolve the conflict between freedom of information and the right to privacy, and 5) use limited resources effectively. Inter-institutional cooperation, new outreach efforts, and planning for the profession via research and development are strategies to navigate this new era. However, to accomplish such an agenda and execute such strategies, Ham stresses that our behavior and the institution’s behavior must change and that we must make the right choices as we change.


Heath, F., Kelleher, C., Sangwand, T.-K., & Wood, K. (2010). Confronting challenges of documentation in the digital world: the Human Rights Documentation Initiative at the University of Texas. Transforming Research Libraries for the Global Knowledge Society, 165–178. DOI: 10.1016/b978-1-84334-594-7.50012-0

This article uses the Human Rights Documentation Initiative (HRDI) at the University of Texas Libraries as a model for research libraries on how they can remain relevant in the digital world, enrich human knowledge further, and commit to social justice. It reviews the mission, the scope, the process of building partners, and some partners of the HRDI. It explores the topics of access, privacy, internet archiving, and collaboration.  


Henry, L. (1998). Schellenberg in Cyberspace. The American Archivist, 61(2), 309–327. DOI:

The emergence and proliferation of electronic records have posed new challenges for archivists and have pushed archivists to rethink archival practice and theory. Henry investigates the new ideas addressing these challenges and discusses the debate between supporters of a more traditional archiving versus those wishing to create a new paradigm for electronic records. For background, the ideas and foresights of Theodore R. Schellenberg are referenced, particularly those dealing with voluminous records and appraisal based on evidential and informational value. For the new paradigm, Henry tracks archivists’ efforts from scholarship, working groups, and conferences as electronic records gained more ground. A new definition of the record to accommodate electronic records and appraisal based on function are both mentioned. Other concepts noted include the records continuum, post-custodialism, and a new role and definition of the “archivist”. Henry explores towards the end of the article how the new paradigm and post-custodialism are detached from traditional archival writings and are more reliant on experience and the contemporary technological literature, whereas Schellenberg had addressed a wider scope of industry knowledge and practice. Henry insists archivists of the new paradigm need to draw upon the lessons learned in the industry with other record types and also consider, not negate, traditional practice as they develop a new approach to electronic records. This gesture respects established archival principles, supports their archival network, and gives them insight into previous historical archival shifts about what worked and didn’t with other types of records. 


Jorente, M. (2011). Archives information publishing new design in post-custodial regime: The National Archives Experience Digital Vaults. Information Services & Use, 31(3-4), 147–155. Retrieved from

The National Archives Experience Digital Vaults is the subject of this article. Its purpose is viewed as twofold - it is a digital publishing web environment and a cultural heritage site. The documents are set up in a dynamic structure with controlled interaction programmed via indexing and linking by software. This new model reinforces a post-custodial push to embrace and innovate in digital environments, unattached to the physical repository and original materials but still forging new informational connections to cultural heritage materials. It also encourages collaboration and sharing of knowledge amid a broader audience of users. 


Kelleher, C., Sangwand, T., Wood, K., & Kamuronsi, Y. (2010). The Human Rights Documentation Initiative at the University of Texas Libraries. New Review of Information Networking, 15(2), 94–109. DOI:

This article details the establishment and first years of work at the University of Texas Libraries’ Human Rights Documentation Initiative, which encompasses a number of post-custodial digitization and web archives projects. Large institutions like the University of Texas Libraries are well equipped to contribute to the long-term protection and preservation of vital but vulnerable human rights records held by community and non-governmental organizations. The article outlines the ethical and practical considerations that informed the first several Human Rights Documentation Initiative projects.


Kelleher, C. (2017). Archives Without Archives: (Re)Locating and (Re)Defining the Archive Through Post-Custodial Praxis. Journal of Critical Library and Information Studies, 1(2). DOI:

Kelleher discusses the transformative impact of the post-custodial paradigm on archives and uses a case study of the University of Texas Libraries’ Human Rights Documentation Initiative. Kelleher positions this paradigm as inhabiting a third space between an institutional repository and records creation site, and it operates in both but is not fully attached or dependent on them. It can democratize archives’ power dynamics by repositioning power to other sites beyond the institution.


Marín, Mariana, María Merced Rodríguez Pérez, and María Teresa Petlacalco Moreno. “El Fondo Real de Cholula: digitalización y conservación del patrimonio histórico.” Conservación y Restauración. No. 18, 2019.

This article by the Fondo Real de Cholula digitization team describes the contents of the collection, as well as the digitization process.


O’Shea, G., & Roberts, D.. (1996). Living in a digital world: recognising the electronic and post-custodial realities. Archives and Manuscripts, 24(2), 286–311. Retrieved from

The authors begin with the transition from the material to the digital world and its impact on recordkeeping. They note issues to be resolved during this transition largely deal with technological change (such as interoperability, software dependency, and management) and the notion of authenticity as evidence. They offer post-custodialism as a natural approach for the progression of electronic records archiving, and the new, third phase of the “succession”, with non-custodial the first phase and custodial the second. The article reviews Australia’s continuum management and the preceding approach to post-custodial, the custodial approach. Lastly, it gives examples of post-custodialism in practice from the U.S.A., Canada, and Australia.


Sangwand, T-K. (2018). Preservation is Political: Enacting Contributive Justice and Decolonizing Transnational Archival Collaborations. KULA: Knowledge Creation, Dissemination, and Preservation Studies 2(1), 10. DOI:

Sangwand extends the post-custodial archival theory and practice onto a new framework centered on the concept of contributive justice. The author aims to decolonize traditional archival practices when partnering with transnational entities. Sangwand acts on Michelle Caswell’s call to dismantle white supremacy within U.S. archives and advocates for archivists to use their agency and their critical and ethical awareness to transform the archive for the historical record. Transnational post-custodial collaborations referenced include the Human Rights Documentation Initiative with Rwanda and Central America at the University of Texas at Austin, and the International Digital Ephemera Project with Cuba at the University of California, Los Angeles. 


Sangwand, T-K. & Norsworthy, K. (2013). From Custody to Collaboration: The Post-custodial Archival Model at the University of Texas Libraries. Retrieved from

This article discusses the University of Texas Libraries’ efforts to collect, preserve, and grant access to human rights documentation via the post-custodial archive model. It explains the development, history, and impact of the program on the partner organizations, the scholarly community, and the university itself. It provides detail on the intended audience and the principal players, and lists links to press coverage about the program. A section on the nominator’s statement elaborates on some of the projects and the advantages of using the post-custodial archival approach. Additionally, a section on publications and resources allows readers to further investigate the theories, projects, and partners tied to UTL’s practice.


Tough, A. (2004). The post-custodial/pro-custodial argument from a records management perspective. Journal of the Society of Archivists, 25(1), 19–26. DOI:

This article centers on the post-custodial versus traditional custodial debate for records management in the British Isles. It goes into some detail over situations in which one may be more preferable than the other based on such considerations as the kinds of the records, centralized versus decentralized recordkeeping procedures, and financial concerns. 




Cunningham, A. (2010). Chapter 9, The postcustodial archive. The Future of Archives and Recordkeeping, 177–194. London: Facet. 

This chapter supplies an explanation and short history of the post-custodial archive. It explores such topics as the notion of “archive as place”, the ideas of David Bearman, the custodial debate in Australia, the records continuum approach, and how the post-custodial approach applies to archives at present. 


Millar, L. (2017). Chapter 3, Archival history and theory. Archives : principles and practices / Laura A. Millar. (Second edition.). London: Facet. Retrieved from

This chapter discusses the trends in archival history with such topics as archives for owners or for the people, archivists as custodians and recordkeepers, and archiving in a postmodernist society. It introduces such archival theories as original order and provenance, and poses ideas or instances which challenge or are problematic with those established archival theories. Post-custodialism is mentioned and is related to the records continuum concept. 




Thomas, S. (2006, June 16). paradigm | Workbook on Digital Private Papers | Collection development | Post-custodial approach. Retrieved from