The digital archive is often described in opposition to its physical counterpart. Media theorist Wolfgang Ernst has coined the term “dynarchive” to describe the former, a phrase that neatly contrasts digital archival remixability with the statis of the physical archive and its hierarchical fond structure. The article both uses and questions this characterization by examining the archive’s physical and digital document practices in three areas: (1) Hierarchical collection description versus individual document description; (2) Original order versus relevance-based results; and (3) Archival selection practices and the illusion of completeness. Archival structure and description have been central to the authority and evidentiary value of archival documents. Yet both the market logics of the internet and criticism from historically oppressed groups have challenged these connections. Using the dynarchive as a conceptual frame, this article examines archival digitization's potential for decolonization of the archive via its fragmentation into a non-hierarchical web of interrelated documents.

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