Anne J. Gilliland

Center for Information as Evidence (CIE)


The Center serves as an interdisciplinary forum addressing the ways in which information objects and systems are created, used, and preserved as legal, administrative, scientific, social, cultural and historical
evidence. It is committed to incorporating perspectives from ethnic communities from around the world in order to sustain the diversity within indigenous cultural heritages and broaden methods of information analysis and conservation. The primary goals of the Center for Information as Evidence are:


  • To create a discourse around notions of information as evidence that articulate and expand upon this as an area of study;
  • To promote interdisciplinary approaches to the study of information as evidence by facilitating collaborations that bridge theory and practice, and cross the academy, government, industry, and community;
  • To monitor relevant local and global issues relating to recordkeeping, accountability and rights; and
  • To sponsor relevant outreach and dissemination activities and research forums.


CIE accomplishes these goals through investigations of three interrelated components: Accountability, Advocacy (both as evidence-related processes), and Artifacts (as evidence-bearing products). Axiomatic concepts that cut across these themes include legitimacy, power, authority, authenticity, literacy, classification, preservation, and sociopolitical context.

Current research


Records and ICT at the Boundaries of the State: Refugee Needs, Rights and Uses(with James Lowry, Liverpool University Centre for Archival Studies)


This project first aims to identify and make visible the many ways in which official records (including bio-records), bureaucratic practices and other more "irregular" forms and uses of records play crucial roles in the lives of displaced people as they travel across state boundaries, interact with governments and aid agencies in camps, asylum hearings, immigration vetting, claims for social services and so forth, and eventually resettle into new countries and interface with their bureaucratic systems or return/are returned to their places of origin.  Secondly, it seeks to identify and understand from the perspectives of refugees, governments and aid agencies, the roles and implications of ICTs such as cloud services, social media and cellphones for the creation, movement, preservation and accessing of records. With this knowledge in hand, it then aims to identify ways in which professionals and agencies involved in archives and record-keeping in affected countries might contribute and collaborate through digital systems design to identifying and locating, protecting, validating, securing and certifying such records; and also to identify potential policy recommendations supporting specific refugee rights in records.


Agency and Affect of Recordkeeping in Individual and Community Lives in the Aftermath of the Yugoslav Wars


This research has several aims: to acknowledge and identify structural and emotional confrontations and violence perpetrated and perpetuated by recordkeeping; to elucidate the different official, bureaucratic and personal realities that are in play; to identify and understand the dimensions of “workarounds” that are being or might be used when records are difficult to obtain, missing, destroyed, or were simply never created; and ultimately to promote recovery through the provision of services, systems and education in support of immediate and evolving personal and community needs for records. Using ethnographic methods it probes personal, professional and literary attitudes towards, and experiences with recordkeeping. It applies the insights thus gained to enhance how recordkeeping systems, processes, metadata, interfaces and end user services might better protect individuals who continue to be vulnerable because of how records or metadata have been created, kept, destroyed, manipulated or shared; to facilitate how individuals locally and in diaspora need to locate and use [particular] records in support of their daily lives and well-being; to help individuals to identify other sources of evidence and build cases when records have been destroyed or damaged, or are not trustworthy; and to acknowledge and mitigate damaging affective aspects of records and recordkeeping.


The Archival Education and Research Initiative (AERI)


The Archival Education and Research Initiative (AERI) is a collaborative global effort among academic institutions to support the growth of a new generation of academics in archival and recordkeeping education and research who are versed in contemporary issues and knowledgeable of the work being conducted by colleagues. The initiative seeks to promote state-of-the-art in scholarship in Archival Studies, broadly conceived, as well as to encourage curricular and pedagogical innovation in archival education locally and worldwide. AERI is engaged in a number research and infrastructure building initiatives as well as annual week-long summer Archival Education and Research Institutes (AERIs) that are hosted by partner institutions. These working Institutes are designed to strengthen education and research and support academic cohort-building and mentoring. The Institutes are open to all academic faculty and doctoral students working in Archival Studies as well as to others engaged in archival education and scholarship, both nationally and internationally. We provide scholarship support to certain categories of attendees, particularly students and junior academics, to the extent that funds are available. A second component of this effort is the encouragement of a larger and more diverse cohort of doctoral students in Archival Studies through The Emerging Archival Scholars Program (2011- ). 

The Building the Future of Archival Education and Research Initiative was funded between 2007-2015 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) – Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program. The Emerging Archival Scholars Program has been funded through another IMLS grant from 2016-2019.


Prior Research


Affect and the Archive: Archives and Their Affects(with Marika Cifor, UCLA)

Responding to the affective turn in scholarship and calls for archives to engage more directly with affective aspects such as intimacy, sexuality, love, trauma, hope, fear and activism, Gilliland and Cifor organized a symposium on Affect and the Archive at UCLA in November 2014. The symposium had three main objectives:


  • to expose a range of conceptualizations, spaces and approaches relevant to this topic, for example, those relating to gender and sexuality or to conflict and other forms of violence, or in healthcare, the arts and humanities;
  • to generate dialogue between disciplinary and the professional archival and curatorial fields relating to affect and the archive/archives; and
  • to identify potential contributions that might be made by archival studies to the field of affect studies.The symposium explored scholarly and professional understandings of and encounters with affect in the archive as well as in broader record- and memory-keeping contexts.


It brought together leading scholars not only in archival studies, but also in cultural studies, gender studies, literature and anthropology. Symposium speakers reported on innovative research happening at the intersections of affect and the archive and especially on those relating to human rights, migration and diaspora, sexuality, labor, bodies and embodiment and visual art. Building upon the momentum generated by that symposium and the enthusiastic critical reception of the work it profiled, in  Gilliland and Cifor guest edited a special issue of Archival Science (2016). The authors included in the special issue each examine a different dimension of the relations between affect and the archive and archives and their affects, ranging from the affective impact of records on genocide survivors to children removed from their families into state care to the formation of communities and identities around records to the role of archives in societal reckonings with injustice and oppression.  

Building the Future of Archival Education and Research, Phase I and II, 2008-2015 (PI and Director, U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services).

Strategies for Archiving the Endangered Publications of French India (1800-1923), 2009-2012 (PI, British Library Endangered Archives Program)

Pluralizing the Archival Paradigm: A Needs Assessment for Archival Education in Pacific Rim Communities, 2005-2007 (PI, University of California Pacific Rim Research Program).

Developing KEK (Japan) Digital Archives and Oral Histories in High Energy Physics, 2005-2006 (co-PI, U.S. National Science Foundation).

Create Once Use Many Times – Optimising the Use of Descriptive Metadata in eGovernment and eBusiness Processes in Complex Intranet and Internet Environments (“The Clever Recordkeeping Metadata Project”), 2003-2005 (Partner Investigator, Australian Research Council).

International project on Permanent Authentic Records in Electronic Systems (InterPARES) I and II, 1999-2006 (PI and co-PI, US-InterPARES, National Historical Publications and Records Commission, U.S. National Science Foundation; Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and European Union and Asian funding).