About Archives*Open

05 November 2008

Archives*Open is a blog about archives, access, community, and the Web. It's about giving access to the masses!

Okay, now that the formal blurb is out of the way, let's get down to business.

This blog aims to report on the ways archivists and other professionals in the archival field are using technology, specifically Web 2.0 and other emerging technologies, to give the community (archival users of all levels) improved access to archival collections.

In chronicling these efforts, and in focusing on Web 2.0 (or Archives 2.0, if you like), I want to reveal another side of archives that is evolving: community outreach, specifically, community outreach in a Web 2.0 world.

I also want to inspire archives professionals and institutions to re-examine their collections and envision new and unique ways to share with the community the many stories hidden in their respositories.

About Me

I find it difficult to write about oneself. I wear many hats. I am an archivist, having worked in archives for a number of years. But I have interests in other areas as well; for example, I am interested in the web and digital access, and I like writing and blogging.

I know. I wear many hats.

But in a strange twist, these different hats have all become very valuable to me while working in archives, kind of like those Swiss Army knives with every thing except a spoon and fork (although, I hear, there are some one out there). The various skills have served their purpose in a changing archives environment, particularly concerning technology.

Throughout my years in the archives profession, I have focused and worked on making archival materials, resources and services more accessible to the public using the Web and other tools and technologies.

I love history and the many stories that have shaped history (I have a BA in History, so that probably explains why); I also love technology and the amazing communication tool that it has become. Merging these separate realms is exciting, and seeing how technology can provide a better view of the past makes it even more so.

Demystify the Archives

In short, the purpose of this blog is to highlight the ways archivists and other professionals in the field are giving access to archival material and, as a result, demystifying the archives using the tools, technologies, ethics and values of Web 2.0.

Besides social technology, Web 2.0 encourages communication, conversation, community-building, collaboration, co-creation and participation. What if Archives 2.0 adopted these values?

In our connected world, where our potential audience is mostly online Googling the Web or reading blogs or investing time in highly interactive communities such as Twitter, FriendFeed, and Facebook, the adoption of Archives 2.0 sounds like a very wise idea.

By giving 'access to the masses,' the archives will take a positive step in the digital world toward demystify the role of archives, archivists, and archival materials in society.

I believe once one demystifies something, others can more fully understand, appreciate and grow to support its inherent value.

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