Like other forms of human knowledge, scientific knowledge is produced in particular times, places, and cultures, by a single individual or by a group of individuals. Within particular areas of investigation, people produce this knowledge by using, developing, and extending practices that are based on the loosely defined concept known as the scientific method.
The precise way in which the scientific method is implemented varies among disciplines and researchers, but has been university transformed by the development and application of information technologies. In this talk, a practicing archivist will describe how the University of Illinois archives is using anthropological concepts, archival practices, and digital technologies to preserve print and electronic records documenting the scientific process. The talk will describe the methods the University of Illinois is using to document the life and work of Carl Woese (1928-2012), a revolutionary microbiologist. The talk will conclude with a discussion of the challenges and opportunities that digital technologies pose in preserving a record of the scientific process.
Christopher J. Prom is Associate Director, University Archives, and Professor of Library Administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he is responsible for managing digital projects, supervising archival processing, and overseeing records scheduling. His research interests address the ways in which archival users seek information relevant to their needs and how they use electronic tools. Chris was the recipient of a 2003–04 National Historic Publications and Records Commission fellowship and a 1997–98 Fulbright fellow.He holds a PhD in History from the University of Illinois, where he wrote a dissertation regarding mutual aid societies in late-Victorian Britain, and he also studied at the University of York (United Kingdom). He is also Publications Editor for the Society of American Archives.