Presentation Title

Archives Large and Small: Institutional Archives, Community Archives, and the Archival Gap

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Abstract

My capstone project looks at the professional relationships between institutional archives and community archives and explores how greater cooperation between the two could help fill the archival gap. For the purposes of this project, institutional archives are defined as repositories that operate within the traditional archival framework and are attached to larger organizations such as government archives, university archives, and historical societies. Community archives are defined as repositories that are not connected to larger institutions and that are created and run by a specific community to document and preserve their own history, usually communities that are under represented in the existing archival framework.

Archivists have long accepted that they cannot collect and preserve everything worthy of our attention. The “archival gap” refers to those documents that fall through the cracks of archival collections. One solution to this problem was the creation and implementation of collecting policies, which outline what records a particular archive will keep. Through the use of collecting policies, institutional archives have begun working together to fill the gaps in their collections. Archives no longer feel the same pressures to collect “everything” and can instead focus on their own area of expertise, while referring donors and researchers who fall outside those boundaries to other repositories. My project explores the level to which this same consideration has been extended to community archives and how doing so may improve our success at filling the gap.

Start Date

6-5-2017 10:15 AM

End Date

6-5-2017 10:30 AM

Location

Miller Hall

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May 6th, 10:15 AM May 6th, 10:30 AM

Archives Large and Small: Institutional Archives, Community Archives, and the Archival Gap

Miller Hall

My capstone project looks at the professional relationships between institutional archives and community archives and explores how greater cooperation between the two could help fill the archival gap. For the purposes of this project, institutional archives are defined as repositories that operate within the traditional archival framework and are attached to larger organizations such as government archives, university archives, and historical societies. Community archives are defined as repositories that are not connected to larger institutions and that are created and run by a specific community to document and preserve their own history, usually communities that are under represented in the existing archival framework.

Archivists have long accepted that they cannot collect and preserve everything worthy of our attention. The “archival gap” refers to those documents that fall through the cracks of archival collections. One solution to this problem was the creation and implementation of collecting policies, which outline what records a particular archive will keep. Through the use of collecting policies, institutional archives have begun working together to fill the gaps in their collections. Archives no longer feel the same pressures to collect “everything” and can instead focus on their own area of expertise, while referring donors and researchers who fall outside those boundaries to other repositories. My project explores the level to which this same consideration has been extended to community archives and how doing so may improve our success at filling the gap.