So here’s the way we do things in the archive world: You have your boxes of papers, all messy and disorganised. Then you try and impose some order on them, trying to make sense of how the records were originally created and maintained. After a well-earned tea break (of course, a safe distance away from the original, unique documents!), you start to organise them into neat and pretty categories and form a lovely tidy hierarchy, which supposedly reflects the structure and organisation of the creating body. Or that’s the theory anyway …

Alice White who has recently completed PhD research using the archive writes.

As the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations’ (TIHR) archives are being catalogued, ready to be opened up to new audiences, I have been thinking a lot about access to knowledge generally, and to knowledge about the TIHR’s history specifically …